Travel: Amanjaya Pancam, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Jenn Chan

Amanjaya Pancam Phnom Penh Room

 

Phnom Phen was founded in 1434 and was considered amongst the most beautiful cities in the French colonies of Indochina in the 1920's. The Riverside area, which boasts the venerable Amanjaya Pancam Hotel, is a bastion of French restaurants, enchanting rooftop bars and the Cambodian Royal Palace. So thick with attractions and excitement you will almost certainly need at least two days just to explore half of it!

 

The Amanjaya Pancam Hotel has a very New Orleans feel. New Orleans was a French colony itself until it was bought by the USA in 1803 for a cool $15,000,000; the Louisiana Purchase. One would almost expect to see shiny strands of beads being tossed up to the balconies where eager recipients demonstrate their gratitude by... well give it a quick Google and you'll get the gist.

 

Our room was very well appointed. The original wood floors compliment the wood mouldings and the French doors open to reveal a lovely patio overlooking the beautiful Wat Ounalom Monastery and the Decho Meas Decho Yat, a lovely riverside pavilion with statues, vendors and kids playing in a very carnival-like atmosphere. The large soaker tub was an oasis after a long day seeing the sights! The whole bathroom is very spa inspired and relaxing. The beds are very comfortable as are the spacious seating and desk areas.

 


Amanjaya Pancam Phnom Penh Room
Amanjaya Pancam Phnom Penh Room
Amanjaya Pancam Phnom Penh Room
Amanjaya Pancam Phnom Penh Room
Amanjaya Pancam Phnom Penh Room

 

Renowned for their Le Moon rooftop bar the fare in the KWest Restaurant is gaining equal notoriety. We thoroughly enjoyed the complimentary breakfast. Growing weary of large scale buffet breakfasts it was a genuine pleasure to order from a set menu and have the food made fresh. The ingredients used are top notch and the food is fresh and flavourful. I would certainly recommend KWest if you are in Phnom Phen!

 

Breakfast at Amanjaya Pancam

Breakfast at Amanjaya Pancam

Breakfast at Amanjaya Pancam
Khmer Noodles
Iced Khmer Coffee & Pineapple Juice

Iced Khmer Coffee & Pineapple Juice

Central Location

Central Location

View from the Le Moon, Rooftop Bar

View from the Le Moon, Rooftop Bar

View from the Le Moon, Rooftop Bar

 

In all I would rate Amanjaya very high for the location, comfort of the rooms and quality of the restaurants. Phnom Phen is certainly worth a visit! Many French buildings have survived from colonial times, the Khmer monument are architecturally stunning and the Killing Fields will give you pause to reflect on your own good fortune. Tell them Jenn Chan Photography sent you!

 

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Travel: Windsor Plaza Hotel, District 5, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam by Jenn Chan

Windsor Plaza Hotel

 

When a traveller from one of the former colonies, like Canada or Australia, hears "Windsor" in front of a hotel name our natural inclination is to think of the British royal family. Prince Harry would no doubt feel right at home in the plush surroundings at the Windsor Plaza Hotel in Saigon! The experience starts long before you spot the towering hotel and its signature red and green sign dominating the airspace of District 5, Ho Chi Minh City's Chinatown district. The experience starts with the professional, kind communication with the hotel and its staff before you even touch down in beautiful, supernatural Vietnam. Service, check.

 

As our car pulled up under the mammoth stone pillars bellmen in full regalia walked briskly to greet us and handle our luggage. We were whisked into a grand lobby with beautiful custom made Italian furniture and massive crystal chandeliers mixed with stone and wood in a tastefully elegant Euro-Asian style. From there we were guided to the elevators to check in at the equally elegant fourth floor reception area. Greeted warmly and checked in seamlessly we were off to our room on the 21st floor and our home away from home in Saigon!

 

Windsor Plaza Hotel Lobby
Windsor Plaza Hotel Room
Windsor Plaza Hotel Room
Windsor Plaza Hotel bathroom

 

As one of the tallest buildings in District 5 the view expanding across HCMC was the first thing that struck as we entered the well appointed room. The Windsor Plaza rooms are extremely clean with a spa-like bathroom and comfortable seating area and we immediately felt at home. After a quick shower we sprawled out on the pillowy soft bed after our long day of travel and drifted off.

