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The Sukhothai Bangkok hotel review

The Sukhothai is the grande dame of Bangkok’s five-star hotels and a true enclave amid the hustle and bustle of the city. The urban oasis experience begins the minute guests turn off busy Sathorn Road and cruise up the verdant frangipani-lined driveway. They immerse themselves in elegant luxury, taking leisurely breakfasts and afternoon floats in the huge pool and enjoying romantic evenings in the Thai and Italian restaurants.

The facts

Traveller: Matt Brace
Room: Sukhothai Club Room
Address: 13/3 South Sathorn Road, Thungmahamek, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Date: December 2023
Best for: Those craving classic, urban, tropical elegance

Lotus pond at Sukhothai Bangkok

The Signature factor

The Sukhothai’s most luxurious offering is undoubtedly its pool, which at 25 metres is the biggest in Bangkok. Other knock-out offerings include the stunning Italian restaurant La Scala and the fabulous gym, which must be the biggest and best equipped in town. Then there is the legendary champagne brunch hosted at The Colonnade restaurant – it is known locally as the pioneer of Sunday brunches in Bangkok.

The concept

The Sukhothai is one of Asia’s classic city hotels: grand, imposing and a clever blend of Western and Oriental architecture and design, reflecting the fact that Bangkok has been, and continues to be, an east-meets-west crossroads. It was co-designed by Australian architect Kerry Hill and American architect Ed Tuttle. The latter was responsible for rejuvenating the Club Wing just a few years ago and shortly before his death. Today the hotel boasts 210 rooms and suites.

First impressions

Guests don’t just arrive at the Sukhothai, they sweep dramatically up a verdant driveway, lined with frangipani plants and lotus ponds. The traffic on Sathon Road is soon a distant memory and all that can be heard is the lapping of fountains and the call of birds. Hotel staff members greet guests, smiling as only the super-friendly Thais can do. I instantly felt part of the Sukhothai family and had that warm, fuzzy feeling that told me: this was going to be fun!

Hotel entry Sukhothai

The room

My room (490) was a 45 square metre Club Room overlooking the pool and gardens. It had polished wood floors, jade-coloured up-lights, a stone Buddha wall carving, a jet black daybed and a contrasting white orchid.

The bathroom was reminiscent of a hall of mirrors offering views of yourself from every possible angle – whether you like it or not. It included twin-sinks, a large bathtub big enough for two and Bottega Veneta amenities.

It was in the Sukhothai Club Wing, which is separate from the main hotel and boasts 33 rooms and suites which range from 45–138sqm. The wing also includes the Club Lounge on the 6th floor (accessible by club guests only). If you need some private outdoor time, go a category up and get a Club Balcony Room.

Sukhothaui Bangkok bedroom

Top suite

Normally the 198 square metre, ninth floor Sukhothai Suite is the hotel’s premier lodging. The bathroom alone is 25 square metres and has teak flooring and a chaise lounge covered with rich Jim Thompson silk. The suite harbours a grand piano, private dining room, study and fully equipped kitchen.

But the Sukhothai Suite is currently hosting the hotel’s spa until it can move into its brand new digs near the pool.

So, for now, the top category is the Deluxe Suite, which (at 76 square metres) is a good deal bigger than the average Bangkok apartment. It has a large, light-filled living area and an equally spacious bedroom and bathroom (with bathtub and dressing areas). One of the suite’s biggest selling points is the great panoramic views it offers over the central courtyard and its serene lotus ponds.

On my plate at Sukhothai Bangkok

The hotel has two signature restaurants: Celadon (Thai) and La Scala (Italian). Both are utterly charming and serve exquisite food. Celadon is in a traditional Thai house, complete with steep, tiled roofs and rust-red gables. While you are dining on fabulous Thai dishes such as Southern-style grouper curry and grilled river prawns with wild water plums, and pomelo salad with milt leaf and water chestnut, you will be entertained by two amazing traditional Thai dancers.

La Scala is also fabulous, especially the beef cheeks and the roasted sea bass.

