The neighbourhood known as Thong Lor (anything on, or a stone’s throw from, Sukhumvit Soi 55) is one of Bangkok’s trendiest locales. It’s also one of the city’s epicentres for fine dining, with hot spots like Bo.Lan, Soul Food Mahanakorn, Canvas, Toro, and Little Beast attracting serious food fanatics. And for anyone wanting to plan a holiday or staycation within the realm of this hallowed gourmet gauntlet, The Salil Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 57 is an ideal suggestion.
This brand new property, which just opened its doors in April of 2017, is the fourth Salil in Bangkok (there’s another one nearby on Thong Lor Soi 1—see side bar—as well as one each on Sukhumvit Sois 8 and 11). However, this new branch is something of a departure from the others, as the idea here is to create a ‘Concept Living Space’ with six simple stratagems: stay; eat; work; shop; play; and relax.
The concept of “stay” is the easiest to illustrate, as the elegant 8-storey, Parisian-influenced, Art Deco-style building offers 130 units, including 28 sq.m Premier Rooms, 35 sq.m Deluxe Rooms, and a dozen One-Bedroom Suites measuring 45 sq.m. The hotel’s interior décor utilizes a lot of cool grey tones—both soothing and sophisticated—with accents of white, black, and gold, and lots of black and white marble. There’s also a bird theme flittering throughout, with lighting sconces that resemble bird cages and a different winged creature representing each floor.
The rooms themselves are posh and plush, with all the modern amenities—flatscreen TVs, room safes, Wi-Fi, work station, air-conditioning, padded and heated toilet seats, and more—as well as king-sized beds with gorgeous soft linens, plump pillows, and a sexy, velvety smooth diamond tufted headboard. The two larger room models also come with a bathtub and a pantry (full-sized fridge, sink, microwave, plus plates and utensils).
To “relax” the hotel offers guests an 8th floor rooftop open air swimming pool (with Jacuzzi) plus a handful of sun loungers. In order to get to the pool, guests pass through The Playroom, which is a combination library, games area, screening room, and more. The idea here is to “play”, and to make one’s self at home by considering this, and all the hotel spaces, one’s own.
The “work” concept is illustrated, in part, at the medium-sized fitness room (on the 8th floor as well), but guests also have the option of utilizing the hotel’s technically well-equipped co-working spaces, conveniently located on the ground floor near the Bar Storia del Caffè, the property’s all-day dining venue. Here, we move to the concept of “eat”, and after the tasty breakfast buffet for overnight guests is completed, customers can order from the café’s à la carte menu. For lunch and dinner a variety of Thai and international menu items are available, with standout dishes that include the superb Rocket Salad with Italian Pork Sausage, the delicious Grilled Salmon with Quinoa Salad, and the yummy Apple Crumble with Ice Cream dessert. There’s also plenty of beer, wine, and creative cocktails on offer, with concoctions like the Dao Kra Jai—a mix of Cointreau, Amaretto, and lemon juice—hitting the mark well. Or, for something less potent, specialty coffees, as well as a huge selection of Mariage Frères teas, are available.
The aforementioned Mariage Frères teas are available in the small boutique store located adjacent to the lobby, which is where the “shop” concept arises. Also for sale are fragrance items from Everyday Karmakamet, and other stylish souvenirs.
24, Sukhumvit Soi 57
Tel: 02 072 2882-4
WHAT’S GOOD IN THE HOOD: JUST A DRINK (MAYBE)
There are plenty of amazing drink spots in the Thong Lor area—some new, some hidden, and some that have stood the test of time admirably. But what Taiwanese transplant Herman Wu felt was missing from the area was a proper gin joint; a place where the emphasis was on this famed juniper juice. His interest in all things gin eventually led to the establishment of Just A Drink (Maybe), which is located on Thong Lor’s Soi 1, right beside the landmark Salil Hotel.
The bar has only been open since late April but already it’s gaining a following. The shophouse interior is quite tiny, but it has a warm welcoming feel, with exposed brickwork on the west wall, soft lighting, low table seating in the back, and a handful of stools at the bar where customers can watch the bartenders crafting their creative cocktails. And sitting comfortably behind the bar is a selection of over 50 different gin labels, including hard to brands such as Colombo, Plymouth, Filliers, and Gin X (the latter two from Belgium).
Guests who might need a bit of coaching can find inspiration in the menu, where signature cocktails—not all of which are strictly gin—are arranged on a chart that shows you in what direction they lean taste-wise (smooth, sour, bitter, or sweet and fragrant). A nice starter is the Beauty & Hendrick (B450), a mix of Hendrick’s gin, Aperol, lemon juice, tonic, and soda, all garnished with a long thin slice of cucumber. And even the tonic water isn’t just your run of the mill brand, as this signature drink uses Thomas Henry Cherry Blossom Tonic for a much more memorable taste.
A more traditional G&T can be had when ordering the Old Broker (B350), but there’s still a twist to be had, as the namesake Broker’s Gin is combined with Fever Tree Premium Indian Tonic and St. Germain Elderflower Liquer (and garnished with a few purple pomegranate seeds). However, the martini purists out there—of which I count myself as a card-carrying member—will love The Vesper (B390), a James Bond-inspired marriage of Tanqueray gin, Stolichnaya vodka, and La Quintinye Vermouth Royal Blanc. Garnished with a lemon twist it’s “class in a glass”.
The bar also doles out several variations on the classic Negroni, but if you want to stray from the gin-based concoctions the Sazerac (B450) is a heady mix of Rittenhouse rye whiskey, H by Hine VSOP cognac, Peychaud’s bitter and grapefruit bitter, topped off with syrup and a spritz of La Maison Fontaine absinthe. After one of these you’ll be saying “just a drink… definitely!”
44/3, Thonglor Soi 1
Tel: 02 023 7285
Open: Tue-Sun, 5pm-1pm
By Bruce Scott