My last hotel stay in Bangkok was at the legendary Shangri-La, Bangkok. This property is locally famous since it’s the second luxury hotel brand to be in Bangkok and to sum up the stay: it was grand to be there.
The Bangkok Shangri-La is the largest hotel property along the Chao Praya river, stretching a quarter of a mile north from Saphan Taksin bridge. It’s a short hop by boat to the city’s historical sites and a two-minute walk to Saphan Taksin BTS skytrain station, from where it’s just a few stops to the downtown shopping area.
The hotel is divided into two distinct parts, the Shangri-La wing with its giant chandeliered lobby and rooms furnished in contemporary Thai style and the Khrung Thep wing which offers a plusher more refined, classic Siam ambiance. The river location adds significantly to the majestic airs.
The room I stayed had a magnificent view of the river and of course, I always appreciate the delicious local Thai fruits and unique Thai sweets provided at my room. The room is stylish, serene setting by combining traditional Thai décor and modern comforts — think Asian silks, teak finishes, flat-screen TVs, executive writing desks and a sophisticated neutral backdrop of tans and beige.
There are wonderful amenities like a 10,000-sqm Fitness Centre (with amazing views of the river and a peek of the pool outside) and the multi-awarded CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La. Guests can join daily aerobics and dance classes at the hotel, or play a game of tennis. Shangri-La Bangkok also has a spa pool, sauna and steam room. Other facilities include a shopping arcade, a clinic and a business center.
I had dinner at one of Shangri-La’s six restaurants, Salathip with a couple of friends. The restaurant has Thai-style teak pavilions while having picturesque views of the Chao Phraya River. Its cuisine focuses on traditional Royal Thai food and it was excellent with the fresh ingredients used for each dish and the flavors were unabashed and true to what a Thai person eats.
We started off dinner with the Yum Som O and Thai tapas. The Yum Som O is a wonderfully refreshing pomelo salad with prawns, roasted coconut and crispy shallot the wonderfully bitter, sweet, spicy and tart flavors really sing on the palate. The Thai tapas platter was a very tasty assortment of bites like crispy fried prawns, skewers of green curried chicken satay, more Yum Som O salad, spring rolls, and fried fish cakes.
If there’s a dish I really adore that evening was the Mieang Pla Tub Tim เมี่ยงปลาทับทิม. A whole fried red tilapia served with kale leaves and Thai toppings and sauce. The chunks of fried fish was crispy yet retained its fluffy texture and the interactive part of topping as much or as little to your liking of the roasted cashews, dices of fresh galangal, red onions, kaffir lime, fried shallots and Thai bird chilies made it fun. There wasn’t a bad bite unless I had a straight chili slice and that’s when my mouth had a raging fire.
We had our own bowl of soup and I had the Tom Kha Gai Mapraw Onn, a chicken and coconut soup (served in a coconut) and a few friends had the Tom Yum Thalay, a hot and sour soup and it’s loaded with prawns, sea bass, mussels and squid. My chicken and coconut soup was medium spicy and it was enriched with the coconut milk. It felt so comforting to eat it.
During the dinner, we have seen two lovely performances – one by a beautiful woman playing the khim (link) and a dance performance based on a folk story on how thunder and lighting is made (video seen above).
We had some vegetables – sautéed morning glory that was incredible since we tasted the “wok hay” and the vegetables were very fresh with just enough chilies and garlic. The bowl of green curry with beef was thrumming with spice and fresh herbaceousness and the beef was incredibly tender. We also had Khai Jiew Pu, Thai omelette with crab meat, mussels and squid that was wonderfully savory.
We were seriously full but we managed to make room for dessert sharing this large sampler platter of Thai desserts. The miniature mango sticky rice is always a beloved dessert. There’s Thai tea ice cream, green tea ice cream, and a few unique ones like tong yord (round egg yolk tart), pandan glutinous rice crepe filled with coconut, and cubes made of sticky tapioca and rice flour topped with coconut.
The dinner was pleasurable and gluttonous since we ate so much but it’s incredibly tasty. The staff was friendly and professional and couldn’t have a better evening.