Occupying the upper floors of Bangkok's new landmark structure – the twisting, figure-eight-shaped Central Embassy – Park Hyatt is located in the heart of Bangkok's shopping district, overlooking the greenery of the former British Embassy and with direct access to the BTS Skytrain.
From the moment you enter the minimalistic entrance lobby dominated by a cascading copper installation by renowned Japanese artist Hirotoshi Sawada, it's clear that art plays more than just a decorative role in this hotel. The astounding private collection of Central Group CEO Tos Chirathivat rivals the best contemporary galleries in Bangkok, with thought-provoking works by Thai and international artists strategically placed throughout common areas. Standouts include a photograph of Bangkok's Chao Phraya River by German Andreas Gursky, and jewel-hued butterfly and elephant-motif mixed media works by local artist Chatchai Puipia; while Hirotoshi's Naga, wooden batons creating the form of a mythical serpent suspended above the Living Room is a masterpiece worth a visit alone. Even the outdoor spaces are sculptural, with an infinity pool teetering over the CBD flanked by terraced gardens and sunbaking decks.
Entering the enormous standard guest room is an OMG moment, with the Bangkok skyline at its most dazzling through floor-to-ceiling picture windows. The views are best captured from the comfy day lounge, while an egg-shaped tub in the adjoining bathroom is crying out for bubbles and a long soak under the gaze of twinkling lights. Decorated in soft neutrals, with white oak timber floors and sycamore veneer panelling, the room is surprisingly homely, with a separate loo, dressing room and study area. There's free Wi-Fi, universal plugs and USB charging, a Nespresso machine, art books for bathroom reading and automated blinds (if you can bear to block out that view).
Perched in the fin-like tip of this logic-defying building is The Penthouse Bar & Grill, a bold, masculine space featuring six venues over three floors: a Grill, Chef's Table, a whisky bar, cocktail lounge, mezzanine and a rooftop terrace with unbeatable views across the city. The menu at the Grill is naturally meat-heavy, with an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs sweat it out over the barbecue. Downstairs, overlooking the pool is Embassy Room, offering a more delicate seafood-inspired menu fusing Western and Eastern flavours – try the kingfish ceviche or mud crab served with fennel and dashi. An excellent buffet breakfast is also served here, with an all-day open Pantry featuring fresh juices, pastries and cold cuts, as well as a la carte choices. There is also a bar on the 7th floor, popular for alfresco sundowners.
The hotel has direct access to Central Embassy, the newest and arguably most interesting of Bangkok's shopping malls. The lift deposits you in a concept shopping/dining/creative space called Open House, where you can taste artisanal produce and charge your phone as you lounge in a sofa reading a book. There's also a fab food hall in the basement, as well as the usual-suspect luxury brands to give the credit card a workout. With the Skytrain at your fingertips, the city is your oyster; I recommend first-timers take the train to Saphan Taksin station, then catch a ferry along the Chao Phraya River to Grand Palace or Chinatown. Also within walking distance of the hotel are two tranquil pockets of the city – Lumpini Park and the fascinating Jim Thompson House.
Fans of modern art and architecture will be in heaven in this tasteful, zen-like hotel; every nook (and there are many) offers a surprise. And those views … simply mesmerising.
A complementary slushee and ice-cold face towel delivered poolside is a welcome touch.
The hot water in the bathroom takes a long time to kick in.
Rooms at Park Hyatt Bangkok start at 9000 baht ($A356). See bangkok.park.hyatt.com
The writer travelled as a guest of Park Hyatt Bangkok and Thai Airways.