Despite its high-rise size, Hotel Muse in Bangkok feels refreshingly intimate, thanks to its seductive Euro-inspired decor and lofty layout. The ambience is playful yet elegant and its sensual city-view bedrooms are offset by super-styled interiors, including some of the most hedonistic wining and dining spots in town.
Smart Gallic-Thai styling
Distinctive wining and dining, including cool rooftop bars
Peaceful location, yet close to the city’s megamalls
An exclusive Muse platter at rooftop bar the Speakeasy, ideal to enjoy at sunset on arrival day
In the know
Also need to know:
Make time for vertiginous thrills at the Speakeasy, Muse's lofty rooftop lounge bars with killer Bangkok views.In-house music compilations by Julien Barthe (aka Plaisir de France) set the tone at Muse with mood-enhancing blends of jazz, lounge, funk and electronica. If your ears are enamoured, buy the collection on CD when you leave.
Arrive with a modest amount of baggage so you can top up your suitcases with goodies from the city’s finest markets and malls. Bangkok bakes from April to October, so stock your valises with cool cotton threads.
Cool cocktail clothing you can dress up or down.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
Minutes after landing in Bangkok the cloying humidity washes over me. Fortunately Thais have an uncanny ability to detect TEP (Tourists’ Excessive Perspiration) and my pre-booked taxi driver greets me with a cold wet-wipe and cranks up the AC to the point where I don’t feel quite so ridiculous wearing winter boots designed for a different hemisphere.
Rocking up in the Financial District, there’s not a single financier in sight. Instead I spy Hotel Muse, standing out among neighbouring high-rises because it’s draped in an intriguing warm light. I’m ushered through the inviting lobby, seated in a leather chair and promptly served an assortment of candy-coloured drinks. ‘Are they all for me?’ I exclaim. The concierge laughs sweetly and tells me that they are, as I notice how immaculately manicured she is and make a mental note to do something about my nails. Sipping on fragrant lychee juice and drinking in the luxurious furnishings, I feel like I’ve accidentally stepped on to the set of The Great Gatsby. I’m half expecting Leonardo DiCaprio to appear at any moment. It’s as if I’ve been transported to the Golden Age of decadence when guests can drink champagne to save water (a playful hotel promotion) and indulge in lavish feasts at one of the many dining venues within this old-worldly wonderland. With check-in complete, I glide up in the elevator to the 16th floor to explore my room – perhaps Leonardo is waiting for me there?
Much to Mr Smith’s relief – who is thousands of miles away – no Hollywood heartthrobs are to be found in my Dowadueng Corner Deluxe room, but fortunately the essentials for pure self-indulgence are. The sleek black marble bathroom captures my attention and I audibly gasp at the size of the gleaming claw-foot bath, although resist the temptation to hop straight in. I open a mahogany cabinet which to my surprise reveals the minibar, complete with proud little bottles of Belvedere vodka, Chivas Regal Scotch whisky and Beefeater gin. I swear I hear a voice saying, ‘Drink me!’
Suitably rebellious, given it’s well past midnight at home, I sashay out to the elevator and press the button marked ‘Speakeasy Rooftop Bar’. Getting in at night after a long-haul flight I should feel sleepy, but it just wouldn’t be right when I know things are only just kicking into gear on level 25. There’s a well-groomed medley of pretty young things in glittery dresses, international travellers who look like they might dabble in oil and businessmen with stiff drinks enjoying the magical view. The city skyline is alive with a carnival-like energy blending splashes of neon blue, embers of fiery orange and a bright purple haze that seduce the eye and beckon pleasure-seekers out to play. A towering billboard in the distance, emblazoned with the word Ideopolis, adds to the futuristic urban vibe.
My gin-spiked cocktail arrives along with a complimentary serving of edamame. I’m peckish so I order some tightly rolled tuna maki but am a dash disappointed that my first meal in Thailand is Japanese. It hits the spot though and as I feel myself slipping into a food coma, I retreat downstairs to my king-size bed and slowly sink into soft pillowy bliss.
