I arrived at The Oriental Residence in Bangkok tired and hungry, off a delayed flight from monsoon-drenched Koh Samui. Landing in the busy capital after being in tropical island mode was nothing short of a jolt to the system. However – and this is the sign of a top-class hotel – all memories of my long journey were obliterated from mind after about three milliseconds of setting foot inside the lobby. The light, the warmth, the chandeliers, it was all like coming home… Or at least, in my imagination, that’s exactly what coming home looks like.
Perhaps it’s because The Oriental’s rooms are more like small apartments, with little kitchens and dining areas. Or perhaps it’s because the property also has privately owned condominiums on its uppermost floors. Whatever it is, it has more of a home than hotel feel to it – something I wasn’t really expecting, but which I really appreciated. Once I checked in and was shown to my room, I was pretty much left to my own devices. The staff were there if I needed them, but it didn’t feel like anyone was watching over me or breathing down my neck. I could swan in and out at my leisure, and I loved it.
My room was on the 12th floor, at the back of the property, overlooking a beautiful park next to the Dutch embassy. After I simultaneously bathed and devoured the four colourful macaroons that had been placed on my table, I popped the kettle on. Yes, there was a kettle. You cannot imagine my delight at this fact. Being able to make a cup of tea on demand after travelling for four months and eating out the whole time was pure joy. Downstairs was a brasserie called Café Claire, serving both Thai and Western food, and an afternoon tea with French pastries and TWG tea from Singapore. On the 4th floor was a gym and outdoor pool, with cabanas and seriously comfy loungers.
Now, I’m not that familiar with this particular part of town, especially at night. And the hotel’s location did, at 9pm, feel a little bit like no man’s land. It wasn’t until the next day that I realised I was within striking distance of bustling Ploenchit Road, Sukhumvit and Soi Ruamrudee, Central Embassy (which has one of the best cinemas in the world) and All Season’s Place – all full of great places to drink and dine. But that night, I knew none of this. No bad thing, because it gave me a chance retreat back to the hotel to test drive room service. No sooner had I ordered my salad Niçoise, which came highly recommended, than a knock at my door heralded a plate of perfectly seared tuna and salad. To call the service prompt would be an understatement.
Fed and watered, it wasn’t long before I slid into bed. And what a bed it was. Fellow bed geeks will appreciate that it had a duck-down-and-feather bedding combo and super-soft topper. The whole thing absorbed my weary body like a feathery magnet, and in one fell swoop, I was enveloped into a deep slumber, only to awake eight hours later to the sound of birdsong and the familiar call of the Asian Koel from the park outside.
A refreshing dip in the pool preceded a leisurely breakfast at Café Claire, which had both buffet and à la carte options. Jaunty Parisian music accompanied my foray into perfectly fresh slices of tropical fruit, swirls of smoked wild salmon and a melt-in-the-mouth Gruyere omelette with seared asparagus. An Illy coffee was the icing on the cake.
Cue second-day exploration of nearby area, including life-changing massage on a side street somewhere. Lunch was back at the hotel, at the newly opened Savelberg Thailand, where I cruised through Dutch chef Henk Savelberg’s gourmet French creations, starting, naturally, with a glass of champagne. Langoustines in parmesan foam, grilled North sea sole, scallops and fried lobster with beetroot chips, and a plate of delicate citrus mousses had my mouth doing cartwheels after months of spicy curries. Everything was picture perfect and tasted sublime.
Then all too soon it was time to bid goodbye to my Bangkok bolthole. I sincerely hope I’ll be back – if not to move into my penthouse luxury condo, then at the very least to stop by for a cup of tea and a macaroon.
The Savelberg Experience is a two-night stay and dinner package that costs from 21,402 THB (approximately £434). Price is based on two people sharing, and is valid from now until 31 December 2015. It includes two nights’ accommodation in a Grand Deluxe suite on a bed and breakfast basis (breakfast served at Café Claire), a seven-course fine dining experience at Savelberg Thailand (taken on the first or second night), complimentary welcome champagne aperitif, complimentary petit fours, and late check-out from 4pm.
For further information, visit www.oriental-residence.com