Before anyone lambasts me for being critical, I’m not attempting to discount my determined positive impression of Hilton’s latest flagship brand in finding a home at Bangkok’s accessible downtown Ratchaprasong intersection (a stone’s throw away from Siam Paragon). Neither am I nitpicking about its serene interior designed by architect of the moment, André Fu, and his talented Hong Kong-based design studio AFSO. So what am I indicating? Cutting corners, but not in a negative implication.
Waldorf Astoria occupies levels six to 16 and 55 to 57 of the 60-storey Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard, which is owned by Magnolia Quality Development Corporation and has been designed to look like it’s springing from the ground like the flower. There is hardly a sharp corner in sight.
Fu and his team have successfully imbued Waldorf Astoria’s legendary heritage inspired by the head architect’s memories of the art deco motifs in the original New York property. Relaxed contemporary comes to mind as Fu challenged himself with a goal to juxtapose the western influence with Thai elements. Need an example? The bronze feature screen panels that appear throughout the property see the marriage of art deco with delicate twists of the magnolia flower.
AFSO’s clever application of lighting temperature allows guests to bask in a calm refuge akin to a residential feel even before entering one of the 171 guestrooms. Inside, the floor-to-ceiling windows let natural sunlight pass through without obstruction. Well-rounded is definitely an apt description for the guestrooms as there are no threatening sharp edges in sight. Instead, the deliberate use of curved hardwood flooring and large-grained wood furniture promotes tactile highlights that wrap guests further in comfort.
If you’re able to peel yourself away from the luxury of your temporary haven to search for tummy fillers, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok offers a discerning selection of satisfying nourishment at any time of the day. Breakfast and brunch zealots will have a challenging time deciding which food combination to have from The Brasserie’s extensive menu ranging from classic Thai favourites to intercontinental mainstays.
Cocktail connoisseurs and evening epicureans will have a splendid night at the art deco-laden Bull & Bear, The Loft and The Champagne Bar. These three unique establishments were conceptualised by the Bangkok studio of New York-headquartered design and concept firm, AvroKO. Located on the top three stories of Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, be prepared to be awed by the best views of the city with night lights that sparkle like diamonds. Bull & Bear serves a mean cut of steak and a peppery jalapeño corn soup (a must-try), while The Loft and The Champagne Bar see many flapper-inspired folks toasting to good times.
Those with a taste for adventure can head to the Front Room at the lower lobby for Thai-inspired Nordic cuisine. Multi-talented chef de cuisine Fae Rungthiwa Chummongkhon, who has worked at Michelin-starred establishments across Europe (including Frederikshoj in Denmark and three Michelin-starred La Belle Epoque in Germany), returns to her motherland and introduces innovative creations that celebrate fresh, locally sourced Thai ingredients prepared with Nordic cooking styles. This east-meets-west combination will definitely surprise diners with its seamless modern and traditional pairing as showcased with the 'Raised in Chiang Rai, Cooked in Bangkok' dish—tender chicken, fragrant lemongrass and black rice purée harmonise perfectly with each other.
Waldorf Astoria Bangkok can afford to take a few (sharp) points off to round up an unforgettable experience.
Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is located at 151 Ratchadamri Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan District, Bangkok 10330, Thailand. For more information, visit Waldorf Astoria Bangkok's website here.