 

Wondering the streets of Chinatown you will find vendors of every kind lining the streets, pagodas and temples and pubs and parks. There would be no need to leave! Regular shuttles to other districts and attractions are free for guests as is a twice daily bus tour of the Chinatown landmarks. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Windsor Plaza Hotel. The service is top notch, the rooms extremely well appointed and the amenities world class. Stay for a day or stay for a month, but if you're in Saigon stay at the Windsor!

 

 

Temple, District 5
Temple, District 5
Street Markets, District 5

Street Markets, District 5

District 5 Parks

District 5 Parks

Church, District 5
Windsor Plaza Hotel Fitness Centre
Rooftop Pool

Rooftop Pool

Views from Rooftop

Views from Rooftop

Rooftop Pool at Night

Rooftop Pool at Night

New Jacuzzis on the Rooftop

New Jacuzzis on the Rooftop

 

There are many options for delicious food without even leaving the hotel! The fourth floor has a lovely restaurant that seats hundreds and was the scene of mass buffets each morning and night, a Chinese restaurant on the fifth floor and a rooftop restaurant/ bar with a jamming karaoke system! You will no doubt find something at the breakfast buffet and I would recommend you include it in your stay; Chinese food, Vietnamese, seafood, Italian and western and many variations of each! The dinner buffet was the best buffet I have ever had! Straight from the tank to grill to the plate: crab, grouper, prawns and seafood of every shape and colour. Worth double the Windsor's very affordable price tag! The rooftop restaurant and bar is an amazing way to see a 360 degree view of Saigon from 26 stories up with very few obstructions. Grab a drink from bar and bask in the sun beside their rooftop pool; I dare you!

 

TOTT Restaurant

TOTT Restaurant

Café Central An Dong
Fresh Seafood at Seafood Dinner Buffet

Fresh Seafood at Seafood Dinner Buffet

Skewers on the Grill

Skewers on the Grill

Straight from the Tank to the Grill

Straight from the Tank to the Grill

Waffle Station

Waffle Station

TOTT Restaurant at Night

TOTT Restaurant at Night

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Mott32 Dining + Champagne Lounge at Trump Vancouver by Jenn Chan

Mott32

 

As you walk into Mott 32 the first thing you will notice is... well there's a lot. Like a lot, a lot. But one thing that will certainly strike you is that each table has unique, custom-made seating and each area has a subtly different theme. The outlying tables, some close to their lovely new patio and some near to the lavish, intimate bar, each have a particular, distinctive style. As you get to the centre of the restaurant you see the space is dominated by Mott 32's signature steel octagon. During the day natural light streams through the octagon ceiling's frosted glass panelling, but at night the soft lighting and dark walls beckon with a sultry, sophisticated ambience.

 

Mott32 at Trump Vancouver
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Mott32 at Trump Vancouver
Mott32 at Trump Vancouver
Mott32 at Trump Vancouver
Mott32 at Trump Vancouver
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Mott32 at Trump Vancouver
Mott32 at Trump Vancouver Washroom
Mott32 at Trump Vancouver
Peking Duck

 

Our culinary adventure started with an amuse bouche; fried tofu with candied ginger in a sweet and sour sauce. My usual gripe with tofu is the slimy squishiness, but Mott fries these until they're crisp. The sauce complimented them perfectly and signalled we were in for a real treat during our first visit! They were followed closely by our chosen appetizers: the Maine Lobster Har Gow and Shredded Peking Duck Spring Roll. The har gow was packed with lobster flavour and dripping with saucy goodness. A solid 8/10 on the deliciousness metre! The spring rolls are a revelation! We watched as whole duck, which must be ordered 24 hours in advance, after whole duck rolled by our table to be cut up table side for our lucky fellow diners. Our spring rolls helped to dry our tears from not having ordered the delicious, succulent duck and the crispness of the roll made the flavour of the duck pop. No soggy, previously frozen spring rolls at Mott! I hate to give perfect 10/10's because chefs need a goal in the distance to strive for so I'll label these a 9.7/10... They're amazing! Top five spring rolls of my life!

