Assimilation can be tricky, especially when it’s occurring in an environment with distinctive cultural qualities attached. But San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has successfully embraced native traits of its host cities through innovative design for its two newest properties, in Bangkok and Tokyo.
First In South-East Asia
Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok is aptly located in the creative district of Langsuan, embodying Kimpton’s design ethos. The hotel takes its name from Maa-lai, the traditional Thai floral garland symbolic of welcome, good health and respect to honour guests, families and loved ones. Its interior details expound this ancient belief and converge with a modern emphasis.
Recognised Thai interior design agency, P49 Deesign, conceived the hotel’s elaborate interior that’s true to the bustling city’s vibrant tempo. Expect handcrafted textiles and warm, organic materials from local suppliers and whimsical artwork including the Rossukon floral embroidery in the reception area, accompanied by the dramatic lobby centrepiece, a braided rope sculpture.
This support towards local artisanal tradition and intricate Thai tapestry is also represented through handcrafted reed mats and Thai hand garland. On the other hand, a play of raw concrete details and contrasting light and dark tones reflect the austere elements of Bangkok’s urban streetscape.
In 362 rooms and suites, including 131 serviced residences, guests can sample design-led luxury that’s associated with Kimpton.
After a hectic day, you’ll be glad to wind down in bespoke Harnn bath amenities and kimono robes designed by artist Christian Develter for Tube Gallery.
Nature isn’t excluded from the picture as the hotel’s rooftop garden overlooks Lumpini Park. While taking in the sights from the 40th-floor garden, mingle with locals over tipples during Kimpton’s Social Hour. The hotel also adopts an industry-leading pet-friendly attitude: all four-legged friends get their own amenities and menu.
Hungry? Satiate your appetites in four distinct and immersive dining venues: Craft for unique single-origin coffee and coffee blends, beer and cocktails; Stock.Room that accommodates seasonal pop-up kitchens serving Thai street food; Ms.Jigger for nightcaps; and the rooftop Bar.Yard offering farm-to-plate grills and DJ-spun music.
On the other hand, Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo’s dynamic and creative locale fuels its bold and playful identity that’s made richer through a collaboration with local artists and community talent.
First impression matters. And the hotel impresses with a picturesque façade produced by renowned New York design and architecture firm Rockwell Group. It features an Impressionism wall designed by celebrated Japanese artist Kusumi, before guests meet an Art Deco masterpiece inspired by Lower Manhattan’s art and fashion scene.
Its neighbour, the city’s famed Bunka Fashion College, reinforces Kimpton’s celebration of emerging talent. You’ll encounter doormen outfitted with a stylist’s wardrobe courtesy of Oka, a Bunka graduate. In addition, shoes worn by Kimpton hosts have patterns that reflect artwork from iconic Japanese artist Sheta, who is renowned for his eye-catching pop art with vibrant colour and humorous design.
Transcendent contemporary creations can also be found at the level 16 art gallery that doubles up as a wedding chapel. The resident Kimpton Curator helps energise Tokyo’s social scene with varying monthly exhibitions. Afterwards, head over to the staple Kimpton’s Social Hour and network with locals (and pets) over complimentary rare wines in the evening.
All 151 luxurious rooms and suites feature the ‘Closet Smile’, a functional pop-up where guests discover their Japanese yukata and fan designed by Hiroko Takahashi, who’s a permanent exhibitor at the V&A in London and famous for her abstract-designed kimonos.
Anticipate innovative culinary experiences that Kimptons are noted for at the property too. Each of this hotel’s dining destinations has origins steeped in New York culture. The Jones Café | Bar is a classic New York deli-style café, while District Brasserie-Bar- Lounge uses local produce and takes inspiration from New York’s subcultures with a mix of Little Italy, Mexican and Asian influences. Cocktail buffs will revel in the Outdoor Terrace, a cosmopolitan alfresco setting for drinks such as Greenwich Village.