On a promising note of coincidence, Condé Nast Traveler featured a story on Bangkok at the same time I was about to embark on a week-long trip to the famed capital of Thailand. Upon its pre-trip reading recommendation, Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap was selected for the Auckland to Bangkok in-flight reading I was about to embark. There was a good selection of onscreen entertainment aboard Thai Airways Flight 967 which were much more comfortable on my dry eyes so I didn't get far into the book before landing in Bangkok, but the feature story prepared me with a few good itinerary ideas.
After eleven hours of intermittent mid-air film viewing, we were whisked away out of airport gates and into a red Mini Cooper spruced with shake-your-own powder energy formula, bottled still waters, and cashew nuts (and that glorious speedy WiFi). It will take approximately forty minutes to arrive at our destination, said our chauffeur, also commenting that traffic is light these days due to upcoming Songkran Festival when most locals flee Bangkok to celebrate the Thai New Year in their respective hometowns.
It was eight in the evening. The breezy highway with the occasional speedy motorcyclist zooming through and the sparkling lights of the city astounded.
So Sofitel Bangkok looks out to Lumphini Park, Bangkok's answer to New York City's Central Park, and it is a pretty sight. Lush greenery flourishes against a backdrop of skyscrapers in a clean, neat, hard-to-get-over fashion. This scene greets visitors from the floor to ceiling windows of the hotel lobby, but it wasn't until the next morning that I've seen its full glory.
Checking in at a hotel late into the night has its advantages, such as the aforementioned sunrise-lit surprise. The welcome drinks at the Club Lounge was a magical experience in dimmed lights. Swirling my undistinguished plant-based wand around the rim of the glass, the concoction of butterfly pea, lime juice and lemongrass twinkled and changed its hue from soft white to a vibrant rose before settling into a vibrant purple-blue.
The Red Oven is one of the more delightful places to enjoy the full view of the park vs the city's concrete jungle. On most mornings this was where I've spent choosing, over everything else at the breakfast buffet, a scoopful of fried rice matched carefully with grilled vegetables and a healthy serving of tropical fruits to end. On other mornings when I wake up feeling on the other side of being spoilt for choice, the Club Lounge provides a peaceful area for pure satisfaction in the form of the ubiquitous pancake.
Other viewpoints of this mesmerising scene include relaxing by the loungers on the 10th-floor Infinity Pool, indulging in So Spa's clarity-inducing aromatherapy massage, sipping Mojitos under the fading sun at Hi-So Rooftop Bar, or sitting down for a Modern Thai dinner course at the fabulous Park Society. All of this before retreating to the luxury room and immerse in the comfort of your privacy this dedicated patch of Bangkok City.
SO Sofitel Auckland opens in October 2018.