 

Mott32 at Trump Vancouver
Amuse Bouche - Fried Tofu
Shredded Peking Duck Spring Roll

Shredded Peking Duck Spring Roll

Maine Lobster Har Gow, Yunnan Ham

Maine Lobster Har Gow, Yunnan Ham

 

Starting to feel the groove we welcomed our entrées: Alaskan King Crab Vermicelli, Australian Wagyu M9 Sirloin and 24 Hour Slow Cooked New Zealand Lamb Shank. The vermicelli boasted more roe in a pasta dish than I have ever seen. Large pieces of crab, fresh, thin noodles and every bite covered in flying fish roe! The roe provides a nice crunch to the dish which compliments the tender pasta and supple crab perfectly; delicious! Wagyu beef, as I have often ranted, makes other beef, AAA, sirloin, New York, whatever, taste like Big Mac mystery meat. The innovative 'log house-style' plating, homemade black bean paste and tasty button mushrooms almost made me forget that the bottom layer of the log house was one of my arch nemeses; the leek. Out of deference for the talented Mott 32 chefs I ventured a bite of onion's ugly cousin, but, sadly, as predicted, I didn't enjoy it. Jenn loved it so I am willing to go with her assessment: "fresh, perfectly cooked and tangy." Now onto the winner of tonight's "what did you enjoy the most" prize; the lamb shank! Jenn and I have recently started slow cooking. Everything! Put a rack of ribs in the slow cooker and add... things... I'm not actually sure what she's putting in there, but I do know you can cut the meat with a cross look or a stern glance. You could eat Mott's lamb shank if you didn't have any teeth, it would be easily gummed down! The 'northern spices', about which I could not get many hints for our very talented server, is very tasty. The hulking, very photogenic, lamb shank is worth a trip to Mott all in its own and I implore you to try it!

 

Alaskan King Crab Vermicelli, Flying Fish Roe

Alaskan King Crab Vermicelli, Flying Fish Roe

Australian Wagyu M9 Sirloin, Grilled Leeks, Homemade Black Bean Paste, Garlic Chips

Australian Wagyu M9 Sirloin, Grilled Leeks, Homemade Black Bean Paste, Garlic Chips

24 hour Slow Cooked New Zealand Lamb Shank, Northern Spices

24 hour Slow Cooked New Zealand Lamb Shank, Northern Spices

 

Almost ready to roll home like the obnoxious, blueberry girl who couldn't leave Willy Wonka's gum alone in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we opted against dessert. Seeing as how we live less than 200 steps away, we counted, we assured ourselves we would be back to partake and we never let ourselves down when gluttony is involved! Got to Mott 32, treat yourself, you'll be glad you did. Mention us at Jenn Chan Media and I'd wager dollars to donuts there will be a surprise in store you you!

 

Champagne Lounge

Champagne Lounge

Champagne Lounge
Champagne Lounge
Infuser

Infuser

Louis XII

Louis XII

The Macallan

The Macallan

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Travel: Grand Mercure Phuket Patong by Jenn Chan

Grand Mercure Phuket Patong Lobby

Grand Mercure Phuket Patong Lobby

 

How do you know which hotel is the best in town? Do you believe Google and its pay-for-play style of marketing? TripAdvisor, similarly, will up your rating for a few shekels.  Do you go by ratings? What if luxury and comfort is different to you than their raters? It's quite likely it is. My advice is to take an aggregate of all of them. Study the pictures on their website, but also check out hashtags on social media for less filtered images. When you put the Grand Mercure Phuket through these paces what you see is near universal adoration, shimmering rooms, posh villas and fantastic amenities. The Grand Mercure is the best hotel in Phuket!

 

When you enter the grand, open air lobby your eyes are immediately drawn to the classic Thai atrium surrounded by water which overlooks the spacious pool. The ceilings are 60 feet high if they're an inch and are covered in rich woods that contrast perfectly with the gorgeous marble floors. The birdcage benches dotted along the perimeter of the great entryway offer a comfortable spot to take it all in. It is impressive.