The Pool Terrace Cafe and Bar is a lovely spot for breakfast and it keeps poolside guests topped up with egg-white omelettes, crispy squid, totally yummy burgers and lotus tea.

There’s also Zuk Bar for Thai-inspired cocktails, Thimian bakery and Colonnade for one of the best breakfasts in Asia, especially if you are fan of Japanese breakfasts, with all the pickles and trimmings.

Sukhothai Bangkok restaurants

Highlights from the mini-bar

Mini-bars are not complimentary but the water is.

I wish I could take home…

I really liked the stone Buddha carving that adorned one wall of my room. I felt it might bring some welcome calm into my life back home. I found it very relaxing and sat next to it in the afternoon to practice some deep breathing. It was so effective my wife found me fast asleep under it on the daybed.

Spa life

The Sukhothai is soon to open a brand new spa complex near the pool. Until this opens, guest are using the Spa Botanica in its temporary location in the Sukhothai Suite on the ninth floor of the Main Wing. This hasn’t depleted the extensive treatment menu. The Flight Reviver is the perfect muscle-easer and facial pick-me-up after a long-haul from Australia, while the Thai Coconut Butter scrub is a great option when you’ve got more time.

Staying in

The pool is the hotel’s centre of gravity, delighting dawn swimmers, afternoon family splashers and romantic couples at sunset. There are few more relaxing things to do in Bangkok than spend a day poolside: swim, sunbathe, order burgers, fries, cold beer and warm lotus tea… and repeat.

Among the hotel’s other delights are the fun and egalitarian functions it stages in the lobby from time to time. Guests can come and share wine and canapes with invited Bangkok dignitaries – from ambassadors to entrepreneurs and charity workers. It’s super fun and a rare chance to mingle with some real local characters.

Sukhothai Bangkok

Stepping out

The hotel is about a 10- or 15-minute walk to Lumphini Park, a welcome green space in the heart of the concrete and steel. Check out the imposing King Rama VI monument or rent a pedal boat for a cruise on the pond. You’re also roughly 1km from the glorious Royal Buddhist temple of Wat Hua Lamphong.

The accolades

The Sukhothai has won numerous awards over the years, including 18 in the past two years alone. Possibly the most prestigious is Small Luxury Hotels’ Mystery Inspector’s Excellence Award for 2023.

Celebrity sightings

For years the Sukhothai has been a favourite with visiting ambassadors and captains of industry. Today they rub shoulders with fashion designers, touring K-Pop bands and Asian influencers posing at the pool.

Insiders’ tips

It’s worth paying extra and getting Club access, so you can luxuriate in the Club Lounge from breakfast right through to the delicious afternoon tea (get there early for the Sukhothai truffles) and cocktails and snacks. The breakfasts up there were the highlight for me, especially the poached eggs with white truffle Hollandaise and smoked herring roe. Wow!

Also, take your workout gear; you don’t want to miss the hotel’s huge gym in the basement of the Club Wing; it also has steam rooms and saunas.

The Sukhothai Bangkok shrine

Pet peeves

This is a classic First World problem and I’m being super-fussy but the cocktails in the Sukhothai Club Lounge could be re-thought. They were not very imaginative and didn’t really pack a punch. The clientele in the club is a well-travelled bunch who know their cocktails. Time for a re-think?

If only…

The only thing I would change in this fabulous hotel is the local Thai wine I had one night in the Thai restaurant Celadon. The food and service were excellent and the traditional dancers were amazing; I really wanted the wine to be as good. How exciting, I thought, to try Thai wine. It was assured it wasn’t off but it smelled and tasted terrible. They really should take it off the menu.

Where to find The Sukhothai

The Sukhothai is a true urban oasis between the skyscrapers. From Suvarabhumi Airport you can get the Bangkok Skytrain (BTS) to Makkasan station, then change to the Phetchaburi MRT (metro) station and head south to Lumphini station. From there it’s a 10- or 15-minute walk down Sathon Road to the hotel. A legitimate fixed-price taxi from the airport costs roughly 400 Baht (A$17 approx). Expect it to take an hour, more at rush hour.

To book visit The Sukhothai Bangkok website here.

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All images © Matt Brace