Monday, April 28, 2014

Dining with the Stars

In October 2013, I was privileged to have lunch with legendary Thai entertainer Kamala Sukosol and her equally talented daughter Marisa, who were in Sydney talking to media about their new Bangkok hotel, The Siam. You can read about this delightful encounter in my previous blog, Kao Jai Thailand, linked here.

Fortune brings me back to the Sukosol dining table again, but this time in their hometown of Bangkok at the gracious downtown hotel bearing the family name, The Sukosol. Located in the heart of the business district, between Victory Monument and the shopping hub of Siam Square, this 470-room hotel is a timeless classic popular with politicians and businessmen for its location, 5-star luxury and elegant colonial decor.

The Sukosol Hotel, Bangkok

We've hit the ground running in Bangkok; and before we even get a chance to explore, we're whisked off for drinks with hotel management in the lobby Sapphire Bar. And by 'management', I mean the Sukosol family - matriarch Kamala, daughter Marisa, sons Sukie and Krissada, and Kriss' lovely wife, Melanie. All but one family member - finance guru Daranee - have taken time out on a Sunday night to hang out with a bunch of Aussie travel writers, to welcome us to their home town and to share their passion for their hotel ventures.

The Sukosol Family (pic from their website)

"It's not often we get the whole family together like this," Sukie jokes as we nibble on canapes and sip classic martinis in the speakeasy-style bar. We are then led upstairs to a massive oval table for dinner, joining in the family's casual banter, sharing their in-jokes and listening to them sing. It's like being at a big family Christmas (yes, there are even presents on hand!) with a close-knit clan who have none of the airs and graces you'd expect from high society.

I'm seated next to Kriss, extremely handsome actor, rock star and antique collector. He chats about the fickleness of the film industry (at the tender age of 40, Kriss laments being "past it" for the youth-obsessed Thai culture), about fighting a fellow rock star on stage in New York; and about how he and Melanie met. Meanwhile, Kamala, resplendent in kaftan and beehive hair, holds court on the other side of the table before standing with Marisa to belt out a couple of show tunes, including a stirring rendition of 'New York New York'.

K. Kamala singing for our group

The Sukosol chain of hotels is very much a family business - not only does every family member have a role to play in administration, but each hotel is also a snapshot of their own personal aesthetic. The Siam is reflection of Kriss' wonderful eclectic style, decorated with his incredible collection of Art Deco treasures from Thailand's Golden Age; while the Sukosol Hotel showcases Kamala's collection of priceless Asian antiques, including ancient Chinese treasures worthy of a museum.

Guest rooms in the Sukusol are spacious, tasteful and elegant; our Club Deluxe Suites on the 21st floor are simply enormous, with a massive lounge and dining area, cavernous bathroom with a two-person tub, a cloud-like king-size bed and even a guest toilet - the perfect space for entertaining. Hey, party anyone? 

Deluxe Club Suite

The Club Siam guests also have their own private check-in lounge, daily happy hour with complimentary cocktails and canapes, private breakfast facilities and access to a 24-hour butler. 

Very swish, very luxurious; and this being Bangkok (ie, a very competitive market), it's all available at a ridiculously reasonable price, with rooms starting from 3,500 baht (A$116) and the top notch Club Room Suites at 8,500 baht (A$283)

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