 

Patong Beach is to Australia and Eastern Europe what Mexico is to Canada and the USA; a hedonistic beach paradise in the sun. The beach stretches for 3.5 KMs and the gorgeous white sand feels like flour between your toes. There are vendors selling locally made goods, parasailers gliding through the air and ice cold beer flows like water. It shows no signs of the devastation it has incurred in recent years. My heart goes out to all my Thai brothers and sisters who lost their lives in 2004 when a mighty tsunami hit the area, gone, but not forgotten!

 

The rooms are well appointed and each faces into the pool which is a sparkling blue. Deep soaker tubs gaze out into the soft beds and the air conditioning is an oasis in an otherwise hot and humid atmosphere. The rooms are very well appointed and the villas, which we toured but didn't get a chance to enjoy, looked to provide some quiet in the bustling metropolis that is Patong. 1 and 2 bedroom cottages nestled amongst thick palm trees with their own private pools. Yes, please!

 

Grand Mercure Phuket Patong Room
Grand Mercure Phuket Patong Room
Grand Mercure Phuket Patong Bathroom
Fruit Basket and treats in the Room

Fruit Basket and treats in the Room

 

The breakfast buffets were immense and certainly had a dish anyone and everyone could enjoy. The Bubbles Restaurant is staffed by very competent professional from the front to the back. We partook in a lovely brunch and dinner there and were very well taken care of. Our brunch started out with the Long Phuket Island which is Bubbles Restaurant's take on the (in)famous Long Island Ice Tea: gin, run, Vodka, tequila, Triple Sec, lime and coke. It was our introduction to the Grand Mercure's mixology program and it was a good one! How and why the original recipe added every liquor in the cabinet to this drink I'll never know and I don't really care; it's good! Jennifer indulged in the Grand Piña Colada in a Young Coconut: rum, Malibu, pineapple juice and coconut milk. She called it "the fire extinguisher for the Mee Hoo Gaeng Poo", a spicy crab and yellow curry dish, sublime, that will make your nose run like a faucet and I mean that in the most positive way! But we'll get into that more a bit later. Rounding out our pre meal cocktail session was the Patong Libre, their take, of course, on the Cuba Libre which consists of rum, coke, vanilla syrup and cranberry juice. Delicious!

 

Fresh Omelette  & Noodle Station at Breakfast

Fresh Omelette  & Noodle Station at Breakfast

Bubbles Restaurant

Bubbles Restaurant

Bubbles Restaurant
Pina Colada & Long Phuket Island

Pina Colada & Long Phuket Island

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Mee Hoon Gaeng Poo

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Mee Hoon Gaeng Poo

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Mee Hoon Gaeng Poo

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Mee Hoon Gaeng Poo

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine
Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Snapper

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Snapper

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Banana Blossom

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Banana Blossom

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Pork Belly

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Pork Belly

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Deep Fried Prawns

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Deep Fried Prawns

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Ice Cream with Banana Jelly, Grass Jelly & Red Beans

Jewel of Phuket's Cuisine - Ice Cream with Banana Jelly, Grass Jelly & Red Beans

 

It is hard to go wrong when ice cream is involved and Bubbles stayed fast to that tried and true rule. In all a very pleasurable experience. The dinner buffet, a once per week extravaganza dubbed Phuket Night, was incredible. Seafood, Thai food, meats, cheeses, veggies, fruits, pasta, etc... so much of everything I deigned to not describe anything because I would leave something out. If you are in Phuket, and your budget doesn't necessitate a shared room with a dozen grubby strangers, I could not recommend the Grand Mercure higher. We stayed at another location afterwards, which will go unnamed, and to say it was 1/10 the hotel GM is would be an understatement. Tell them we sent you and get at least a high five, possibly an upgrade lol!

 

Phuket's Night Market at Bubbles Restaurant

Phuket's Night Market at Bubbles Restaurant

Phuket's Night Market at Bubbles Restaurant
Phuket's Night Market at Bubbles Restaurant
Phuket's Night Market at Bubbles Restaurant - Noodle Station
Grill Station
Phuket's Night Market at Bubbles Restaurant
Mango and Sticky Rice
Phuket's Night Market at Bubbles Restaurant Dessert
Grand Mercure Phuket Patong at Sunset

Grand Mercure Phuket Patong at Sunset

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Travel: Mövenpick Resorts Bangtao Beach, Phuket, Thailand by Jenn Chan

Mövenpick Resorts Bangtao Beach, Phuket

 

Mövenpick is named for the German word for seagull, Möwe, the w pronounced like a v, and the skillful way it 'picks' its food out of mid air. Originally a restaurant specializing in upscale food quickly and at reasonable prices when Mövenpick expanded into the hotel world they brought those same philosophies with them. The Mövenpick property at Bangtao Beach is special. A collection of luxurious villas and rooms surrounding a beautiful Infiniti pool with views stretching out over the gorgeous Andaman Sea.

