Like any child born in the ’80s, I’ve always harboured a secret inclination towards appearing on TV. If Will Smith could write, produce and star in his own hit comedy series before he was of a graduate age then surely I could get a bit part on a soap opera? Sadly, the closest that I ever came to televisual fame was being stopped on the street by BBC documentary makers when walking, very hungover, to work and asked my opinion on mobile phone tariffs. Until now. On entering my Deluxe Suite at Okura Prestige, there my name is on the flat screen television, welcoming me to one of Bangkok’s finest 5-star hotels. I’ve made it.
This diligent attention to detail is a large part of the charm of Okura Prestige; from the effusive service of the receptionists who greet you like an old friend to the cleaners who sneak into your room like benevolent cat burglars, swiping used towels and leaving origami creatures on your pillows, each guest is made to feel as if they are the star of their own stay. As soon as we’ve settled into our new digs, dressed up in our complimentary kimonos and discussed the various merits of the heated toilet seat, a waiter knocks on the door with a welcome platter of fruit, macaroons and candied jelly cubes that we happily gobble down whilst admiring Bangkok from the 30th floor.
Our view is bested by the balcony at the Up and Above Bar, where guests can enjoy a cocktail whilst watching the sun set over one of Asia’s most impressive city skylines; it’s also the place to get an outstanding buffet breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. As the hotel’s lobby is on the 24th floor, every amenity and sub-venue is situated at a very lofty position indeed; the infinity pool is worth the trip alone, its illusory fourth edge spilling over onto a stunning cityscape that seems only a few strokes away. Next door is a well-stocked gym and a quiescent paradise of a spa room, its dimly lit avenues weaving away into tranquil relaxation rooms.
The lobby itself is housed in 30ft high ceilings that the Fresh Prince could surely easily shoot some b-ball in, would it not be hazardous to the exquisite Japanese-themed décor. To the left of the main foyer lies Yamazato, the hotel’s authentic Japanese restaurant and home to two teppanyaki tables and a sushi bar; it is here where we enjoy breakfast on the first morning of our stay. For anyone who hasn’t had a Japanese breakfast, it’s an experience and a half: the visual pleasure of the miniature village created by the plethora of tiny pots, bowls, plates and angled chopsticks is superseded only when you discover that its inhabitants are curious and delicious morsels including miso soup, freshly grilled salt-skinned mackerel and a weirdly wonderful semi-boiled egg broth. Oh, and the teensy teapot of soy sauce is just too darling for words…
On the other side of the lobby, one floor up, lies the Michelin-starred Elements, the newly relaunched restaurant with Hans Zahner as Chef de Cuisine whose mission is to fuse contemporary French cuisine with Japanese influences in the heart of Bangkok. Tempted? Certainly sounds better than a Philly Steak, Will…
If your co-stars happen to be anklebiters then they will be well cared for as the family-friendly in-room menu not only has separate ‘children’ and ‘infant’ menus, but a list of fresh juices that are designed to treat and alleviate the symptoms of a range of ailments including asthma, colds and flu. Should you want to fly the coop, the concierge is always on hand to recommend the top hotspots in the city; as Okura is situated deep in Bangkok’s centre, you will be well-positioned to explore the exciting surroundings.
As the closing credits roll over our stay at Okura Prestige, I resolve that our brief time in the limelight has satiated my desire for 15 minutes of fame and I’m happy to watch the progression of Mr Smith’s career from the wings, bereft of my former envy. However, this is not to say that I won’t pop back for a cameo whenever I’m in driving distance of an Okura hotel; after all, Jazzy Jeff’s gotta eat, right?!
The Okura Prestige Bangkok, Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.
Tel: +66 (0) 2687 9000
The hotel is a minute’s walk from Phloen Chit Skytrain station in a fun and exciting area of the city.
Type of Hotel: 5-Star Hotel
Number of Rooms: 240 rooms and suites including complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
Price Band: Expensive
Insider Tip: Make sure you visit Elements, even if it’s just for a pre-going out cocktail while you admire the skyscraper-laden neon cityscape.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10
David Harfield is the director of PepperStorm Media and writes about his three passions: food, booze and travel.
Photographs courtesy of The Okura Prestige Bangkok