If money was truly no object, how would you “spend” a fantasy weekend in Bangkok?
Most months of the year the heat, humidity, traffic, and general chaos of Bangkok make living (or visiting) here a challenge. Yes it’s a great city, and there’s never a dull moment, but cramped living quarters, overheated public transit, and general rising prices, can really wear one down.
Face it, whether you live here or are just passing through, you most likely would—if you could afford it—be relaxing on a scorching hot Bangkok afternoon in an ice cube filled swimming pool while a private butler serves you frozen gin tonics. And while this particular fantasy might not be available in Bangkok (yet), plenty of other luxurious indulgences are, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the most catered, relaxing, and chilled out VIP services this town has to offer. Forget about price tags for once and imagine that money is no object… just take a weekend to pamper yourself, and your significant other, silly.
SATURDAY MORNING: Whether you’ve just arrived at the airport from out of town, or you live here on a regular basis, make navigating Bangkok’s endless traffic snarls a little more pleasant by contacting Prestige Car Rental. They can arrange to pick you up in a stretch limousine, equipped with complimentary SIM cards and free WiFi, all for a paltry B30,000 for 24 hour service.
If you think that limo service is too passé, opt instead to drive your own Porsche Cayman (B13,000 per day), or heck, go for broke and splurge on a Lamborgini LP 560 (B50,000 per day), the fanciest steed in Prestige’s fleet. However, don’t expect to get away with just a few hundred baht fine should you be pulled over for driving in the wrong lane.
Next up, hop in your vehicle of choice and drive over to The Siam Hotel, Bangkok’s most exclusive lodging. Or, if you’re taking the limo, have them drop you off at the Chao Phraya River (Saphan Taksin bridge) and let the Siam do all the work, ferrying you up the lifeline of old Bangkok on their private shuttle boat, which really lets you appreciate the moniker “Venice of the East,” as well as the hotel itself, which is situated on lush grounds along the river bank in Dusit, far from the chaos and congestion of downtown. Check in to a suave Pool Villa Riverview private villa (B41,000 per night, plus another B7,000 in taxes), which comes with its own garden, open-air roof terrace, and private swimming pool. You’ve also got a choice of either Art-Deco, Chinese, Colonial, or Thai decor, depending on which of these four top-end villas you select.
Don’t linger too long in your regal quarters though, as you’ve got a busy day ahead, starting off with a bit of wardrobe shopping. First off, ladies will want to get dropped off at the glitzy Central Embassy Mall to visit the flagship store of Stretsis. Now a major player in the world high fashion industry, Stretsis (which is “sisters” spelled backwards) was started by a trio of Thai sisters who brought overseas fashion design school and haute couture internship experiences back home to rock the Thailand design scene, creating dreamy girlish print dresses and other women’s wear that merge retro with modern twists. Fit yourself into a Cheetah Flamenco dress (B16,500) from their new 2017 Summer Collection, and top it off with a Cisco Blazer (B15,500) for those frigid air-con moments Bangkok is famous for.
Meanwhile, gentleman will want to head over to trendy Thonglor (Sukhumvit Soi 55) to pay a visit to Button Up, Bangkok’s premier tailor. Their 20 stitch per inch shirts and suits, made with Loro Piana and other high end European fabrics (over 100 fabrics to choose from here), ensure you’ll be the best dressed fella in town. The Thonglor flagship store features a dressing room hidden behind a bookcase, with wall to wall mirrors to admire yourself in private. In addition, the personalized fitting and measurement attention is Bangkok’s best, although you will pay for it—with tailored suits running from B20,000 all the way up to B100,000 for the creme de la creme.
Despite the fact that you’ve just completely swathed yourself in the finest designer fashions money can buy, you’re going to have to take them all off, because your next stop is one where you won’t even need your wallet, at least while your clothes are off. Theta State Float is one of Bangkok’s few floatation tank centres, also known as “sensory relief” tanks (a contrast to their early beginnings back when they were known as “sensory deprivation” tanks, brought to public attention by William Hurt in the classic sci-fi film Altered States). Float tanks are soundproof chambers filled with epsom salt water that is heated to body temperature, allowing users to relax and have a peaceful meditative experience. These days, they are one of your few chances to get away from Facebook, smartphones, and any of the stress inducers that come with the daily urban grind. Research has shown that float tank experiences combat jet lag, provide pain relief, and are especially beneficial for pregnant women. They’re even used by professional athletes as tools for positive imaging. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to share this experience with your honey, at least not until after the session. Theta State Float offers both pod style tanks as well as larger rectangular ones with doors, but both are all about the solo experience and letting go. A two-hour float here—B2,800 for a 120 minute session—may be a mere pittance compared to your rental Lamborgini, but the peace of mind is priceless.