 

Welcome Thai Flower Bracelet

Welcome Thai Flower Bracelet

Mövenpick Resorts Bangtao Beach, Phuket

As we entered our 2 bedroom villa, with its private pool and gourmet kitchen, we are struck by the blue glimmer of the sea as we look out over the pool. The living room is spacious and modern and flows well with the adjoining kitchen and dining area. The master bedroom has a very serene feeling looking out over lush vegetation and our private patio dining table. The ensuite is very spa-like and our hosts had a bath drawn for us with fragrant, local flowers swimming in it!

Living Room
Dining Room & Kitchen

Dining Room & Kitchen

Welcome Fruit Basket & Towel Art

Welcome Fruit Basket & Towel Art

Second Bedroom
Second Bedroom
Master Bedroom
Master Bedroom
Ensuite with Bathtub

Ensuite with Bathtub

The grounds are lovely, quiet and very private. The pool forms the central mustering point and smiling guests flock to cool down and relax in the poolside cabanas. Families mix with couples on a romantic retreat and singles posted up at the swim up bar. Bangtao is the part of Phuket where relaxation isn't only encouraged it's unavoidable.

Walk through the Resort Grounds

Walk through the Resort Grounds

Mövenpick Resorts Bangtao Beach, Phuket
Mövenpick Resorts Bangtao Beach, Phuket

 

Travelling as much as I do I have become adept at spotting the differences between good resorts and great ones. Some properties have luxurious accommodations, but their staff lack training or grace. Some places you stay are dirty or outdated, but the food is good and the staff friendly. Mövenpick Bangtao has beautiful rooms, excellent, long tenured staff, and their food is fresh and the ingredients are high quality; the trifecta! From the breakfast buffet where there will no doubt be options to please everyone to the incredible Palm Restaurant Mövenpic's gastronomy roots are evident.

 

The Palm Cuisine Restaurant at Mövenpick takes great pride in their Thai food! We were in for a treat when we made reservations and left the menu up to the Chef. It started with Meang kham, an ages old Thai tradition. Wild betel leaves wrap a mixture of peanut, lime, dried shrimp, ginger, shallots and Thai chillis all covered in a shrimp-based, sweet and salty sauce. The heat from the chilies melds with the sweet and salty sauce and offer a stark contrast to the lime and ginger. Very delicious!

 

PALM Cuisine Restaurant

PALM Cuisine Restaurant

PALM Restaurant
Amuse Bouche - Meang Kam

Amuse Bouche - Meang Kam

Prawn cakes arrived next smelling like a slice of heaven deep fried! Crispy brown on the outside and packed with prawn goodness inside. It comes with a lovely plum sauce with just the right sweetness to compliment the delicious cakes. This appetizer is a very solid 8.5/10!

 

Shrimp Cakes

Shrimp Cakes

 


Poe Tack is a seafood hot and sour soup loaded with seafood. Loaded. Alongside it came the Pla Sam Rod, a Snapper fillet in sweet and sour sauce. I have had some bad experiences with hot and sour soup. Some too hot and some too sour. Some tasted like sweat. Yes, sweat. The Palm's offering hits a good balance and it is full of plump and delicious seafood; fish, mussels and gigantic prawns that look like they could sink a ship. The Snapper tastes like it was pulled from the waters that lie some 200 feet away and recently. Fresh, tender and delicious.

Tom Yum Soup with Seafood

Tom Yum Soup with Seafood

Snapper Filet

Snapper Filet

 


Khao Neaw Ma Muang is a mango, sticky rice, coconut milk and sesame seed concoction. Jenn devoured hers and found the mango to be "soft and yummy". She then devoured mine as I slept, jet lagged, on the crook of my arm at the table. Not my finest moment. In all we both loved at our experience at the Palm and recommend it without hesitation!

