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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!