Waking up I quickly pull back the crushed velvet drapes of my corner window to observe daily life below. There’s an incongruous mix of smooth corporate suits, shiny new Toyotas, buzzing tuk-tuks and ladies spruiking grilled meats. Imagining the wafting aroma of sweet, sticky pork skewers makes my tummy growl, so I venture to Su Tha Ros, the hotel’s Thai restaurant, where an international buffet breakfast awaits. I have always had issues with Western-style breakfasts in Asia; give me Vietnamese soup over bland Weetabix any day. So imagine my delight when slippery pad-see yew, fluffy fried rice and delicate chicken congee are some of the treats available to devour. I pile up my plate and greedily order two fried eggs from the cook-to-order chefs. I’m on holiday, after all, and besides I’ve booked a morning bike tour of Bangkok, so it may well be my last meal…
Whizzing around Bangkok’s backstreets on a bicycle isn’t for the faint of heart, especially on a day so hot even the locals are fanning themselves. Yet it’s a wonderful way to explore the city and I’m happy to be pedalling around gritty laneways knowing that I’m returning to an opulent oasis complete with ice-cold cocktails. Back at the Muse I slip into my bikini and recline in a shaded deckchair by the sparkling pool. A heavenly waiter from the Wet Bar produces a ginger and kaffir lime concoction along with the hotel’s signature club sandwich. For a moment I wonder if the sandwich is a bit dry, but then I take a sip of my summer-in-a-glass drink, plunge into the crystal-blue water and remember that just a day ago I was at home stoking my fireplace.
My date for the night is a Sydney friend who now resides in Bangkok, and we’ve planned to meet at Medici, Muse’s flagship restaurant which promises authentic Italian cuisine in a seductive space. Admittedly, I’m sceptical, but Ms Smith assures me that the Italian food in Bangkok is excellent. We descend a spiral staircase and immediately drool over the whole leg of cured pork that sits theatrically at the chef’s pass ready to be carved to order. We do as any good Roman would and promptly order a vast amount of antipasti, primo, secondi and dolce! Handmade ravioli stuffed with braised wild boar follows slivers of mouth-melting shaved prosciutto. Our meal is punctuated by short bursts of dramatic live opera that makes us simultaneously cringe and laugh, but results in an entertaining evening that I’m certain could not be experienced anywhere else in Asia. After a few mouthfuls of oozy chocolate pudding, it’s time for a nightcap and we head up to the rooftop bar, the jewel in the hotel’s crown.
Looking out over the dazzling lights with a French martini in hand and a belly full of Italian delights, you really could be anywhere in the world. A welcome change to the Asian boutique hotel scene, Muse embraces hedonism in a playful, tasteful way and has left me feeling inspired, albeit still rather sweaty.
55/555 Langsuan Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand 10330
1.6 mi / 2.6 km from city centre
- Valet parking
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- On-Site parking
- Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
- Room service
- Onsite laundry
Muse's sexy gourmet mix stars basement-belle Medici, a modern-rustic Italian eatery with seductive furnishings set against exposed brick walls, wooden casks and arty industrial ironwork. Abbruzzese chef Nicolino Lalla brings a little of his homeland to the menu, championing its famed lamb ragu, Ventricino salami and spaghetti alla chitarra as DJs and opera singers entertain. The truffle-studded and pasta-proffering menu may be staunchly Italian, but dishes such as Japanese scallops with saffron cream add a little local flair. Babette's, the Steakhouse Bangkok has glittering views from the 19th floor and jazz-era swagger, with art deco interiors, soft leather armchairs and live blues musicians. Wagyu, and grain-fed, Jack's Creek Black Angus steaks are excellent, but the menu's Canadian lobster, French oysters and Norwegian salmon should take a bow too. The American classic cocktails are eminently drinkable too. Lobbyside French bistro Le Salon serves up café fare, including salads, sandwiches and afternoon tea.
Grab one of the window tables at Babette's, the Steakhouse Bangkok for supreme city vistas. In Medici make a beeline for the lounge tables furthest from the bar – they’re quieter, cosier and better positioned to hear the opera singers’ dulcet tones.
Sup in Le Salon until 9.30pm, with last orders at 11.30pm at Babette's and Medici (although the latter stays open until 1.30am as a bar). The Speakeasy's bars are open from 6pm until 12.30am, getting busiest around 8pm on weekends.
An extensive à la carte menu promises Italian, Thai, French and American dishes for gorging en privé 24/7.
The Speakeasy, Muse's social epicentre on the 24th and 25th floors, has become the talk of the town. Prohibition-era styling and eclectic beats set a glamourous scene for sultry soirees spent sipping, nibbling and mingling in its two open-air bars. The west-facing Long Bar clings to the side of the hotel and is great for sinking sundowners, but the rooftop Lawn Bar boasts the best city views. Vintage cocktails, such as Aviators or Negronis, are the order of the night, or get the barman to whip you up a Rotavapour, a signature tipple of house-made vodka infusions. Downstairs, Le Salon’s all-day bistro serves up the sort of crisp, classic martinis beloved of James Bond.