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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mandarin Oriental Review

Having a travel writer as a mother has certainly taught me a thing or two about hotels and what I want. Through accompanying my mother around the world discovering hidden gems to enter in the Tatler Travel Guide (who cares if Naomi Campbell had a meltdown in the lobby) has been educational, inspirational as well as incredibly relaxing (sunbathing and occasionally taking a dip in lush pools is a tough job).

My second post on the Mandarin Oriental takes you through a typical day.

Walking into the lobby you are always greeted by smiling familiar faces. These aren't the have-a-nice-day put on smiles which are so familiar in our neck of the woods. The lobby is an institution in itself, constantly bustling but also wrapped in a sense of calm it's the perfect place for people watching.

The flower arrangements are breathtaking, the hanging curtain of pink flowers, hand strung has been sent straight to my wedding planner.

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. There is a buffet bursting to the brim with delicious treats, cold cuts, fruits and traditional Thai treats or an a la carte option. Both are on the terrace with overlook the busy river full of life, movement and colour.

For more information on the food that the hotel offers see my previous post here.

(A view from breakfast)

After breakfast I make the long and arduous journey to the pool (which is a stones through away). The staff at the pool are so attentive and so wonderful it was hard not to steal them back to London. The tranquil, sleepy poolside atmosphere makes it so easy to relax that getting in the pool ends up feeling like a chore.

(Flip flops from Valentino)

After you've used up an entire bottle of Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil it's time to take the hotels teak boat across the river to the spa. I had without a doubt the best massage I've ever had in my life. My mother opted for a Thai massage however my massage with warm bundles filled with herbs was absolutely incredible (this isa monstrous understatement). The spa resembles an old, traditional Thai house and is serene and lulls you into an instant state of relaxation. 

If you can muster up the energy after a day at the pool and spa, taking a cruise down the river it a wonderful evening activity. The river banks are littered with charming houses, Thai children fishing with string and jumping into the river to cool down and golden temples which dance in the light.

(Dress by Nina Ricci)

After a long day, returning to the worlds most comfortable bed is welcomed with arms wide open. My deep sleeps courtesy of the Mandarin Oriental charge me up for the hectic return home.

When it's time to say goodbye the journey to the airport (as well as the collection) is equally luxurious. Your driver who is dressed in a starched white suit and cap passes you a cool towel on a silver tray, the latest newspaper and a choice of a playlist that would have MTV quaking. Upon arrival to the airport a MO representative accompanies you to check in and doesn't leave your side until it's unfortunately time to go through security. 

One thing I learnt from my mother was the importance of details; this can make or break a hotel experience. The MO has mastered this; every little thing was perfect from having our bags carefully unpacked and repacked to the amazing cake left for me adorned with sugar lipstick cases and the beautiful bouquet of flowers left by housekeeping.

The staff at this hotel treat you like you're family rather than a room number, they will remember your name, remember what floor you're on (and press the correct button in the elevator for you when you approach) and never tell you that something cannot be done.

I couldn't recommend this hotel enough; even my mother who has travelled to every corner of the earth champions this hotel as her favourite spot. We will forever be the MO's greatest supporters and I look forward to taking my daughter there for sleepy days by the pool and riverboat trips to see the glimmering temples.

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