When it first opened as The Oriental in 1876, it was the first hotel built in Thailand. Today the legendary landmark on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok is one of Mandarin Oriental’s flagship hotels. (The other is in Hong Kong.) And now the property is prepping to show off a massive makeover in October, after embarking on a large-scale renovation of its River Wing in early 2019. This follows the renovation of the Authors’ and Garden Wings in 2016— which have remained open this year during the project. The renovation work has also encompassed the lobby, two swimming pools, Lord Jim’s, The Verandah and Riverside Terrace restaurants. (Other dining outlets and banqueting facilities have remained open: the two-Michelin-starred Le Normandie, the Authors’ Lounge, the Bamboo Bar, Ciao Terraza, Sala Rim Naam, Terrace Rim Naam, The China House.)
The focus of the seven-month renovation has been to reduce the number of rooms in the River Wing to make them bigger in size. The guest room tally has dropped from 338 to 301, while the number of suites— some famously named after notable authors who stayed at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok— has increased from 30 to 46. Notably all rooms have river views. Overseeing the project, Jeffrey Wilkes of Design Wilkes chose Thai fabrics and handcrafted furniture to enhance the rooms, while updating the amenities and reconditioning art from the hotel’s collection. Expect a design update of the restaurants, while restoring the original features distinguishing this heritage establishment.