Style High in the Sathorn
Open a little less than three years, the W Hotel Bangkok is now firmly entrenched in the city’s landscape. But that doesn’t mean its allure has gone stale or its perks have become routine. Quite the contrary. The W ranks among the most innovative and distinctive design hotels in the capital. It always has. And, most amazingly, it might just be hitting its stride.
The elements that make the W so special appear immediately. Once inside, to the left of the entry is Woobar, the hotel’s posh place-to-be, where a DJ sets up on the deep purple carpet each night and crafty drink deals draw in locals looking for fresh spins on Friday nights—or any night, for that matter, seeing as how there are different promotions Monday to Sunday. To the right is a spiral staircase lined with dangling, faux drinks in plastic bags, a ubiquitous image in Bangkok, one that bridges income brackets and social classes. And straight ahead, behind the check-in counter, is a mosaic featuring Muay Thai imagery, including a dragon and tiger, both of which are often tattooed on fighters as symbols of strength and grit. Even Woobar boasts traces of Muay Thai, with its VIP room separated by velvet fighting ropes.
The W was designed to express aspects of local culture. That toes the party line of the global brand, which reimagines traditions through sumptuous interiors and cutting-edge design elements. In Bangkok, that means sparkly, sequined throw cushions in the shape of boxing gloves; holographic crocodile skin furnishings at The Kitchen Table, invoking “Krai Thong,” a classic Thai folk tale; a Hanuman graphic at the entry to the FIT gym; poolside graffiti put up by local artist Alexface; and a wall of flashing tuk tuk lights that looks like a prop from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” All of this enlightens guests to the hotel’s inimitable style and spirit. Sure, certain décor recalls Thai boxing, but it does so with a cosmopolitan self-awareness, blending the masculine and the feminine with no small degree of panache.
The rooms, of which there are 403 with equally superlative titles, such as the 244 Wonderful Rooms, the 106 Spectacular Rooms, the 10 Marvelous Suites, and the one Extreme Wow Suite, speak to the city’s chaotic coexistence of contemporary and quaint ways of living: skyscrapers shading shrines, suits and ties seated at streetside stalls, a rabbit warren of choked alleyways illuminated by neon. Human shadows dance behind the translucent, coloured glass planks that serve as dividers in each room. Lights dim and sharpen within purple stones. The carpet feels plush, the bed even plusher, and the latest technology amplifies from the stay. The vibe is at once playful, seductive, and extravagant. Or, in a word, cool.
Matching the comfort and class of the accommodation is the quality of the W’s outlets. In particular, the food and drinks at The Kitchen Table. Here, the cuisine could be described as transcontinental, leaning heavily toward Thai flavours with the introduction of Indian and East Asian influences. Particularly delicious are the Thai yellow curry with crab (legs included) and a pork belly lettuce wrap served with spicy gochujang, a Korean curry paste. All goes well with one of the restaurant’s signature drinks (Woohito, anyone?), as well as one of the many gin and tonics, which are so massive they may as well be served in fishbowls. In the morning, the restaurant serves a solid selection of brunch items, including freshly made pastries from The Kitchen Pantry, and is widely popular with locals as well as guests.
The FIT gym features nearly 150 square metres of exercise space, with an airy floor plan allowing much-needed breathing room. Just outside is the eyeball-shaped pool (as seen from the bird’s eye view). At night, it twinkles with fibre-optic lights. And music can still be heard underwater through high-tech speakers. It’s as slick as any facility in town. No wonder on Saturdays the poolside plays the gracious host to a boozy Chandon and beer party from noon until 4pm and then a BBQ from 4pm until 8pm, featuring a resident DJ. And, of course, there’s Woobar, with its weekly girls gone wild night (free flow bubbles), men’s night (free flow Chang), and more, all of which are well-advertised throughout the hotel.
With fun in-house deals, a serious guest-oriented focus, and cutting-edge design and installations, the W Hotel Bangkok has service and stays down to a stylish science.
W Hotel Bangkok
106 North Sathorn Rd | 0 2344 4000 | whotelbangkok.com