We had been trekking train platforms and streets for the better part of an hour attired in longs, closed shoes and hauling on luggage. Unaccustomed to such humidity (especially at night!), perspiration ran slick and Bangkok had us cursing our decision to train it from the airport.
Why had we passed up the convenience of an air-conditioned taxi? However, we had the hotel within sight and with one final heave, doors opened to a ‘Sawasdee Krup’ and we were warmly shown into the cool interior of one of the city’s oldest and grand hotels – Dusit Thani.
Grand is the most fitting word to pin to this 41-year-old property. The upper lobby is home to reception, concierge, a variety of restaurants & bars on differing physical levels and fresh displays of tropical flowers and tranquil trickling waters.
This vast, columned space is where the majority of folk migrate to, at any hour of the day. The atmosphere is chilled, natural light floods most corners and there’s never a feeling of over-crowdedness.
Check-in was fuss-free and one of the swiftest I’ve experienced. Reception staff welcomed us with beautiful threaded Phuang Malais (Thai flower garlands) and within minutes I was peering out of my 17th floor room window across a twinkling Bangkok skyline and down into the peacefulness of Lumpini Park.
Airline hair and the removal of city grit was the next thing to sort out and our Grand King room certainly had a bathroom equipped to deal with this. Cool marble flooring, wafting essential oil, light dimmers, complimentary soaps and shampoos, a walk-in shower large enough to fit four and a deep bathtub to boot ensured we were well scrubbed and fit to occupy D’Sens Bar for a nightcap and to toast a superb start to two weeks off in Thailand.
Occupying the 22nd (top) floor, D’Sens offers up both a bar and Michelin star restaurant catering to the fine French/Mediterranean palate. It being far too late to dine though, ‘welcome drinks’ suited just fine.
Pineapple, coconut & sours I aptly renamed “The Dusit Thani” as they were literally “heaven on earth”. Nestled deep within a stack of cushions next to a bar-length tank of kissing gouramies and pale catfish; we were content to survey the outdoor night scene in silence and save talking to-do lists and plans for the morrow.
The morrow broke to find us having slept a deep, star-fished sleep and keen to breakfast at leisure. A holiday for me is one without alarm clocks and late breakfasts…
Il Cielo laid on an array of foods. Noodle dishes and pork buns for locals and neighbouring visitors alike, pastries and cereals, meats and cheeses for the Europeans and all the components to a cooked breakfast you could wish for.
A multitude of fruits, juices, yoghurts, pancakes, smoked salmon and French toast too. Again we noted, while sipping lattes, how un-chaotic the venue was.
Usually buffet breakfasts equate crowds with sometimes queues and a little elbowing for the last croissant. But our mornings in Il Cielo were super relaxed.
Breakfast items were well stocked and skilfully displayed with cheerful staff unexpectedly recalling our names and favourite hot beverages.
Bangkok hums. The city never sleeps and there’s a constant hive of activity. So instead of leaping into the mayhem on day one we decided to take it o’ so easy by the pool with books, a snack menu to hand and not a care for the time of day.
A few scattered Chaise Longues around the pool’s peripheries, a waterfall in the background and sun streaming down – the pool is an easy spot in which to do not much at all.
Peckish moments can be satisfied in any one of the hotel’s 12 restaurants, cafes and bars. Our most memorable meal was actually on our last night.
Benjarong is the hotel’s signature restaurant whipping up a wide selection of sophisticated Thai cuisine with ingredients prepared and fused according to royal Thai recipes. The Tom Yung Kung was fresh and sweet, and the seasoned Tilapia – the best flaked fish we had had in a long time.
I even managed to knock cheesecake off my partner’s all-time-favourite desert pedestal and replace it with sticky coconut rice and mango!
The Dusit Thani caters exceptionally well to the business traveller, groups, trade familiarisation visitors, your average tourist and even the spa connoisseur.
The hotel is located centrally within seconds of the Skytrain, local subways, Lumpini Park as well as being minutes from the likes of Silom and the Chao Praya River. So in regards to access and getting around – it’s incredibly easy.
Staff cheerfulness and a desire to always assist, a grand but homely ambience, the choice in cuisine, plush rooms and a view out over Bangkok’s largest green patch is what made our stay.