#review: Five-star hotel The Standard raises the bar in Bangkok
By: Zaneta Cheng
February 20, 2023
See Bangkok in a whole new light with a stay at The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon, where five-star luxury mixes with downtown cool. Zaneta Cheng reports from the hotel’s grand-opening festivities
The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon is not a hotel you want to miss. It’s also, truth be told, not a hotel you can actually miss because it’s housed in the King Power Mahanakhon, which is the tallest building in Bangkok at 314 metres.
The skyscraper’s glass exterior is pixelated, courtesy of German architect Ole Scheeren, so the building is basically Polaris for anybody trying to figure out which direction to look for the Thai capital’s business district. Its grand-opening party, with performances by the indomitable burlesque sensation Dita von Teese and international celebrity DJ Diplo to a crowd of a thousand celebrities and influencers from all over Asia, cemented it on every chic Instagram feed and must-visit- in-Bangkok list across the world. Not a bad way for The Standard to go about heralding its first flagship in Asia.
The colourful celebrations befit the vibrant hotel. One of the first among the many five-star hotels that have made themselves at home in the Thai capital, it features rattan chandeliers that greet guests after they alight from their cars outside.
Two stories high, the lobby is decorated in shades of green with a turquoise sofa and a yellow armchair. Consider the décor modernist but rendered in a Gen Z-friendly palette. And it works, because no sooner do I take in the palette and find it different to the zen, marble interiors of other luxury hotel properties I’ve been to in Bangkok, I spot at least three photo-taking duos posing either for the ’gram or for TikTok.
Check-in is quick and swift in a sunny yellow reception area next to The Parlour, where afternoon tea and drinks are served. I arrive feeling poorly from the night before and upon finding this out, every accommodation is made by the staff, including chamomile tea and ginger beer delivered within seconds to my door along with instructions on how to best and most quickly order chicken noodle soup from the room phone as well as the QR code menu from my own phone.
There’s nothing quite like Thai hospitality and even amid the colour and new-world design of the rooms, the best of old-world Thai hospitality is, reassuringly, very much alive.
While the room service menu is a feast of options from waffles and hash to Thai coconut chicken soup and beef massaman curry, cooked up in the hotel’s Grill Café, there’s a culinary smorgasbord residing in the Mahanakhon building that renders room service an afterthought.
Notably, Mott 32, Hong Kong’s well-known Cantonese restaurant, has opened on the second floor while the Mexican rooftop restaurant Ojo (pronounced o-ho) helmed by award-winning chef Francisco Paco Ruano sits on the building’s 76th floor. While the former lets anyone coming in from Hong Kong get a taste of home, it’s the latter that thrills the taste buds and the senses.
After an afternoon banquet of ants and ceviche, guacamole with crab meat and red caviar, esquites, and grilled fish slathered in coriander and chilli adobo, all executed with a twist and flourish, we decide to walk off our churros by heading to the top of the Mahanakhon for a stroll across the building’s glass extension. Never having had vertigo, I put my phone and any heavy objects away so as to have nothing hard to drop on the glass floor and step with bravado onto the pane of glass. Bangkok looms below me and, in defeat, I drop to my knees to crawl out the rest of the way, finding out in one split second I have no real appetite for heights.
After a meal and a thrill, it seems only apt to relax the senses and what better city to do so than the birthplace of Thai massage? With the river to the property’s right, it’s an easy walk or cab or metro ride to Wat Pho, the temple that King Rama I transformed into a university for Thai medicine and massage in order to preserve these elements of the country’s culture. For those looking to wind down closer to home, the hotel boasts a stunning rooftop bar. Simply named The Pool, it offers relaxation in the form of cocktails served from the open rooftop pool bar with a legalised CBD offering, taking advantage of another form of relaxation unique to the country.
Living up to its reputation for masterfully fusing luxury with the scene, The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon has a late-night music space also succinctly dubbed “The Club” and equipped with subwoofers and sound systems alongside LED lights and a purpose-built dancefloor that can rival Bangkok’s best nightclubs. After all, how do you draw in the city’s finest and become a destination where the want-to-be-seens want to be seen if not with an underground room and queues to get in extending around the corner on opening night? Friends of the organisers who needed to brandish no wristband or invitation to be ushered in ahead of those not in the cool-kids club blew air kisses on their way past the velvet rope to head downstairs for live sets from Tokyo’s DJ Alex and Diplo.
After a night of seeing the be-seens in their sequined finest, there’s just one thing left to report. Perhaps the best part of the scene at The Standard is the option to hop in and out of the party and back into the rooms. When the night is over or when one needs to retreat from all the prying eyes, it’s the bit that nobody gets to see – the plate of mango sticky rice that I order to eat in the bathtub facing the city lights – that truly makes The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon an unmissable place to stay.
Photos by The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon