Metropolitan, Bangkok

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 May, 2005, 12:00am

Where is it? In a city that's losing its sleazy image and gaining a reputation of another kind. According to various style arbiters, Bangkok is 'cool' thanks to the hot bars, restaurants and hotels that have opened their chic doors in recent years.

What is it? One of the most excruciatingly fashionable, so-hip-it-hurts boutique hotels to grace the kingdom. It may be a long way from London's Park Lane, where the original Metropolitan reigns supreme, but this sister branch in Bangkok has enhanced the city's reputation for bling.

With its London attitude and oriental roots (the owner is Christina Ong), the Metropolitan Bangkok is a cool, calming haven in one of Asia's most pulsating cities.

What's the style? From the sleek facades to the airy, bright interiors, minimalism is the order of the day.

Subtle oriental accents break up the stylish monotony, but even the staff are slaves to fashion, their uniforms by Y3. The rooms offer little respite from minimalism, though their contemporary, low-slung furnishings and fittings and state-of-the-art amenities make a welcome refuge from the clutter of the city. Soothing hands at the tranquil Shambhala Spa also provide a fine antidote to city stress and are in keeping with the urban retreat concept. Cuisine at the hotel's main restaurant, Cy'an, is Mediterranean influenced, reflecting the body, mind and spirit health theme.

Anything else we should know? London's Metropolitan is best known as a gateway to the stars through its Met Bar and the concept has been exported to the Thai capital. The members-only bar - a rare concept in Bangkok - is a favourite watering hole of long-term Bangkok resident Simon Gilbert, formerly of indie-rock group Suede, and actor Colin Farrell was spotted there recently. Homegrown celebrities, models and gangsters also abound, so it's best not to step on anybody's toes.

The hotel is keen to market itself as a wholesome retreat, despite the delights of the Met Bar, and accommodation at this totem of New Ageism wouldn't be complete without the ultimate accessory: guests will be delighted to know there is a yoga mat in each room.

What's the bottom line? A room at the Metropolitan costs from US$240 a night. Expect to pay US$2,000 a night for the presidential suite. Call 66 2 625 3322 or see