First Impressions: If it wasn’t for the sign hanging in front, you could be forgiven for thinking you had the wrong address. This sleek glass and green marble block is one of Asia’s first new look Le Meridien hotels after merging with Starwood, and its façade is more reminiscent of an art gallery than a hotel. The entrance is edgy and futuristic, with an oversized black and white picture- Man with a Poodle by Ralf Gibson- stretched across the door. Gibson is one of the LM100, a group of international artists, chefs, designers and artists Starwood enlisted to breathe new life into the Le Meridien brand.
The Address: Flanking busy Surawong Road- a stone’s throw from the touristy red-light district and night market of Pat Pong, and walking distance from the Central Business District- Le Meridien is well located for both party-goers and biz travelers looking for a bit more pizzazz than the usual 3-star lodges on this strip.
Rooms to Book: Party goers will love the cheeky Circular Suites with Austin Powers-style round beds. For everyone else, paisley prints, folding walls which allow you to watch TV from Kasch tub and well stocked mini bars with hotel-made nibbles (think coffee-infused chocolate) make rooms both stylish and practical. The high tech Cisco phone would also be a great addition- if you could work out how to use it.
The Food: Head to the dazzling lounge-bar Bamboo Chic for a drink or to indulge in Japanese/ Chinese ‘interpretation’ cuisine, like the succulent rib-eye beef with foie gras and Japanese truffle sauce. Just as impressive is the extensive breakfast buffet, which includes a special heart-starter menu by celeb-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, like espresso-steamed eggs and spiced oatmeal soufflé.
Service: Staff are sincere and eager to please, although sometimes a little more heart than head. It took me three calls to find out what time the breakfast bar closed and housekeeping forgot to turn down- which was a pity because that was when I was promised a translation of the poem by Sunthorn Pu written above the bed.
Facilities: The sumptuous spa has cute circular treatment rooms lined with thousands of tiny white pebbles. You can check them out on your way to the small outdoor pool, bordered by salas to escape the midday sun. Free wireless internet in public spaces is a nice touch for Bangkok, where most chain hotels charge.
Don’t Miss: Indulging in the creative cocktails at Bamboo Chic which have been blended with Asian herbs and fruits. Thai food aficionados will love the Tom Yam, a zingy concoction made from vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice and the nation’s feisty Tom Yam soup spices.
40/5 Surawong Road, Bangrak; +66 (0)22328888; www.lemeridienhotelbangkok.com; double rooms from $245