It drives me crazy to hear people write Bangkok off as a city full of nothing more than girly bars and market stalls hawking designer bag rip offs. Now, if pole dancing and faux Prada is your scene, I am not denying that they can both be found aplenty in the City of Angels. But travelers in the know will find Bangkok to be so much more a truly cosmopolitan city where you can wine, dine, party, shop and chill out in style.
When spending time in this steamy, chaotic city, a hotel that acts as your own personal sanctuary is a must. Bangkok is seething with run of the mill chain hotels, but if you can see past them you will find boutique hotels that achieve chilled out luxury with style (as opposed to gaudy buffet breakfasts and generic lobby bar bands).
For minimalist hip, try the Luxx Hotel off Silom Road. With only 13 rooms, the hotel has fabulous staff that are discreet and yet make you feel like a superstar. The location puts you in walking distance to all the action of Silom Road (including some of the city’s best day spas) and has a Zen like aesthetic perfect for recharging after a hectic day in Thailand’s capital.
When it comes to dining in style, Bangkok’s one stop shop would have to be the Lebua Hotel at State Tower. Although this vertigo inducing tower may not be for the height phobic, the Lebua provides plenty of glamorous photo shoot worthy dining and drinking choices. Home to the famous Sky Bar, The Lebua also boasts award winning restaurants with cuisines such as Italian, Thai & Lebanese. And although this traveler never tires of Thai curries and noodle dishes, my ultimate indulgence is an evening of oysters and champagne, so my recommendation is the oyster bar at Distil on the 64th floor.
The jewel in Bangkok s shopping crown would have to be the Siam Paragon. It enables you to combine browsing luxury stores (think Gucci, Chanel and even a Ferrari showroom); with catching a movie (gold class seats) and the most amazing gourmet supermarket (the smoothie and sushi bars are my favourite).
However, if you re interested in hanging with the cool kids, Bangkok’s equivalent of Japan’s Harajuku would have to be Little Siam. Gorgeous young things flock to parade and check out the fashions of young designers in this narrow strip of mini boutiques next to the MBK Centre (opposite Siam Paragon). You’ll find unique pieces for a fraction of the price you’d be willing to pay for them and will get a snapshot of Bangkok street style.
It may not be the newest kid on the block, but the Bed Supper Club is still one of the most happening places to party. So hip it hurts, this is where local cool kids, trendy ex pats and visiting DJs collide, making it a fabulous place to either bust some serious moves on the dance floor, relax with a drink on the beds , appreciate the futuristic design (kind of like the Jetsons get glam) or simply people watch. Just don’t forget to take a disco nap before arriving as despite the plethora of beds, it is still not cool to be caught dozing.