Ad Lib Hotel Bangkok - entrance and tuk-tuk

Franco’s Thai-tanic Adventures: Part 1

Bangkok Bed Hopping!

Three unique stays, one unforgettable city

Four years since my last visit to Thailand, I make my ‘triumphant return’ on the back of a bejeweled Red Elephant! After a comfy but long flight on Qatar Airways, I arrived in Bangkok in reasonably good nick for a man of considerable vintage. Cleared immigration relatively quickly, located my suitcase, hailed a taxi and set off into the infamous Bangkok traffic…

Join me on a journey through the ‘City of Angels’, where we’ll stay at three fabulous – but very different – hotels.

By Franco Sessini | Director of Sales – UK & Ireland

Franco Sessini

137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok

My first stop in Bangkok was the stunning 137 Pillars Suites and Residences, the sister property of the famed 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai. While they share the same ownership, they offer different experiences. Although one similarity is the service – discreet but impeccable.

Tucked away down a quiet residential and commercial side street just off the main Sukhumvit Road, the Bangkok property features Suites and Residential units – both of which are available to our guests. I had the chance to stay in both a Residence and a Suite. The Residences are fantastic, with kitchenettes/ kitchens, and terraces or balconies overlooking the city. The Suites, with one or two bedrooms, are opulent without being over the top and worth every penny. Suites also come with a Butler who can mix cocktails in your room from your walk-in mini bar (yes, a walk-in mini bar!), book taxis, handle laundry, and more.

For food and drink, the Trading Post on the ground floor is a stylish hub and the go-to spot for breakfast (for Residence guests), and a popular coffee shop/bar, lunch and dinner hang-out. Suite guests have exclusive access to the Baan Borneo Club on the 26th floor, where you can enjoy an all-day breakfast until 5pm. On the 27th floor, you’ll find Nimitr Restaurant & Rooftop Bar, meaning ‘Special Dream’ in Thai. Whether dining indoors or out, this is Thai cuisine elevated to another level – and possibly the best dinner I’ve had at any hotel in Thailand. For drinks, head to Jack Bain’s Bar on the 28th floor, which feels like stepping into a colonial gentleman’s club, complete with stunning views over Bangkok.

And let’s not forget the two stunning rooftop swimming pools and the pool bar! The 24-hour pool on the 28th floor is for Suite guests only, while the 27th floor pool is open to all guests.

Rembrandt Hotel & Suites Bangkok

Next stop: the iconic Rembrandt Hotel & Suites Bangkok, a favourite of tour operators worldwide for decades due to it’s reasonable rates, city-centre location and excellent service. Located a few steps from Sukhumvit Road, it offers easy access to all of Bangkok via both the skytrain and metro. This grand old dame is currently undergoing a stunning transformation! The old lobby and bar have been replaced with a chic reception area and an inviting bar featuring live music in the evenings.

The hotel is progressing beautifully and will soon boast a full inventory of sparkling rooms and renowned services. I can’t wait to see the finished product, and I know many tour operators are eagerly anticipating it too!

Floor by floor, the rooms and corridors are being modernised. Out with the carpets and flock, and in with clean lines, recessed lighting and wood or granite tiled floors. Remarkably, this renovation is happening without disturbing guests.

The food and beverage outlets are also getting a facelift. The famous Indian restaurant is closed for a few months during the low season for a makeover, eagerly awaited by guests and resident expats alike. Meanwhile, Mexicano continues to serve its delicious fare, so no one goes hungry. And remember, there are thousands of restaurants within walking distance!

Ad Lib Hotel Bangkok

And finally – Ad Lib Hotel Bangkok! Nestled in a quiet street just a 5-minute stroll from Sukhumvit Road (Nana/Ploenchit area for those in the know), this hotel is one of the most stylish, visually appealing and budget-friendly city hotels I’ve ever stayed at. The entrance is spectacular, with tropical plants everywhere, creating that serene ‘oasis in the city’ vibe. The interior is calm and inviting, with natural hues and fabrics on the stylish yet comfortable furnishings. If you can drag yourself away, there’s a complimentary tuk-tuk shuttle to the BTS link on Sukhumvit Road.

The lobby is designed for relaxation, with the reception desk taking centre stage – a lovely bar on one side and the restaurant on the other. The staff are beautifully dressed, looking cool and comfortable, and continually smiling! My first reaction was to exhale and relax—just what I needed after three days of running around Bangkok.

The hotel has been refurbished and expanded over the past few years and now boasts 68 rooms. Although just 26-sqm, the lead-in (Superior) rooms benefit from fabulous and efficient design to give the feeling of being much larger. The Superior Plus are larger and feature an ‘island’ with amenities leading into the bathroom. The Suites are especially grand.

The pool on the 3rd floor looks onto the distant skyscrapers of Sukhumvit Road – very impressive at night! The property doesn’t skimp on F&B either. The pool has a bar, and food can be ordered from your lounger. At lobby level, there’s the main bar with indoor and outdoor seating surrounded by greenery. The restaurant, with its open kitchen, serves breakfast along with a selection of delicious dishes right up until 11pm. The food is top-notch, a blend of Thai and Balinese cuisine, courtesy of the Indonesian Executive Chef and his fantastic team.

Coming soon: Franco takes a wild ride through Khon Kaen – one of Thailand’s lesser known regions.

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