 

Dessert: Mango & Sticky Rice

Dessert: Mango & Sticky Rice

If you're travelling to Phuket treat yourself to a few nights away from the craziness that is Patong Beach, the tourist trap of the island, and unwind in Bangtao. One of the longest beaches on the island and strikes a good balance between resort living and local flair. Mövenpick is an excellent choice to take it all in and you will see why they win countless awards for their hospitality and are rated in the top 10% of luxury, 5-star resorts worldwide!

Mövenpick Resorts Bangtao Beach, Phuket
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Mövenpick Resorts Bangtao Beach, Phuket
 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Travel: 137 Pillars Suites & Residences, Bangkok, Thailand by Jenn Chan

137 Pillars Bangkok Lobby

137 Pillars Bangkok Lobby

Luxury. What does the word mean to you? To me it's an amalgamation of images from old time movies, chic resorts and modern day reality real estate TV shows. The rich woods of old meet the sleek stone, floor to ceiling glass and modern accoutrements of the new millennium. 137 Pillars Suites and Residences Bangkok is luxury. Period.

My name is Scott Michael Allan. The Scott Michael, I'm told, was meant to meld together à la Billy Bob in a two name, first name soup. In trouble as a young man my mom would string them together menacingly, but outside of that it's usually Scotty. I'm named for my paternal grandfather William John Allan. I understand that's confusing. An early settler of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada his Scottish brogue took some acclimating and hence "Scottie" was his handle and it evens adorns his grave stone in like quotations. Bjorn Richard Richardson, if 8 year-old schoolyard bullies were the same in his day and country of origin, might have taken similar taunting as a young man. Now the General Manager of highly regarded 137 Pillars Bangkok if those bullies could see him now! Bjorn is a lovely man; kind, enthusiastic, humble and accommodating. I have no doubt he will nurture the young hotel into a dominant force in the Bangkok luxury boutique hotel market. The property is amazing!

Pulling up to the front doors in our taxi we are inundated by smiling faces in full doorman regalia. You enter the lobby and you can see where the money has gone. Seemingly 100 foot high ceilings, giant slabs of wood adorn the wall behind reception, a 30 foot high Thai tapestry begs attention peering from behind velvet ropes and smart furnishings form cozy conversation nooks along the floor to ceiling windows. First impression, check!

137 Pillars Bangkok lobby
Leonowens Club

Leonowens Club

Welcome drinks at Leonowens

Welcome drinks at Leonowens

We are whisked to the intimate Leonowens Club for a welcome drink and friendly conversation before being taken to our room. I played it cool when our host opened the door, but this suite would suit royalty! A beautiful living room with all the technological advances I, as a Canadian from a world class city, have come to rely on. The couch, chairs and dinette are very comfortable and the art, some a little risqué, really ties the theme of the room together. The bedroom is dominated by a large, extremely cushy bed that feels like sleeping on a fluffy cloud. It's adjacent to the futuristic washroom where the toilet greets you by lifting its own lid and spouting a stream of water to clean itself. 137 Pillars had the bathtubs custom made and they resemble a giant soup bowl big enough to comfortably fit three. The bathroom is a perfect 10/10!

Thonburi Suite

Thonburi Suite

Thonburi Suite
Thonburi Suite Welcome
Dinette
Thonburi Suite

Thonburi Suite

Master Bedroom
Ensuite

Ensuite

 

On the roof lies the favourite pool I have ever swam in, in my life. An Infiniti pool that looks like it blends right into the cityscape behind it. A perfect temperature and the views. Oh the views! You could spend an hour looking off each side and still see something new the next time you gazed in that direction. This pool alone is worth the price of admission, it is simply breathtaking! The 27th floor pool boasts similar views and its huge, marble pillars give it a Romanesque atmosphere. The large jacuzzi beside it is warm and inviting and guests could be seen with smiles permanently plastered. Across from the pool you will find the soulful Jack Bains bar and Nimitr restaurant. The dark woods paneling and matching dark leather chairs wouldn't look out of place on the set of Mad Men and this scotch and cigar bar is a luxurious space to retreat to after your meal at Nimitr.

