Bangkok. It’s a never-ending theatre production jam-packed with action; it’s a brilliant assault to the senses; it’s a sea of squaller mixed with the sublime. While Bangkok is wildly entertaining, especially for first-time tourists, a few hours on the streets leaves in desperate need of a tranquil place to recharge the batteries and feel human again. For us, this safe haven was the majestic Shangri-La Hotel. Located smack bang in the middle of central Bangkok, its infamous logo was a golden beacon of light and hope…our perfect escape.
During our welcome tour, we discovered the Shangri-La was certainly more than just a hotel. In fact, it was more like a little utopia…a perfectly civilised and highly plush mini-city. Like many of the world’s great cities, the Shangri-La was split into two, equally beautiful sections: the old world and the new world.
The latter was complete with award-wining restaurants, a state-of-the-art mega gym (offering classes as well as every piece of gym equipment that’s ever been invented), a premium chocolate shop, riverside pools, a breakfast buffet to cater for every craving and exotic food preference imaginable, and a whole lot more!
Ben and I could’ve lived in this blissful environment for our entire stay. One of our Aussie mates had done exactly that; the Shangri-La Hotel (Bangkok) had been his family’s holiday hideout of choice when he was a kid. While it was tempting to follow suit, we thought no trip to Bangkok would be complete without an adventure in the urban Thai jungle. Bring on the culture shock!
After long, hectic days taking on the bottleneck traffic, pungent smells, invasive sounds, curious sites, and mouth-watering meals, walking back through the “golden gates” of the Shangri-La Hotel was simply heaven. As we slumped into the decadent comfort of our kind-sized bed, we could see the city still alight with serious buzz below. It was a spectacular view, especially from our 17th-floor “pedestal”.
While the pure opulence of the Shangri-La Hotel was certainly a magical party of the “stay and play” experience, it was the customer service which made it truly unforgettable. The individual staff and entire hotel seemed to deliver us what we wanted before we even had a chance to think about it. From the international newspaper menu and scented flowers which helped us sleep to the concierge who magically appeared and assisted our parking efforts, everything was seamless.
Impeccable customer service ensured our time in Bangkok was thoroughly enjoyable and memorable for all of the right reasons. We could handle the grit ‘n’ grime, the lost in translation moments, the street food with hair in it and so on because we knew we had an incredible place to go home to.
What’s the lesson learnt? The big, bustling cities are best done in style. It’s good to treat yourself in these intense environments – you won’t regret it. Hopefully, the Shangri-La will have room for us in New Delhi!