Exclusive retreat the Como Metropolitan Bangkok hotel attracts a very discerning brand of guest – fashionistas, film stars, designers and well-heeled, sharp-dressed urbanites ornament the bright, makha-wooded lobby. It’s clear: from the sleekly sophisticated healthy diner Glow to respected Thai restaurant Nahm and the wine-dark depths of the Met bar, this is where you go to get noticed.
Double rooms from £131.61 (THB5,161), including tax at 17.7 per cent.
Standard rates include breakfast and yoga classes.
At the hotel
Spa (including gym, steam rooms, hydro-pool and yoga studios), limousine/car hire, valet parking, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: cable TV, minibar, fruit and yoga mat.
Our favourite rooms
Simple juxtapositions of white walls and dark woods abound, as do splendidly oversized limestone-mosaic bathrooms. Bypass the petite City Rooms in favour of the larger, yet still affordable, Studio Rooms and Metropolitan Rooms, which have king-size beds and bathrooms with separate tubs and showers. Or, plump for a Terrace Suite to enjoy the evening air on your private patio.
The palm-fringed 25-metre lap pool is overlooked by the restaurant and lined with inviting loungers.
On the first floor, the Como Shambhala spa – source of the bathroom goodies in your room – offers a variety of spirit-soothing, body-buffing holistic treatments, including reflexology and yoga-inspired Thai massage. Free yoga is available should you need a morning stretch (pick up stylish yoga wear in the spa boutique if you've forgotten to bring your own).
Your most flattering designer swimwear to make a splash as you sashay to the pool.
Get the Met staff to put together a personalised boutique shopping itinerary for you, taking the stress out of street-schlepping.
Under-12s stay for free in their parents’ rooms. Cots are available and babysitting can be arranged.
On Nahm's terrace by the pool – beautiful food to eat; beautiful people to feast your eyes on – or book one of its private dining rooms for a special occasion.
With a voyeur’s view of the poolside and a gourmet’s grasp of rare, regional Thai cuisine, the hotel's sleek Michelin-starred restaurant Nahm, headed up by chef Pim Techamuanvivit, tops every visiting epicure’s to-do list, with fresh-from-the-sea fare. Glow, beside the spa, presents a lighter selection of healthy organic snacks and smoothies for breakfast and lunch.
Exclusive to members and guests, the Met Bar is a sultry club-land lounge that hums along until 12am. The staggering cocktail menu, crafted by trained mixologists, boasts more than 40 different martinis.
Glow is open until 3pm; Nahm holds court for lunch and dinner. The Met Bar offers snacky Thai food till 11pm.
Tasty Thai treats can be brought to your room 24 hours a day, and in-room massages can be requested while the spa is open.
Smack-bang in the central business district of Sathorn, this sophisticated Bangkok haunt is surrounded by the vibrant food and bar scene of Silom and shopping hub of Sukhumvit.
Fly into Suvarnabhumi Airport, then slip straight into an airport limousine or hail a taxi for the 40-minute drive along the Bangna Trad expressway to the hotel.
From the airport, you can skip the traffic and catch the SA Express train to Makkasan, switch to the MRT subway line and head south to Lumphini station. From there, it’s just a short stroll to the hotel. Lumphini MRT station puts you within easy reach Bangkok’s best. Jump onto the Skytrain system at Sukhumvit or Silom, and you’ve got the whole city covered.
Unless you’re a serious adrenalin junkie, driving around this hot and hectic capital is not advised, so hail a metered taxi or go for a spin in a tuk-tuk to take in the sights without taking your life in your own hands.
Worth getting out of bed for
Thailand’s enigmatic capital is a colourful union of old and new: gleaming temples, delicacy- and doodad-laden street-stalls and floating markets mingle with pulsing nightclubs and buzzing bars. For flavourful street food head to Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown, to feast on fiery, bamboo-speared satay and a local take on meaty Japanese dish sukiyaki (glass noodles fried with egg, seafood and fresh chili). Drop by the Old Town for a bite at brunch favourite Khao Gaeng Jake Puey (+66 (0)2 222 5229), where fragrant curries and stir-fries are piled high on a rice bed. Intrepid travellers can tuck into a smorgasbord of freshly barbecued creepy-crawlies on Khao San Road: spicy crickets, monsieur? No? Maybe a handful of grasshoppers or a piquant scorpion instead… Temples top Bangkok’s cultural to-do list; sunrise on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river lights up the decorative spires of Wat Arun, the Buddhist temple of dawn; it takes on an iridescent glow in the morning light. Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha, sits opposite the Grand Palace. It houses the largest collection of Buddha iconography in Thailand, including a 150-foot gilded statue.
Enjoy the zingiest Thai dishes in town at Bo.lan and for spice fiends, Balee Laos has plenty of fiery favourites, served in a pretty garden setting. Check out Harmonique for excellent seafood, the restaurant is housed in an atmospheric old Chinese home packed with quirky antiques.
Fusion hotspot the Ninth Café on Pleonchit Road is a must-visit for its sweet treats; devour a traditional Thai teacake or eye-catching green tea crêpes. Well-loved Kuppa is Bangkok’s top brunch destination, with a frequently changing menu serving classics like French toast or Thai specialities, such as sweet 'papaya pok-pok' salad and ka-prao kai (stir-fried chicken with chili and basil).
The shabby exterior of Maggie Choo’s is inconspicuous, but it’s a totally different beast inside; step through the tiny wooden doorway into a sultry Oriental lair, where there’s a vintage bar, cosy nooks and dark-leather sofas – perfect for after-hours sipping. Dancing queens should head to Sarasin Road, where late-night discos pump karaoke classics well into the wee hours.
Everyone speaks fondly of Thai hospitality. And, to be honest, it’s true. We’ve stayed in some of the country’s best hotels and have been ‘sawàt dii khaa-ed’ ad nauseum, and been handed so many lemongrass-scented cold towels that Mrs Smith has started worrying about her personal hygiene. But, on our way to the new Como Metropolitan Bangkok, we couldn’t help but wonder how the relentlessly warm and friendly Thais would deal with the Met group’s famously aloof, urbane cool.
At the moment, if our taxi driver’s reticence is anything to go by, no one seems to know where the hotel actually is. He turns into the Metropolitan’s private driveway, treating the manoeuvre as though it’s the most difficult in Bangkok driving, and then stops suddenly. ‘Met Bar!’ he exclaims surprisedly.
Arriving at the Metropolitan feels like pulling up at a private club. The hotel’s front-of-house staff have the air of doormen and, as we approach the lobby, we’re half-expecting our entry to be barred with a curt, ‘Sorry, private party.’ Thankfully, all we hear is a ‘Good afternoon, sir, madam. Checking in?’ We are ushered through the sleek lobby, which is a wonderfully light and airy space, with a distinctly – and this is the last time you’ll hear this phrase, I promise – East-meets-West vibe, courtesy of designer Kathryn King, who has created the look of boutiques for fashion luminaries such as Miyake, Dior and Armani. It shows. Even the staff sport Comme des Garçons.
We are escorted to our Studio Room, while our baggage goes up via the staff elevator – a thoughtful touch often overlooked by even the best hotels. We’re impressed. Our first impression of the room is that it’s spacious, comfortable and stylishly understated, with only a use of teak and Thai silk pillows to hint at what city we’re in. Most design-conscious hotels, we’ve found, are a little on the uncomfortable side – the kind of places you don’t even want to unpack your bags for fear of soiling the ambience. It’s the opposite here. This is the sort of room that makes you want to hang our shirts on the wooden hangers, put your toiletries bags on the marble bench in the bathroom, throw on the soft bathrobes, raid the minibar and get comfy on the enormous lounges.
We overlook the lack of champagne in the otherwise well-stocked minibar, as some green tea is brought to our door, swiftly followed by a plate of fragrant exotic fruits. The two ripe mangos practically beg to be eaten, and Mrs Smith and I munch our way through them as we walk around, admiring every detail of the room. Our stream-of-consciousness conversation goes something along the lines of ‘Oh my God, these toiletries smell divine! I must go to the spa! Hey look, they have a CD collection! Why would anyone order Radiohead from room service?’
I retire to the gym – a squeaky-clean space with plenty of state-of-the-art torture machines – while Mrs Smith heads to the pool, a beautiful, 20-metre outdoor affair that leaves you without a legitimate excuse for not doing a lap or two between cocktails. Apart from being in full sight of all the guests waiting for taxis by the front entrance, that is… To access the pool and gym, you have to walk through one of the hotel’s restaurants, Glow, a ‘fresh-food only’ eatery adjacent to the spa. The name seems particularly applicable to me as I cross the floor – I feel like apologising to the diners for my sweat-soaked appearance as I pass.
After a brilliant dinner at the hotel restaurant, we approach the famed Met Bar with trepidation. And, as expected, we’re asked if we are staying in the hotel. Once inside, though, Thai hospitality kicks in, and we’re greeted by a group ‘sawàt dii!’ from the staff. It’s a little on the empty side, but we don’t care. So long as the smooth lychee martinis keep on coming.
The next morning we hit the shops, stopping for lunch at restaurant Another Greyhound for Italian with a Thai twist – East meets West, you could say; but I promised I wouldn’t. Later, after penance in the pool, we walk to the Night Market, a couple of blocks from the hotel. We find some Thai boxing shorts for a pugilistic nephew, and then turn our attention to the food stalls. It’s all a bit underwhelming. Hygiene levels are questionable, and neither Mrs Smith nor I fancy sitting down for dinner next to tourists knocking back beer from mini kegs on the table.
It may be 9.30pm, but we decide to call one of the restaurants recommended by our concierge. Five minutes later – ‘Come now, come as you are!’ – we’re sipping heady ginger and fig martinis at stylishly low-key Eat Me. The twice-cooked duck and the foie gras with scallops are sensational, as are the service and ambience, and we immediately hit it off with the owner Darren. It’s entirely his fault that several hours and far too many chocolate vodkas later, we end up having to take a taxi back to the hotel – despite the fact it’s only a few minutes’ walk away.
We’re a little on the tired and emotional side the following morning, so it’s wonderful that the breakfast staff remember our coffee order and room number, and take us to our ‘usual table’. Impressive. As Mrs Smith and I tuck into our haul from the beautifully presented buffet, we reflect on how breakfast is pretty much the only time we get to see the other guests. They’re an intriguing bunch. We can’t figure out what they do for a living, or whether they’re here for business or pleasure. They’re just like the hotel, in fact: charismatic, enigmatic, slightly aloof and endlessly fascinating.