Waldorf Astoria – grande dame in preparation

IMG_8756Among the many luxury hotels in Bangkok one was missing: Waldorf Astoria. Finally, it is here to delight travelers on a bigger budget. Well, it is here but it is not open yet. Taking a sneak peak the other day at the event space was quite a treat. The 5-star hotel is located next to the famous Erawan hotel and the Anantara – yes, yet another big hotel chain on the road of the luxury hotels. Although the building is at equal walking distance from BTS station Chitlom and Rachadamri in central Bangkok and is mostly residential.IMG_8722The condos start at around 20-30 million Thai baht (up from 1 million USD) and are leasehold – meaning one can only own them for a certain number of years, probably 30 or so. The way from Chitlom is a bit more pleasant as it leads through the air-conditioned Erawan shopping and hotel complex. The entrance to the Magnolias residences in which Astoria Waldorf is housed is still very clean and almost sterile – and deserted. IMG_8718The hotel was supposed to open at the end of January but it has been delayed until August. Reason why became quickly evident upon entering the event space that is separate from the hotel. IMG_8761It is still a construction site. While the walls in the entrance a glad with marble (so it appears at least) there is no carpet in the first conference room.IMG_8726Building materials are everywhere mixed with dust and the heat. Under these conditions the visit progresses quite quickly to the next room. Another room that will be holding large numbers of people for events is as stuffy and unfinished as the previous one. IMG_8733Finally, on the 10th floor is the ballroom. It is finished and a crew was already preparing and setting up for an event. The dark walls and patterned carpet with high ceilings and chandeliers give an impression of another era. It is quite a discrepancy from the ultramodern exterior of the buildings to this classical, traditional styled ballroom. IMG_8763The overall impression in there is a bit dark, subdued, even gloomy, further emphasized by the fact that there is no natural light in the space. However, zooming in on the details, the place is fantastic. The silk wall coverings with delicate patterns complement the patterned soft carpet. IMG_8748The doors are of massive wood and the prep station outside is all carved marble. The glasses and China are of the finest material. It oozes luxury in every object and material. IMG_8743The visit ended walking down a large staircase from the 10th to the ninth floor – not finished – that will become a splendid cocktail area with a good view. It will probably become the most impressive space in the whole building. IMG_8757At the moment it is difficult to get a complete idea of what it is all going to look and feel like when it is finished. So, the best bet is to come again and check it out. Maybe there will also be an opportunity to see the hotel and the rooftop bar. IMG_8739Can’t wait to explore that.

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