Bangkok's Luxury State Tower Hotel Offers Sheer Indulgence High Above the City (Slideshow)
August 16, 2016
At Bangkok's Tower Club Hotel, it all starts with popping corks at the world’s tallest open-air Champagne bar
Sometimes I Get High
After arriving at State Tower, I am shown to my corner suite on the 57th floor where a mobile check-in takes place. From my windows, the views of the sprawling city that is Bangkok and the traffic on the Chao Phraya River are awesome. Which should I do first: eat, stroll, or take a nap?
Raising the Bar
That evening, I arrive on the 64th floor and am seated in the Distil bar, a great place to have a drink and a dry refuge during monsoon rains. Mixologist João Franco sends over a cocktail in a box, an homage to the city’s passion for street food. Protruding chopsticks turn out to be straws.
A Rosé Welcome
Soon I am joined by the witty, urbane, and film-star-handsome CEO and founder of lebua, Deepak Ohri, who created the Dome and its culinary array in 2004. “Let’s have some rosy!” he says, and the evening begins with a flute of 2004 Perrier-Jouët Fleur de Champagne rosé.
Perrier-Jouët Toots its Flute
Outside is an open-air complex of activity, topped off by Flûte à Perrier-Jouët, the world’s tallest al fresco Champagne bar. Oh, did I mention I have a lifelong fear of heights and almost skipped the trip? Perhaps a glass or two of PJ brut will calm my nerves.
Stairway to a Hangover
From the bar, a stairway leads down to Sirocco, the hotel’s signature restaurant. If the stairs look familiar, picture Bradley Cooper on them in Hangover Part II, which was partially filmed here. The hotel also has the appropriately named “Hangover Suite.” (Maybe if I just tiptoe down...)
In addition to Sirocco, Lebua has a Breeze restaurant that’s also outside, as well as Mezzaluna (inside) on the 65th floor, with its superb Japanese-influenced French cuisine. Even room service is high-end, featuring an upscale version of typical Thai food.
Many visitors enjoy a stroll outside after dinner and a drink, and the hotel conveniently also offers an al fresco cigar bar. Food and beverage manager Nishant Yadav offers me a Juan López Cuban to puff, one of several brands and food sources that he has signed up exclusively for the Tower.
Home, Suite Home
After dinner and cigars, I go back to my suite — which also has a full living room, kitchen, and a room for en-suite massages — to get some rest and to prepare to eat and drink another day. Yes, that is an active Champagne bottle in the background. Perhaps I do have a bucket list after all.
Breakfast of Champenois
Next morning, it’s a Champagne breakfast on the Chao Phraya. (P-J in my PJ’s?) We reach the boat through a gauntlet of street food vendors near the city’s well-run light rail station. Our vessel is a speedy “long tail boat” popularized in the Bond flick Man with the Golden Gun.
Old City, New City
In many ways, Bangkok is a modern town with dozens of high-rise buildings and traffic jams that would rival LA. But there is still the heritage — and actuality — of ramshackle buildings along the edges of the river and the adjacent canals that speak of an inherited waterside lifestyle.
Buddhist Temple Pilot
Thailand is primarily a Buddhist country, and river guide Prapa Srithaworn knows the details about every shrine and temple — such as the one behind him. He even brings bread to feed fish in front of one temple, where vegetarian monks prohibit them from being caught for food.
Temple of the Sun
Our final destination is the centuries-old Wat Arun — “The Temple of the Sun” — located on the river’s west bank inside Bangkok. Its exterior was originally decorated with seashells and porcelain fragments from China. Currently, its facade is being cleaned and renovated.
Last Bite in Bangkok
Before checking out, I decide I must pay the same respect to this beautiful bowl of fruit as I did the bottle of Champagne that welcomed me to my room when I arrived three days ago. After all, I can’t risk the long drive through traffic to the airport without any provisions.