 

Rooftop Infinity Pool

Rooftop Infinity Pool

Rooftop Infinity Pool at Blue Hour

Rooftop Infinity Pool at Blue Hour

Breathtaking Views from the Roof

Breathtaking Views from the Roof

Pool
Jack Bain's Bar and Cigar Divan

Jack Bain's Bar and Cigar Divan

Jack Bain's Bar and Cigar Divan

Nimitr means 'special dream' in the Thai language and what a dream it is! A lavish yet intimate space with mile high ceilings and intricately placed tile contrasting with wrought iron embellishments warmed by bright patterned chairs and the soft blue lit bar and wine fridge. Our gracious server Kwang surprised us with a lovely amuse bouche; a tender fish ball with Nimitr's special Thai sauce. I generally tend to pass on fish balls. I find them sometimes rubbery and oftentimes odious, but Nimitr's offering is subtle and the Thai sauce is heavenly!

Nimitr Restaurant

Nimitr Restaurant

Amuse Bouche

On Kwang's recommendation we partook in a bottle of Sycamore Lane White Zinfandel from California and found it very nice. Strong notes of strawberry and a light cream finish and it paired very well with our first course. We ordered the Som Tum Thai, a papaya salad in rice paper with green beans, heirloom tomato and lime caviar, and Plah Goong whose presentation delighted Jenn immensely! The Som Tum Thai is a vegetarian spring roll which bursts with peanut flavour, and I love peanuts, from the 'peanut soil' which surrounds it and the tang of the lime caviar gives it a complexity that most will find very appealing. The Plah Goong comes out looking like a high school science project, but in a good way. The head and claws of the North Atlantic Langoustine remain intact, but the body looks dissected under 'glass' that is the delicious veil of lemon grass aspic. Savoury pieces of Langoustine meat and Matcha soba noodle comprise the innards and the smile didn't leave Jenn's face as she carved into the poor crustacean. A vinegar tinge coupled with a cucumber splash and they both played very well off the lemon caviar, a delight!

Rose
Som Tum Thai - Papaya Salad, Rice Paper, Green Beans, Heirloom Tomatoes, Peanut Soil, Shrimp Feather & Lime Caviar

Som Tum Thai - Papaya Salad, Rice Paper, Green Beans, Heirloom Tomatoes, Peanut Soil, Shrimp Feather & Lime Caviar

Plah Goong - North Atlantic Langoustine, Matcha Soba Noodles, Veil of Lemon Grass Aspic & Nam Prick Fluid Gel

Plah Goong - North Atlantic Langoustine, Matcha Soba Noodles, Veil of Lemon Grass Aspic & Nam Prick Fluid Gel

Plah Goong - North Atlantic Langoustine, Matcha Soba Noodles, Veil of Lemon Grass Aspic & Nam Prick Fluid Gel

We also ordered the Ox Tail Soup to satiate Jenn's abominable soup lust. The clear beef broth gets infused with Five Spice and my first slurp warmed me and made me want gallons to bathe in later in my room. Jenn loved it even more. I was careful to keep my hands and feet clear of her mouth as her hands became a blur as spoon sped from dish to mouth. It preceded our main courses by mere moments, masterful timing from a talented chef! The Gai Yang and Massaman Curry are delicious. The former a beautiful chicken dish stuffed with luscious foie gras and the latter a lamb shank braised for 4 long hours in an incredible spicy coconut curry. The chicken, definitely free range, was tender and fresh and spiced delightfully and the lamb shank, again blurred by Jenn's fast moving hands, was equally as delicious! Stuffed to the gills we skipped dessert, but we would wager our last dollar that it's amazing!

Oxtail Soup

Oxtail Soup

Braised Lamb Shank

Braised Lamb Shank

Scorched Baby Chicken

Scorched Baby Chicken


The 137 Pillars Suites and Residences Bangkok is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in. The service is incredible, the property is absolutely world class and the location is as perfect to walk to the Louis Vuitton store as it is to traditional Thai massage parlours or the local 7-11. The central location is a boon to an already palatial property! I would recommend the hotel without a moments hesitation and you will be glad you followed my recommendation!

137 Pillars Suites & Residences, Bangkok, Thailand
 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan