THE RENAISSANCE BANGKOK RATCHAPRASONG (THIS IS THE FULL NAME BUT ONE AND ALL WILL CALL IT RENAISSANCE BANGKOK AS 'RENAISSANCE' IS ALREADY A MOUTHFUL OF A NAME!) OPENED LAST YEAR AND IS ALREADY A STYLISH LANDMARK!
This was my bedroom with bathtub next to my bed!
You cannot miss it as it sits smack in the heart of Bangkok's Golden Triangle, akin to KL's KLCC and Bukit Bintang. Like Suria KLCC and Pavilion, Ratchaprasong is home to all the designers' brands as all the top malls are to the left and right so whichever you turn, shopping awaits! If your Thai taxi driver cannot pronounce or understand 'Renaissance', just say 'Gaysorn Plaza' or 'Erawan temple' and he will drive you there. Renaissance is opposite Gaysorn Plaza, home to Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton etc and Erawan Shrine attached to Grand Hyatt hotel is Bangkok's most famous little shrine and many Malaysians come here to pray and return to give thanks once granted. Once I took part in TAT's Shopping Contest and I prayed to the 4-Face Brahma statue and of course I won, 100,000 baht worth of shopping voucher!
The lobby is all glass, atworks and orange! Not the usual marble staircase and flower table in the middle of the foyer!
The lighting system in the lobby is 5 storeys high and changes colours so there is nothing static about Renaissance Bangkok!
The lobby is a veritable modern work of art!
The lobby with its skyhigh chandelier and orange lift doors make a major statement!
The comfy chairs and amusing board games and puzzles will keep you entertained as your hubby or lover checks in or out!
La Tavola the Italian restaurant touted as one of the best in town
At La Tavola, you can see the chefs in action
Fei Ya Chinese restaurant lives up to its claim as being among the top 5 chinese restaurants.
The purple toned R Bar
I hardly knew where the ceiling ended due to myriad reflections
Sleek and sexy and stylish!
Purple rain lights system? Prince would love this
My bedroom! All done in purple and white, I felt like a Roman emperor
My bath tub is next to my bed! How cool is that?
Too bad I could not jump from bed into bath tub as a transparent glass wall separates me from a soak
View as you crawl out of the tub
Twin bedroom is more of the same
I prefer my room with bath tub seen through glass wall
His and hers wash basin in a conservative room
The bombed out Zen department store
Mater Dei below is one of Bangkok's most famous and prestigious girls school
Renaissance stands out amid a sea of glam buildings!
Quan Spa awaits after a hard day of shopping!
No coconut trees swaying the breeze, no orchids, no shoreline but this is a contemporary state of the art pool in the heart of a city!
Perfect for those who wish to tan without getting sunburn and premature aging!
The rooftop, enclosed pool is a stunner
This pool is really skyhigh
THE BLUE HUE ICON AKA RENAISSANCE BANGKOK!
The latest 5-star hotel in Bangkok is Renaissance, located in the heart of Ratchaprasong, equivalent to KL’s Bukit Bintang
In a city known for glamorous, ritzy and superlative hotels, one is hard pressed to find a hotel that stands out. Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong does that with aplomb as it is physically outstanding. Clad in blue glass, it is impossible to miss since its unusual hue sticks out prominently among sedate coloured buildings.
Renaissance Bangkok is also the first in the chain to be dressed in the new exterior colour that goes with the revamp of its image. Since its opening in 2010 it has become the benchmark for all new and refurbished Renaissances. From the usual ho-hum 5-star hotel which looks like clones of each other, the new Renaissance, which aptly means ‘new life’, ‘rebirth’ or ‘revival’, has positioned itself as a hip and happening hotel geared for the young and failing that, young-at-heart.
It is still grand but no longer of the grande dame species. Gone are the marble balustrades, sweeping staircase, gilded pillars and acres of carpet. Instead of chandeliers reminiscent of the Victorian era, the lighting system is three storey high, blinks, changes colour and uses diodes instead of bulbs.
Colours are wild and wonderfully wacky. No traditional soothing cream, brown and earthy tones. Unconvention rules. Think of the discos of the 1980s with its garish, throbbing strob lights and you get the drift. It is as if ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and Studio 54 have conspired for a comeback without the bell bottoms and beatniks.
Thai design details are to be admired in their various manifestations in glass, stainless steel, marble, tanganika wood and engraved stone fused with Italian marble and Portoro gold.
Artfully incorporated are images of Cassia Fistula or Ratchapruek, the national flower of Thailand, reflected, I am told, in glass, stone and walls placed randomly. They are so well fused into the surroundings as I fail to notice any flowery details until they are pointed to me. Fresh, real floral installations, of which there are also many, do a better job impressing guests.
The colour palette is strident but never tacky as this is resolutely a third millennium establishment. “The concept is fun and light-heartedness as guests always smile as they enter the lobby,” says W???/. “The décor is informal and feels like a private club so guests become relaxed quickly as they don’t feel like people are checking their behaviour.”
All 5-star lobbies have comfy chairs but a glaring lack of reading materials unless you are a guest and can retrieve a newspaper from concierge. Here, there are upscale magazines like Solitaire, JetGala, Vogue, W and Thai fashion and social glossies that require no knowledge of the language as you just gawk at the sexy models and members of Bangkok’s ‘hi-so’, the local term for ‘high society’.
Another amusing surprise---board games and puzzles placed on the low tables! While waiting for hubby to settle the bill or return from the loo, one can now indulge in some fun metal, wood and cardboard puzzles that only need basic skills but should keep you entertained for the next quarter hour.
I meander towards Lobby Lounge, dressed in mesmerising purple, orange, yellow and flecks of green (the lounge, not me) which change according to the sunlight streaming through the coloured panels. This is a major wateringhole for Bangkok’s young elite so planting yourself at R Bar or on the velvet purple chair at night is a surefire way to google at the Beautiful People.
The four eateries include Flavors Café serving Thai and international cuisine, Fei Ya for contemporary northern Chinese cooking and signature Peking Duck, La Tavola for superb Italian specialties and H2O for cocktails and nibbles by the pool.
Royal Maneeya Ballroom is Bangkok’s most popular venue for galas and especially weddings, as the bride and groom can drive right in. This is not a figure of speech but a physical reality as the newly betrothed can drive into the ballroom in their Rolls-Royce or jalopy! An industrial sized lift at the back allows heavy equipment and vehicles to be transported into the 6-metre high Maneeya Ballroom on the mezzanine floor.
All Thai hotels boast a good spa and Renaissance is no different with Quan Spa specialising in water based treatments and Vichy baths.
The pool on the topmost floor overlooking the City of Angels is the talk of town as passersby on the road assume it is a disco in full swing due to the dramatic light show! The pool is sleekly modernist with infinity pool, glass walls and sculptural features but the flashes of colours from the elaborate lighting system bounce off the waters and onto the glass walls which produce pulsating effects to stunned viewers at street level. Already the pool’s scintillating light show is being used as a landmark for directions!
And so to bed…with a bath next to it!
My room, clad in rich royal purple, comes with a gleaming white bath tub by the side of my bed although I could not leap from bed into the tub as both are separated by a glass wall. Some hotels have a wall with louver wooden windows which can be raised or lowered for privacy but Renaissance offers no such false modesty, based on the assumption your bedmate must have seen you in-flagrante at some point so this is not an issue. It is certainly a tantalising thought, seeing your partner soaking in the tub as you laze and gaze in bed in great admiration.
Luxurious, fun and funky as your room may be, tourists will insist on going out. Renaissance Bangkok is spot on for shopping. Turn right and it is Chidlom Central and Emporium. Turn left and it is Gaysorn Plaza, Central World and further afield Paragon, Siam Centre and MBK Plaza. Perfect for sightseeing elsewhere and shopping on the last day. Rates from RM 400 per night.