Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Bangkok -- Sukhumvit boutique hotel -- Seven: DAY GLOW

You've probably noticed in Thailand that just about everyone seems to be wearing the same coloured shirt on a given day. Gee, I used to think, they must somehow all call each other up in the morning and say 'What are you going to wear today?' and plan to match each other. Then I read that in fact each day of the week has a colour ascribed to it. Furthermore the days themselves are named for the various gods governing certain planets:

Sunday -- red -- Sun god Phra Arthit

Monday -- yellow -- Moon god Phra Charn

Tuesday -- pink -- Mars god Phra Angkarn

Wednesday -- green -- Mercury god Phra Phut

Thursday -- orange -- Jupiter god Phra Pareuhat

Friday -- blue -- Venus god Phra Suk

Saturday -- purple -- Saturn god Phra Sao

So no-one needs to call anyone up. Just remember the day and the colour (OK, sometimes it's hard to remember what day it is when you've been partying hard the night before.)

Why am I telling you all this? Because it's the basis of a really cool boutique hotel in Sukhumvit Soi 31. How cool? Well, so cool it made Conde Nast's, um, Hot List for new hotels in 2008.

It's called Seven, for the days in the week. And, as it turns out by luck or design, there are six rooms plus one communal area which account for all the colours. It is the brainchild of Khun Pylin (or Jane as she prefers to be called), who studied politics and economics and all sorts of serious stuff before paying her dues in the family's paint business. Aha -- so this is just an elaborate ad for a paint factory!
'I wanted to do something with colour and something Thai, so the days of the week ...' she explains.

So she set about renovating a townhouse in a small dead-end soi off Sukhumvit: 'Thais hate dead-end sois,' she laughs, 'probably because they can't use it to drive through, a short-cut to anywhere else. But to me it means quiet.' It certainly is quiet, although just a hundred yards round the corner are some great Italian and Japanese restaurants, and the bubbling cauldron of soi 33's nightlife. Phrom Phong BTS is just a five minute stroll away.

For landscaping, Jane turned to award-winning Thai Piyachanok Wijarn, who has done gardens for Cindy Crawford and Leonardo DiCaprio, among others.

As for the service approach, Jane wanted Seven to be 'small enough so it feels like home, more casual, without things like room numbers.' True, it must be the first hotel I've ever stayed without room numbers. Just colour coded walls in the corridor so you know which is yours. 'I think our guests want to stay not at somewhere five star where you get lost in the crowd but somewhere more personal, especially the communal area where you can talk to other guests.'

The communal area here off the reception area -- a breakfast nook/ reading area/ gallery -- is known as 7th Space and is resolutely red.

To my horror I am shown to the pink room. It feels like I'm sleeping in a girl's bedroom (not that I normally mind that!). Huge photo prints of orchids are sprayed over one wall. Peachy walls, pink curtains account for the rest of the room, and the bathroom -- behind a voyeuristic glass panel -- is a vivid shade of ... gee, would you call that ... puce? No it's redder than puce. I'll need to pull out a paint chart and get back to you on that one.

Jane's personal favourite is the green room: 'A sense of calm, nice sized balcony.' I like that one the best too. And I like the way all the little things like note pads and slippers match the designated colour of the room.

Each one features different Thai/Chinese photo and graphic motifs, designed by English crowd Studio Output. The interiors were done by a young Thai interior designer / architect, with Jane adding her personal stamp: 'Everything you see here I picked out, including beddings.' The linen is 300-thread count, the duvets made of goose down.

Some basic things are missing from the rooms, such as mini fridge and kettle. But higher-order techno items are are all here: DVD player, even an iPod dock, and plenty of plugs for laptops, phone chargers, etc. The hotel also gives you free use of mobile phone with local sim.

Things have come full circle. Jane having paid her dues by working the family's paint business, her mum now helps her out at the hotel. 'She helped with landscaping and she likes gardening, so she's made it more homey.'

At the end of the day, that's the feeling Seven leaves you with. A homey feeling. Where you are a name, not a (room) number. And that's enough to brighten anyone's day.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Stu,

    It sure is.. it makes me want to stay another week when you are staying in a hotel that gives you that homey feeling.. Interesting concept with the colours.. Great reveiw


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