After all this shopping, and meditative reflecting on shopping you must be getting hungry. However, sunsets always take priority over appetite, and besides, you can actually kill two birds with one sky high stone at our next stop, the new CRU Champagne Bar. Those with a head for heights have long been making the pilgrimage up to one of Bangkok’s top rooftop bars, Red Sky, located on the 55th floor of the Centara Grand Hotel at CentralWorld, but only those with wallets and an appreciation of the high life are getting three floors higher, taking the private elevator up to CRU, where you can toast the city that stretches out beneath you, cooling down with an array of signature cocktails. Try the Passion Lady, with Beefeater gin, mint, lime, passion fruit, and vanilla foam, or the GH Mumm No.1 Pink Edition champagne, which is only available in Thailand at CRU. Or, if you really want your wallet to have a workout, indulge in a bottle of Bollinger James Bond 007 Spectre Limited Edition (B29,000), and feast on Yakitori chicken skewers, oysters on the half shell, and Royal Beluga caviar (B7,800), which should tide you both over until dinner. The views here are absolutely jaw dropping, 360° panoramas that take in the entire city—and you won’t be getting any higher until the MahaNakhon Tower opens its observatory.
Once the sun has gone down, it’s time to sup. View lovers will say that nothing beats dining atop Bangkok rooftops, but hey, you’ve already been there done that with your drinks, not to mention that joining all the foodies at Gaggan and Nahm just isn’t intimate enough for this truly special weekend. Instead, it’s time to head over to The Table by Chef Pam, where you are going to be served a themed private dining menu created by Chef Pam, an acclaimed chef, food consultant, and television personality. Pichaya ‘Pam’ Utharntharm is a Le Cordon Bleu graduate who worked for years at Jean Georges, the 3-starred Michelin restaurant in New York, and has regularly featured on the Top Chef Masters television series. Smoked meats are a big part of the dining experience, and you can choose from 20-hour smoked Wagyu brisket, or 6-hour smoked pork belly and jowl, to go with all of the other courses that Pam dreams up and painstakingly creates. Dinner here runs a minimum of B2,500 a head here, going up to B10,000 depending on what ingredients are used, but hey, this really is a private party and we want only the best.
It’s been a busy day and it’s almost time for bed, but this living in style is pretty seductive, so we’ve got one more stop for a wind-down nightcap. The ChindAsia Club is an exclusive gentleman’s cigar and networking club (don’t worry, it isn’t that kind of gentlemen’s club, and women are welcome as well) which features a fully-fitted bar, lounge, library, and cellar, where you can drink single cask whiskies, smoke a Cuban cigar, and enjoy the plush leather furniture. You won’t be able to buy entrance for just a night, but you can get a one year membership, either B80,000 for a gold card if you live here (plus B3,200 a month in maintenance fees), or else B16,000 (plus B9,600) if you are coming from out of town. There is a formal dress code here, but with your earlier clothier fittings you will both be the image of perfection.
SUNDAY MORNING: Sleep in and enjoy your villa’s private pool, as well as the riverside views and the charms of the Siam. However, skip breakfast because your first stop today is at the lavish Brasserie Europa, set in the grandiose Siam Kempinski Hotel, boasting an interior of fine European décor with polished marble floors and velvet armchairs. The brasserie is home to the longest Sunday brunch in town, stretching all the way until 5pm. There’s free-flow Louis Roederer Brut Premier champagne, a stellar assortment of oysters and seafood, the best cold cuts in town, and a dessert room that features a giant chocolate fountain. With free flow champagne and other alcohol, it goes for B3,500 per head.
After brunch you’ll most likely be too sated to move, but don’t worry, there’s nothing strenuous ahead. Just make the short walk into the adjoining Siam Paragon shopping mall and head upstairs to the ultracool Enigma Cinema. It will cost B3,500 for the two of you to get in here, a fee which certainly isn’t based on the movie you are seeing. Rather, it’s for the adjustable sofabed seating (yes you can fully recline and sleep), the private butler service, the glass of wine and meal that is served along with the film (a meal which you may or may not have room for), and the massage chairs in the elegant candlelit lounge.
Your weekend is coming to a close, but don’t stop fantasizing yet… you’ve got one final epic wind-down activity to enjoy, and this one you also get to do together, and without any effort. Head over to the luxurious
St. Regis Hotel and pop into the Elemis Spa, where there is a private couple’s treatment suite. Here you can avail yourself of a Rasul chamber, where you can enjoy an ancient Arabian bathing ritual that incorporates clay, heat, and steam to help cleanse and exfoliate toxins. The Anti-Ageing Journey treatment (B15,800) is one of the city’s best—lasting four hours—and includes a lime and ginger salt glow, body sculpting therapy, deep tissue massage, and an anti-ageing facial.
You’ve got to be positively woozy after all this—cosseted and coddled beyond belief—but you ought to be in superb shape for dealing with Monday. As your fantasy weekend winds down, it’s either back to work, or perhaps, if you’ve really got money to burn, onto another equally lavish destination somewhere else!
By Dave Stamboulis