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Recently, on the tail end of a whirlwind trip around Thailand, TPG Contributor Leigh Rowan stayed overnight at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok with his wife and toddler son. Hot on the heels of yesterday’s $600 airfare deal to Bangkok, here’s his take on the property.
After our quick tour across Thai cities and beaches, my wife and I were looking for one night of luxury in the big city of Bangkok before our long flight home the next day. We were excited to stay at this historical property, which opened in 1879 as The Oriental, and is consistently recognized as one of the best hotels in the world.
The Mandarin Oriental straddles the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, with the main building on one side and the spa and meeting center on the other. Unfortunately, this means that there’s constant noise from the river traffic, as it’s busy with boats and ferries all day. The hotel isn’t smack-dab in the city center, either; it’s a bit of a hike to the main tourist attractions, though most attractions are a quick river taxi, tuk-tuk or taxi ride away.
Fortunately, the location is gorgeous, with lush gardens and river views, making any schlepping feel more worthwhile.
There’s no way to use points at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok for truly great value. One good option is to pay with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, both of which allow you to redeem miles in order to wipe out travel expenses like hotels, flights and more. Alternately, you could redeem flexible points as cash — for example, you might use Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
We booked a Superior Room using discounted rates from my FoundersCard membership — the rack rate for the room was 15,500 THB (~$450 USD), but we we paid 11,000 THB (~$320 USD) for the night. The booking was done entirely via email, since the hotel didn’t accept online bookings at the time (happily, it does now). I used my Chase Ink Plus card to pay for the room because it offers double points on hotel purchases and waived foreign transaction fees.
The exceptional service began the moment we stepped through the door, and it was immediately clear that this is a top-notch property. The lobby is spacious and impressive, with birdcage chandeliers hanging from the high ceiling, a gorgeous orchid-filled fountain and plenty of comfortable seating. As you enter the spacious lobby from the chaotic (and hot!) outdoors, you quickly enter a world of peace, luxury and rest.
After a 30-second stop at the front desk, we were brought directly to our room to complete the check-in — after dealing with flight delays and traffic en route to the property, we appreciated the expedited service.
Stepping off the elevator, we were led to the room by our 8th-floor butler (each floor has its own, naturally!), and to our check-in agent who was handling the formalities. When booking our Superior Room, I had requested a crib for our son, and it was already there upon our arrival. We loved the personal service and attention as much as we loved the gilded Thai decor; it reflected the location and made our accommodations feel anything but impersonal.
The Superior Room had a view out over the river, but the windows were strong enough to keep out the constant noise of river traffic. The room itself was open, airy and spacious. From the bathroom, one could open a window and shutters into the bedroom area, giving the room an even more open and flowing feel. The bathroom featured a large two-person bath tub, shower stall and double sink (that was constantly adorned with orchids).
The hotel offers a whole host of amenities — from a spa that could have doubled as a garden to complimentary yoga classes to nine on-site restaurants and bars — but one that proved especially helpful to my wife and me was the babysitting service, which ran 500 THB (~$15) per hour. We used this to enjoy dinner out, and our son seemed plenty happy when we returned (he slept all night long in his oversize, ornately decorated crib).
The personal service was exceptional; as we walked through the property, the staff cheerfully greeted us by name (even though we were only there for a night). The butler on our floor even coordinated with the guard and lobby butler to help me find banana milk for my son when he was sleepless at 3am. Overall, the staff went above and beyond to make our stay great and help whenever they could.
You’ll also find plenty of beautiful public spaces at the hotel, including indoor and outdoor gardens and the airy Author’s Lounge, which was part of the original hotel (when it was known as The Oriental) and is now a popular site for weddings. The outdoor pools — which have cool, scrolling floral designs inlaid on the bottom — were packed while we were there, and had we not been on a tight timeline to sightsee in Bangkok, I would have spent hours there as well!
With a wonderful staff, delightful decor and a comfortable room, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok made for a great one-night stay in Bangkok. It’s hardly a cheap sleep, but if you’re a FoundersCard member, the discount could make this property a good option.
Headed to Bangkok? Be sure to see these hotel reviews, as well:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Credit Rating|
|N/A||16.24%-23.24% Variable||Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95||0%||Excellent Credit|