Saturday, 1 October 2011

Banyan Tree Bangkok hotel

Banyan Tree hotels are a little bit dangerous. You stay in one of these romantic hideaways, then you're hooked.
 You not only seek them out in the locales where you're traveling, you start traveling to locales just for the Banyan Trees. That's how great these Asian-themed designer sleeperies are – from the spaciousness (their resorts boast private pool villas) and the amenities (nobody else offers more luxury in the experience) to the spas (where spa masters customize treatments choosing from Javanese, Thai and Swedish therapies) and the signature Banyan Tree service (which can't be beat.)

Banyan Tree Bangkok is no exception -- well, except for a few things. The first property located in a major city – most are flung in exotic locations from Tibet to Seychelles, the Maldives to Bahrain -- it's actually right on the way to most everywhere you're going these days in Asia being as it's located in Thailand's capital, the major airport hub of Southeast Asia and beyond. And since the Banyan Tree Bangkok takes up a 61-floor skyscraper which affords fabulous view, instead of private pool villas, this hotel is all-suite – with the pool on the 21st floor next to the spa. One other noticeable difference: this hotel has so many unusual restaurants and bars – a dozen to be exact – that it's become a Bangkok legend for dining, whether at Vertigo, its open-air rooftop restaurant on the 61st floor; the hotel's Apsara dinner cruise boat that glides down the Chaophraya River nightly, nouvelle Chinese restaurant Bai Yun (voted Bangkok's best Chinese by Thailand Tatler) or Taihei the Japanese sushi bar which holds the largest selection of sake outside of Japan (not to mention a chef whose father was a sumu wrestler).

The cosmopolitan nature of this property is also evident in the services offered – from shopping escorts who can guide you through Bangkok's finest boutiques and most chic malls to the personlized business stationery available upon request. Then again, you can easily while away the hours without leaving: the top-notch spa offers day-long treatment packages, with scrubs of ginger and turmeric made to order, facials, assorted Asian treatments and the signature "rainmist" massage, where your rubdown takes place is a steamroom.

Once regarded as more of a business hotel, the recently renovated Banyan Tree Bangkok now draws mostly tourists and honeymooners, some who combine the stay in Thailand’s capital with the stunning villas of the Banyan Tree Phuket. The Bangkok property now boasts a smashing array of suites – from club suites (which include complimentary access to the club lounge for all day drinking and snacking on caviar and fine cheeses) or spa suites (for in-suite therapies) to the stunning two-story Presidential suite with spiral staircase, two living rooms, full kitchen, dining room, and a wall of windows that spills a commanding view of the city; a whole new wing of contemporary suites chicly decorated in earthtones and golds, some of them residential suites available for purchase, is opening up in 2009. And whatever sort of suite you opt for, it comes complete with the range of amenities that makes Banyan Tree special – the cotton robes and the satin robes, the fine oils and creams, the wooden hairbrushes and combs, the flowers, the aromatherapy candles, the baskets of tropical fruit, the nightly gifts and the plate of bedside sweets.

This isn't the hotel with the longest history in Bangkok (that's the Oriental) nor is it located on the riverfront (instead rising up in the ambassadors quarter near the central business district). Nevertheless, there's simply no place else that offers more luxury for the money or that treats you better. And that's why one stay is hazardous: it will turn you into a Banyan Tree addict.

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