The most elegant retreat in Bangkok is The Mandarin Oriental, not just one of the world’s most splendid hotels, but also a piece of history.
Here Evelyn Waugh sat on the terrace writing Mad Dogs and Englishmen, John Le Carre finished The Honourable Schoolboy, and Somerset Maugham recovered from raging malaria in an airy bedroom.
It has lured Royalty, Heads of State, artists, and travellers for 136 years, with its long-serving impeccable staff.
The plush River View rooms offer a sense of space and the exhilaration of being able to watch life on the busy Chao Praya, its tugs and barges laden with produce, as well as the glittering spectacle of the city’s varied buildings.
I love the super cool Bamboo Jazz bar where I saw a US Head of State; and the choice of dinner at the relaxing Riverside Terrace Restaurant; or Lord Jim’s fish buffet famous throughout Bangkok; or the exotic, Shanghai-styled black and red China House.
Then there’s the gold mosaic swimming pool, the heavenly Spa, the floor to ceiling flower displays, with string quartet playing in the opulent foyer! Need I go on.
A wonderful world of its own, The Oriental. I even had my fortune told by Bangkok’s charming DT (for believers email@example.com
I have to say she got a lot right, including my love of travel. ‘You want to walk around the world,’ she said.
Well Bangkok for starters, I grinned. If I can ever tear myself away from The Oriental.