Thailand as a holiday destination offers so many varied attractions that a trip to the kingdom can be a study in contrasts. From the beaches to the mountains, and from the many cities in the north and south to the rural experiences of Isaan, a traveler with enough time (is there ever enough time?) could chase every sort of experience: hiking to waterfalls, scuba diving off reefs, relaxing on the beach, or traveling to small jungle villages.
Whatever your holiday plans for Thailand, though, chances are you’ll start and finish in the capital. Indeed, an entire trip lasting for weeks can be spent entirely within Bangkok (some of us stayed even longer). For those traveling for business or for pleasure, accommodations in Bangkok are essential to getting the best travel experience. And while the capital offers plenty of experiences catering to the backpacker set, for the moment we are focusing on the other extreme: Staying in Bangkok at the height of luxury.
Specifically, we’re starting our exploration at the transit hub of Bangkok: the Sukhumvit-Asok intersection. Perhaps the busiest street corner in the entire city and certainly its biggest mass-transit hub, this intersection offers easy access to both of Bangkok’s major train lines, the underground MRT subway and the elevated trains on the BTS Skytrain.
Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit
Asok Road was my first destination when I first traveled to Thailand, as it is for thousands of tourists and travelers every day (and you’ll likely pass by a few as you cross the skywalk from the BTS stop). And it’s a great place to begin exploring Bangkok’s luxury hotel options.
Situated on Asok, just a few steps from the Sukhumvit intersection, is the Pullman Bangkok Grande. Of course, so close to the intersection, it doesn’t make much difference whether the street number is on Asok or Sukhumvit—probably just that you’re slightly closer to the MRT entrance than to the BTS.
What does make a difference is the quality of services and amenities at the Pullman Bangkok Grande, starting with the most essential: the rooms themselves. A spacious room or suite filled with tasteful furnishings looks out over the Bangkok skyline. King sized beds fitted with luxurious bedding, soft sheets, and comfy pillows await visitors who have just arrived in town—or just arrived back from a tour of Bangkok’s nightlife—and offer a night’s sleep so good you won’t believe you’re floating above Bangkok’s busiest street corner. The bathrooms are spotless, elegant, and spacious as well, and feature rain showers for another reminder that you’re vacationing in paradise.
Additional features make the Pullman a great destination for those seeking the wealth and diversity of experiences Bangkok has to offer. Four hotel restaurants and cafes offer distinct cuisines and atmospheres, no matter whether you’re looking for an endless brunch buffet or something casual for a quick bite—and each in their own distinctive style (I love the name of Flourworx, but my favorite for food was probably Tapas y Vino).
The Continent Hotel
If Asok is a showcase of all that is new and modern about Thailand and Bangkok, Sukhumvit retains a mixed character and a link between the present and past. The longest road in Bangkok still features plenty of new shopping centers and malls, as well as world-class fine dining and entertainment. But in between these signposts of the modern, busy world, Bangkok’s main artery still features plenty of vestiges of traditional Thai life. All along Sukhumvit, you can find modern dining and also street food, palatial movie theaters and open-air music bars.
Although it’s within easy reach of the city’s older charms, the Continent Hotel excels at capturing the comforts of Bangkok’s modern side. Bangkok’s self-proclaimed leading “lifestyle hotel” offers a true luxury experience in the heart of the capital, in a five-star hotel that stretches into the sky above the Sukhumvit-Asok junction. Elegant rooms are immaculately appointed and inviting, and feature modern design with subtle touches of Thai culture. Guests looking to heighten the experience (no pun intended) have access to the hotel’s gorgeous “sky rooms,” rooms on top-level floors that overlook some of the most scenic city views in Bangkok.
The Continent also offers some of the best international restaurants in Sukhumvit. The premier restaurant in the hotel offers Asian-Italian fusion. A sophisticated bar and lounge occupies two stories and combines Bangkok’s great sky-bar vistas with a trendy, cool party venue. More casual options and a relaxing experience are available at the lobby bar on the ground level. And The Continent completes the gustatory tour with a fun, refreshing, relaxing poolside bar at their swimming pool on the 37th floor—perfectly combining two of Bangkok’s best features, the rooftop pool and the skybar.
S31 Sukhumvit Hotel
Farther down Sukhumvit lies the S31 Sukhumvit. Well, “farther” is a relative term, as Soi 31 is a short jaunt from the Asok corner and still immediately accessible to both the BTS and the MRT. Nevertheless, the area surrounding S31 just begins to feel different from the busy intersection behind, as the energetic commerce begins to yield to a more elegant feel. The famous Emporium shopping center has recently completed its addition at EM Quartier, accessible across Sukhumit by means of a Skywalk, and further expansions will finish the enormous EM District, perhaps Bangkok’s largest collection of luxury stores and boutiques.
S31 Sukhumvit fits effortlessly into this environment by offering a luxury experience in a sleek, modern finish. The hotel lobby and rooms are refreshingly decorated in a clean, minimalist style. The rooms are comfortable and inviting, and they create the perfect sense of calm when you walk in. The Bangkok skyline is visible yet feels remote somehow, as the earth tones and composition of the rooms make visitors feel far away from the city bustle.
Outside of the guest rooms, S31 continues this relaxing experience with a wealth of other accommodations. Guests have access to a one-of-a-kind elegant skyline dining experience at the hotel’s rooftop bistro, featuring wine and international cuisine . A fitness center is available for those who need to “power up” before the day, whether it’s spent at work or busily exploring the city. And a pool, jacuzzi, and spa are there to recharge, refresh, and relax after—or else to hide away when you just want to be pampered.
You can explore Thailand forever and still have millions places more to explore. Wherever your travels take you, however, this corner at the heart of the national capital offers a wealth of luxurious options to begin.