Monday, 16 May 2011

New Bangkok hotel - Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel

Ok, ok, girls, enough ... I appreciate the hysterical screaming welcome. I had no idea I was this popular in Thailand ... but please, settle down ... no, no, DON'T throw your knickers at me ...

Not your usual blah 
Our limousine (cunningly disguised as a normal taxi) swishes up the endless driveway to the funky entrance portico of the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong, one of the many new hotels in Bangkok. Around 50 or more teenaged Bangkok girl fans have been waiting patiently all day for my arrival. The hotel has even considerately provided chairs for them. Oh, this is too much. I'm so humbled. Gosh, I believe I'm blushing.

I disembark from the taxi, dispensing a grateful smile and a wave and the girls scream even louder ... but ... why are they not looking at me. They're looking behind me ... what the ... who the ... a splendid limousine purrs to a halt behind me and the screams reach a crescendo. A slender Asian man, with dark glasses and carefully coiffed hair emerges. It's some Korean boy band idol from the group JYJ - I don't know, much less care, if he's Junco, Yuchun or Jejung. Bloody young upstart!

"We are the hot celebrity hotel, with all the hip events," says Khun Wanpen, the hotel's representative of the Renaissance's edgy stature. TripAdvisor agrees, listing it in the Top 10 trendy hotels in Asia last year.

Pool (Korean singer not included)
It doesn't look like any other Renaissance I've ever seen or stayed at. The local designers have gone to town with lighting and visual effects to emphasize the contemporary Thai feeling. The swimming pool dazzles in 7 different colours. The ceilings are covered in texture panels with a flower motif. "That's rajaphuek flower, for a little Thai touch," explains Wanpen. In the rooms, the wood is from Tanganyika, Africa. The elevator is lined with crocodile skin. "The owner is very passionate about the details." I'll say.

This new hotel is wonderfully located downtown with broad views over the historical Royal Bangkok Sports Club. Or the odd rock star who needs to hang out for a couple of weeks of rehearsals in between lounging round the indoor pool. He's beaten me to the 150 sq m presidential suite (costing a cool 50,000 baht a night) so I content myself  in a studio suite.

Blame drunk photographer
Never mind all the fancy amenities: Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30 it's free drinks and snacks, jing jing. (I should clarify, that's 6:30-7:30 PM as I know those in Bangkok like to get an early start some days!)

Wanpen tells me the concept of the rooms is "discover", clean lines with everything tucked away in drawers, cupboards and panels. I discover a lot of things -- for instance, that most of Bangkok can see me languishing in the bath. It is one of the most impressive bathrooms I've ever experienced, though, with a feeling of somehow soaking yourself in the Starship Enterprise. A floating sensation ...

Ok, maybe that last claim had something to do with the free drinks. Or the screaming girls.

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