In a city of such a staggering size, finding a hotel in Bangkok is not a problem, but finding a really really good hotel, well that needs a bit more research. So on a recent trip to Bangkok Ross from TLE set out to find out what one of Thailand’s best luxury hotel chains – Centara has to offer the luxury traveller in Thailand’s capital city.
Centara for those of you who don’t know is a key luxury hotel chain in Thailand with 47 properties across Thailand and a further 21 resorts in the Maldives, Vietnam, Bali, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Qatar, Laos and Oman They have two properties in Bangkok, with their flagship hotel being the Centara Grand located in the Siam district of Bangkok, which is the one that I visited.
The Centara Grand hotel is located in Siam, which can be classed as the heart of the city. Two BTS sky-train lines meet and numerous shopping malls reside in this area so it is very central for getting around the city. You can’t miss the hotel when you are in the area look up from anywhere and you will see a building towering into the sky that is shaped like a red lotus flower and that is the Centara hotel.
Set over 55 floors and with 505 rooms and suites as well as three restaurants this is a big hotel, but as I found out this does not mean that attention to detail and the appreciation for guest satisfaction is not lost in its size.
World Club Rooms
The hotel offers multiple opportunities for a luxury experience, starting with the rooms. Upgrade to a World Club Room between floors 43 and 50 and you have access to the World Executive Lounge on the 51st floor offering free food and drinks with a daily champagne reception and separate lobby to check in. I am a big fan of the club experience and I liked the additional offer of free meeting space in one of their two board rooms if you are a business traveller.
Basic World Club rooms have 32sqm of living space, king or two double beds, free wifi, work desk and bathroom with separate bath and shower. World Club Deluxe rooms have 39sqm space and the same features as a club room.
World Club Rooms Start at 7500 Baht per night and include access to the executive lounge as well as complimentary breakfast and free wifi.
Spa and Gym
On the 26th floor is the spa and gym. Guests have free access to the gym which is open 6 am – 12 pm daily and of course the outdoor pool and bar which is open 6 am – 10 am. There are also two outdoor tennis courts on the same floor, which both have a fantastic view looking out over Bangkok; not many tennis courts can say they have a view like that.
The Spa (open 9 am – 11 pm) which is also on the 26th floor, SPA Cenvaree is incredible, this 14 suite spa offers over 60 treatments ranging from traditional Thai treatments right through to Ayurvedic Indian treatments. I opted for a 2 hour, 4 hand Bamboo massage which was indulgent to say the least.
Your spa experience starts off with herbal tea in the reception, you fill in the usual health forms, but they also ask you what areas of the body needs particular attention, I chose my upper back, it’s always a problem for me. After that you are then lead to the changing rooms and give your own locker which you open to find your robes, towel and box for jewellery to sit in. Come out of the changing room ready to start your treatment and you are escorted to your treatment room.
The treatment room was modern, yet relaxing and not overly fussy. The music in the room was soothing as you would expect and the staff are smiling and attentive, I felt like they genuinely wanted you to have a relaxing experience.
My treatment started by having my feet washed and dried, I was then put onto the massage table and laid face down, I know the sign of a good spa is when you look through the head rest hole in the massage table and you see something below to focus your eyes on, in the case of this room is was a bowl with beautiful lotus flowers bobbing about in water.
Then before the massage started I was asked what pressure I wanted; gentle, medium or hard. I have been asked this many times in Thailand before in a spa and gentle often ends up being brutal, like you are a piece of meat being tenderised, but I was happy to say that this was not the case. For the next two hours, I was expertly massaged with every knot in my back attended to. In fact the 2 hours seemed to pass in no time – I was so relaxed.
At the end of the experience you can take time to relax in the changing rooms; changing rooms sounds rather drab however it was more like a mini spa in itself with its own pool, sauna and snoozing beds, I actually saw one guest completely asleep and snoring, so I would say the treatment did the job. They have a range of moisture lotions, mouth washes, and hair products so you can come out feeling and looking refreshed and revitalised.
When you leave you receive a refreshing cold towel and parting drink to send you on your way.
Experiences start at 2500 Baht per person.
