Friday, 26 February 2010
From the airy but understated lobby to the rooms, this hotel exudes class. Quality. Taste. That elusive something that's often compromised in the bean-counter's heavy-handed search for corner-cutting on the budget.
It's the furniture and fittings. What is it? A feeling that you're walking through a furniture showroom or something in this brand spanking new hotel, where some of the floors are not yet fully operational, and some of the facilities (like gym) are being installed as we speak.
It all makes sense later when I find out that the owner is part of a big furniture importing business family who also, I am told, have or used to have the Mercedes Benz dealership in Bangkok. So that's how they can afford to build a 90-suite hotel building right on prime Sukhumvit Road, a short walk from Phrom Phong BTS station.
Starting with S15 a couple of years ago (see my earlier blog on that), S31 is a bold statement. A statement that says LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME! From the street what you see are long red, blue and green metal pipes extending skywards. From the lobby, you see the rest of what is actually a several-stories tall modern art installation: a bird apparently. In the wide corridors, massive sepia-toned Thai photo art.
Follow me to the rooms: 44 of the 90 are duplex suites, with kitchen and living rooms downstairs, bedroom and bathroom upstairs. Very condo-like. All rooms -- in fact the whole hotel -- are characterised by floor to ceiling glass everywhere for maximum airy lightness, or light airiness if you prefer.
These rooms are all about the bed. Bigger than king sized. Eight foot wide. Approximately the size of an aircraft carrier. Jing jing! You could fit several good friends on here at one time. And a peek under the sheet reveals why they're so astoundingly comfortable -- there's a one-inch thick duvet covering the mattress.
The bedrooms are not that big really -- the bed takes up most of it -- but the illusion of space is there. And from the bathtub, you can open the shutter doors to look through the bedroom to the city view beyond. (By extrapolation, anyone in the city beyond can therefore have a nice reciprocal view of you.)
Speaking of nice reciprocal views, the saltwater pool has got to be seen to be believed. It is above ground, outside reception, with clear perspex sides. So everyone can see you underwater. Cool. Creepy!
If you're wondering what the S in the name stands for, I think it means 'Sharp-Suited Service'. The staff are immaculately turned out in dark coloured threads, chosen possibly as much for their looks as their service ability. But the reality is more prosaic than that (look up prosaic like I had to!): S is short for Soi (street). Soi 31 is a really interesting neighbourhood: art galleries, boutique hotels, a wine loft, funky modern noodle places, etc. And adjacent to all the fanciful nightlife in the world you could possibly want in Soi 33. With Emporium shopping centre, etc, at Phrom Phong near Soi 33/35.
But why would you need to go there, when you've got your own showroom right here?