“The fun thing about Hotel Indigo is that we don’t have any fixed meaning,” says Channida Karawan, director of marketing and communications at Wireless Road’s newest boutique. “It’s all up to you.” Such a laissez-faire stance is rather uncommon in hospitality, an industry sustained by courting and coddling.
Such a laissez-faire stance is rather uncommon in hospitality, an industry sustained by courting and coddling. Yet, while other outlets might spoon-feed codified messages, Hotel Indigo gives its guests the freedom to analyse the property’s style in their own terms.
A portico lined with metal art leads to a lobby furnished with chairs of miscellaneous shapes and sizes. Behind the check-in counter, ocean-blue LED lights race through narrow tracks in a teakwood board — new technology merged with the old, a blending of ages that’s central to the architecture. Nowhere is this more evident than the elevator. The inside is illuminated by Edison bulbs, and a wall outside the elevator on the ground level features a mosaic of antique radios and guitars. The instalment pays homage to the history of Wireless Road, the neighbourhood from which the first radio waves were broadcast from Thailand. “’Explore the community,’” explains Karawan. “That’s the idea. We always talk about the neighbourhood, not just the property.”
From decorative, rainbow-coloured beams representing Thai silk to Lumpini Park’s trademark cats stencilled on hallway walls, the locally-inspired concept fits well within the boutique zeitgeist. The property doesn’t redefine luxury or aspire to a status beyond five stars, but rather provides open, lavish living spaces with an artistic bent that larger hotels often struggle to capture. Each room comes with various custom-made furnishings: blue and red rugs woven with the figure of the phya nak, a snake figure from Thai mythology; silver-plated chests and nightstands emblematic of the Machine Age; greyscale photos of local scenes with power lines accented in gold; coffee mugs with the numbers 8 and 1 printed on them — 81 Wireless Road, the address of the hotel.
While art and culture form the foundation of the interior design concept, freshness completes it. High, wide windows let loads of natural light into rooms, and real hardwood floors replicate the comfort of home. Abetting the bright vibe are shades of colour skewed toward the vivid, including violet, carmine, canary-yellow, and orange. Perhaps most indicative of the art-plus-nature concept, however, are the open-air corridors in the common spaces. Every four floors function as a sort of atrium, each floor with a veranda containing planted trees and flowers that bring a slice of the park to the property, an art installation that tells a story about Thailand, and graffiti murals that resemble the work of Banksy.
Some of the more striking facilities include the pool and gym. Set on the 24th floor, the infinity pool overlooks the US ambassador’s residence and the Dutch Embassy. Since neither of these institutions is going anywhere, the ridge of skyscrapers rising behind the low buildings and adjacent green areas should offer spectacular views for many years to come. The gym, too, has an active view of Sukhumvit Road and neighbouring luxury venues, which helps ease the monotony of running on a treadmill.
In a languid corner on the mezzanine, 22 Steps, the flagship bar, gives off a library-lounge feel that invites conversation over a few cocktails. There are plenty of crowd-pleasers on the shelf, like an aperitif with a pear miraculously settled in the bottom of the bottle and oakaged gin. A floor above the bar is Metro, a bistro-style restaurant that serves classic Thai dishes, some created by Chef Ian Kittichai. As satisfying as the mains may be, the desserts trump the rest of the menu. With prices averaging around B150 for individual dishes and drinks, these outlets appeal to local workers. That’s precisely the point: Hotel Indigo unites outsiders and locals, bridging communities with characteristic charm.