Hey, big splendour: Hotel Muse Bangkok
Hotel Muse exudes the opulent feel of the decadent 1920s, writes Kit Gillet
In the heart of bustling Bangkok, among the towering skyscrapers and modern five-star hotels, Hotel Muse has an old-world feel.
Guests are greeted with refreshing fruit juices in the foyer of the 25-storey hotel as they wait to check in. Uniformed bellboys take luggage up to the rooms, along corridors decked out in rich velvet and decorated with images and memorabilia from 1920s Bangkok.
The rooms are furnished with ornate mahogany cabinets, daybeds and cast-iron bathtubs. High above, the rooftop Speakeasy bar and accompanying cigar lounge offer views of the city. It is all very decadent, but then, that's the idea.
"Muse is all about the 1920s era, a time just after the Thai king, Rama V," says Nick Peth, the hotel's general manager, over a glass of wine at the Medici Kitchen & Bar. "It was the era of the transatlantic crossings, early plane travel, big Louis Vuitton suitcases and decadent style."
Around us, well-dressed guests tuck into foie gras ravioli and wild boar bolognaise from the open kitchen while Thai singers serenade the crowd with arias of Italian operas.
More than one billion baht (HK$251 million) was spent on renovating the hotel's building - timbered ceilings, polished oak floors, swirling wrought-iron interior decorations. It is beautifully done, but feels overbearing in its opulence.
The complimentary breakfasts are lavish, with fresh fruit juices that range from guava to passion fruit, Thai and Western offerings, and even a specialist egg chef.
The open-air swimming pool on the 19th floor offers skyline views, and the gym is well equipped. High-end tours of the sights of Bangkok and day trips can be arranged.
About 20 minutes away in a taxi, the Grand Palace - the official residence of the kings since 1782 - offers visitors a chance to see what real and unfettered opulence looks like.
The location is a little far from the old town and the main sights of the city, and the traffic problems can be a major issue. Likewise, it proves difficult to find nearby places to eat dinner in a predominantly business district, and there are few communal places in the hotel for relaxing, aside from the highly priced restaurants and bars.
But these places are lively in the evenings. In the Prohibition-era rooftop Speakeasy bar, young Thais and foreign visitors joke while drinking vodka-infused cocktails.
If you are on a budget, give Hotel Muse a miss. But if you crave a touch of bygone splendour, welcome to 1920s Bangkok.
Hotel Muse Bangkok
55/ 555 Langsuan Road
Located in the heart of downtown Bangkok, Hotel Muse is a short walk from Chit Lom BTS station and about a 40-minute taxi ride from the airport.
A Jatu Deluxe room costs from HK$1,180/night, including breakfast and tax, with prices rising to HK$6,250 for a Paranim Penthouse suite.