Food and Drink
The hotel has three restaurants, two of which are found on the 24th floor; The World which offers traditional local flavours that you would expect to find in Bangkok as well as western dishes. Whilst the other restaurant Ginger focuses on Japanese Asian dishes as well as providing a number of fusion Chinese and Thai influenced dishes.
However forget those two restaurants, where you really want to be is on the 55th floor home to Red Sky, the hotel’s skybar and restaurant.
Red Sky is layered across the very top of the hotel like a piece of marzipan on a Christmas cake, build across two floors, the lower floor being home to the restaurant which is run by chef Hugo Coudurier and the top floor is home to the bar. The bar is popular for drinks at sunset and has made it into our guide to the 3 most popular skybars in Bangkok. (Our best tip for the bar is to go at happy hour and make sure you get one off the bed style seats for two people and watch the sun go down on the city).
The restaurant is quite large and is set into an semicircle shape that clasps around the upper bar area. Even though you are outside 55 floors up, the shape gives the restaurant privacy too, with no table too close together and every table guaranteed one of the best views of the city you don’t have to worry where you sit.
The menu is laid out into various sections – Cold Appetisers, Soups, Warm Appetisers, Seafood, Meat and Poultry and Desserts. The menu has a western influence with classic European dishes from France and Italy as well as big gutsy meat dishes from the US.
The wine selection is substantial and you can see the glass cellar when you come up the stairs into the restaurant from the lifts. There are classic old world wines as well as new world grapes too and even a few Thai wines for good measure!
What Did I Eat
Well to be honest what didn’t I eat…. I ate a five course tasting menu (I know I am greedy), which was paired with two beautiful old world wines. I am vegetarian and in Asia it is not always a straightforward affair eating vegetarian food and it could have posed a problem in a predominantly meat and fish restaurant, however they tailored some of the dishes for my vegetarian palate so I could still experience the flavours the dishes offered.
We started with Aroma Panna Water to clean our palette (and cool us down, this is Bangkok remember) and tried some of the homemade bread, that is made daily on the onsite bakery. If you love bread and butter and lets be honest who doesn’t you will be in heaven, paired with Beurre d’isigny butter it is divine.
Our pre starter was a clever little dish of Tomato Gaspacho decorated with edible flowers. Made from Spanish tomatoes and olive oil with tones of garlic and ripe sweet tomatoes coming through with each mouthful. I am not normally a fan of cold soup, but in hot weather this worked well and the flavours were not so overpowering that the rest of the flavours of the meal would be under appreciated.
This was smoked salmon gnocchi with avocado, lemon butter foam. and strips of picked onion and dill. I had my dish minus the salmon which still worked. The lemon foam played well with the avocado and sharp onion and dill and the gnocchi had been roasted and had a slight but earthy flavour to it.
The third dish was cream of porcini with frois grois. I of course skipped the frois grois, The dish was served by bringing the plate to you and pouring the cream of porchini into the bowl which would cover the frois grois. The porchini cream was delicious, very rich so I only ate a little but still delicious.
The 4th course, our main was Black Truffled Ravioli and it was actually my favourite dish. I love cheese, i love ravioli, I love truffels. The ravioli was stuffed with porchini mushrooms, and the cream bechemel sause was flavoured with truffel as well as clove and made using Crottin de Chavignol cheese. Simply super.
The 5th course and also dessert was a classic of apple pie finished with ice cream and a vanilla pod. Give any British man apple pie and they are happy, it was buttery, creamy and very very rich!
In all the food was beautiful and setting unmissable the staff were attentive and knowledgable a not to be missed experience in Bangkok.
Food in Red Sky starts at around 5000 Baht per person including drinks. Dress is smart casual and opens daily from 17.00.
Getting To Centara Grand
You can take a taxi to the hotel, but traffic in the Siam area becomes frustratingly congested at certain points in the day so I would recommend you take the sky train to Siam and then it is a ten-minute walk along the sky bridge and through the Central shopping centre.
Phone : +66 (0) 2100 1234
Address : 999/99 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
I would like to thank Ms Kanokros Sakdanares Group Director of Marketing Communications Centara Hotels and Resorts and Mr Hugo Coudurier for looking after me so well while I was a guest of the hotel.