5 Bangkok Design-Driven Hotels
New design-driven hotels offer style without premium prices in the Thai capital. T+L picks five striking debuts. By LIANG XINYI
Housed in a stately cupola-topped building, the five-month-old Hotel Muse has quickly become one of the city’s luxe-boutique retreats. Thai firm PIA references a winning blend of fin de siècle France and Thailand’s Rama V era in the design theme, styling the darkened lobby with wrought-iron lattice walls and arching ceilings. The 174 rooms and suites—named after the Buddhist cosmic levels of Jatu, Dowadueng, Yama, Dusid, Nimman and Paranim—have stuccoed ceilings and faux vintage suitcase drawers. Basement-level eatery Medici features solid Italian fare in a space that feels like a renovated wine cellar. T+L Tip The Jatu Deluxe and Dowadeung Corner Deluxe rooms have our favorite bathroom designs: claw-foot baths, hand-painted basins and mirrors etched with scenes from an old-time Siam. 55/555 Langsuan Rd.; +66 2 630 4000; hotelmusebangkok.com.
Just 300 meters away from the discount shopper-thronged MBK, the aluminum-wrapped façadeof Lit Hotel was the brainchild of Bangkok-based VaSLab, which has filled the L-shaped seven-story edifice with fluid composition throughout: grass-clad concrete steps lead up to the al fresco tapas bar; a spiral stairwell connects the amber-swathed Kiriya Spa to the sleek lounge pool and bistro. The Different Degree rooms feature elongated bathrooms running parallel to the bedrooms, and in the Extra Radiance rooms the oblong soaking tub is the pièce de résistance, with soft indigo and red rays beaming down from the rain shower. T+L Tip Traveling as a trio? Opt for the Triple Luxe suite, which, in addition to its generous 52 square meters, has amenities (wash basins, wardrobes and work desks) kitted out for threes. 36/1 Soi Kasemsan 1, Rama 1 Rd.; +66 2 2612 3456; litbangkok.com.
In the frenetic financial district, Sofitel So is for artsy types as much as business travelers with check-ins via iPads and in-room tech amenities powered by Apple Mac Mini. The 30-story, curvy exterior was designed by Smith Obayawat, and the country’s top design brains were hired to do the interiors based on the five elements. Among the 238 guest rooms, the Metal rooms stand out with minimalist, stark white interiors, while the Earth rooms juxtapose Thai primeval murals and cobalt blue tomes which black-and-white tiled bathroos. Plus fashion maverick Christian Lacroix put his flamboyant touches on the Tree of Life hotel emblem. T+L Tip Partially cantilevered on the 29th floor, Park Society & Hi-So is the perfect rooftop roost to take in 360-degree views of the adjacent Lumpini Park and Chao Phraya River in the distance. 2 N. Sathorn Rd.; +66 2 624 0000; sofitel.com.
A glass-and-concrete outpost on busy Rama IV Road, the 27-story Aetas Lumpini has an earnest, understated charm. In its 203 guest rooms and suites, neutral earth tones are offset by Mondrian-inspired paintings and sketches of Bangkok’s historic landmarks. Common areas play up the quirky-chic appeal—teal-green sofas accent brown corduroy seats in the lobby and an all-white ceramic chandelier hangs near the entryway. launched last month, the One-80 Wine Bar on the 27th floor has great views. T+L Tip If you’re looking for romance, opt for 70-square-meter Premier suite—the bathroom door slides open to a sunken bathtub enclosed by Bangkok vistas. 1030/4 Rama IV Rd.; +66 2 618 9555; aetashotels.com.
Aloft Bangkok - Sukhumvit 11
The younger—but equally style-conscious—sister of the celebrated W brand, Aloft Bangkok - Sukhumvit 11 has an energetic vibe, as befits its location in the buzzing Nana precinct. Aloft’s penchant for linear prints and bright accents are found throughout the property,with whimsical accents dreamed up by leading design from Hassell. The 296-room hotel features only two room types—Chic and Urban—but both have high-ceilinged interiors with enormous windows and cushions in eye-popping colors, alongside modern trappings such as free Wi-Fi, an iPod dock and a 42-inch TV. T+L Tip Don’t miss a visit to the neighboring Bed Supperclub, one of the city’s hippest hangouts, as access is free for Aloft guests. 35 Sukhumvit Soi 11; +66 2 207 7000; alofthotels.com/bangkoksukhumvit11.