More than just a place to sleep, Hotel Indigo Bangkok immerses you into the unique culture, character, and geography of its historic neighborhood.by Percy Roxas
Finding Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road (www.hotelindigo.com/bangkok) is like going on a fun trip down memory lane. Following the brand’s concept of delivering a refreshing guest experience that is truly reflective of the local community, this new five-star boutique property, the first Hotel Indigo property in Southeast Asia, “reconnects” guests to Thanon Witthayu and its historic past.
Witthayu (as Thais fondly call Wireless Road) is that pretty tree-lined road in the heart of Bangkok, which is home to several foreign embassies and consular quarters. It is now also one of the most cosmopolitan districts in Bangkok, with almost everything associated with the modern lifestyle proliferating around the neighborhood. But what was this street like in the old days before all the modernization happened, and why is this relevant to us modern travelers?
Visitors today have a growing desire to be more in-touch with the localities they visit. At the same time, they are becoming increasingly more individualistic. They look for places where they can take off their masks, so to speak; where they can just be themselves. For anyone fitting this description, Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road is a perfect fit.
Hotel Indigo Bangkok is indeed a perfect introduction to the Wireless locality. A window to its past, if you will. This is evident even before you set foot in the lobby where you see several signposts of Witthayu’s past. There is the metal sculpture resembling sound waves, and another resembling sonic frequency, giving us a clue as to where the street got its name.
Historic references continue inside, but with fun elements that have been deliberately added. The overall design tone is modern but enriched with details that reflect the unique character and history of Witthayu: a colorful rickshaw, recycled light-bulbs, teakwood panels standing proudly in all their glory, and other antique knick-knacks made from different materials mingling artistically with sofas, lounge chairs, and tables of different styles, makes, and colors – and all bathed generously with lots of natural light below a high ceiling.
As you check-in, you are asked to play an old gumball machine, which entitles you to fun prizes dependent on your luck. As you walk to the lift, your eyes are drawn to a tableau of the local past (each floor has one) and other décor made from a mix of materials – all meticulously placed to enhance your sense of connection to the locality. On the ninth floor, where our room was located, stands a replica of a silk-weaving machine with a brief note on Jim Thompson; and a young tree symbolizing another important part of the neighborhood: Lumpini Park.
In the room itself is a big, locally-inspired piece of artwork – each of the 192 guestrooms has one. Mixed with decorative and functional elements, the rooms have a modern, vibrant spirit, and give you a feeling of being in your own personal space. The atmosphere is enhanced by the plush bedding and spa-inspired bathrooms, and are so comfy, to say the least. I slept soundly during my stay. And of course, there is complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi available not only in the rooms, but also throughout the hotel.
As can be expected, the overall theme becomes even more liberal in the restaurants and bars. Metro on Wireless Road and 22 Steps Bar, the hotel’s two F&B outlets, are refreshingly different not only in design but also in their offerings. The former serves international specialties with the same mix-and-match twist, but with authentic Thai flavors, inspired by the neighborhood’s heritage, and are well recommended. The latter is a great place to unwind, and maybe enjoy a cocktail and a fine cigar, while watching the world go by.
I wasn’t able to try the open-air, infinity-edge pool with a stunning view of the Bangkok skyline, as it was under renovation; or the gym with 24-hour access, as I was too pressed for time, but I promise to do so next time.
Clearly, Hotel Indigo Bangkok was built to stand out from other hotels in the neighborhood. The boutique hotel is distinctive not only in its design-theme but also in its spirit. Not for every traveler, perhaps, but I like the playful, almost “age of innocence” flair that makes the place fun to be in — without diminishing the role that the more sophisticated elements also play in the entire equation.
Which got us to thinking: As boutique hotels evolve, the Hotel Indigo brand may be setting the bar high for the future of boutique hotels. It goes without saying that ensuring a consistent and reliable modern service is the brand’s hallmark.
From the locally inspired murals to the renewal programs where music, scent, and menu items change throughout the year, Hotel Indigos around the world aim to deliver more than just a vibrant, engaging, and genuine boutique experience. They give guests the confidence to step out, explore local neighborhoods, make serendipitous little discoveries and create new stories, and to enjoy their visit more.
Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road certainly made me enjoy mine.