How do you pull focus amid the neon sleaze, glamorous grit and delicious pungence of Bangkok? Well, you take over its most iconic building: a pixellated skyscraper that looks like a glitch in the Matrix. A ballsy move, but one the Standard brand is bold enough to pull off with their Asian flagship: the Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon. And if that wasn’t headline-grabbing enough, they’ve topped it off with a 76-storey-high bar that overspills onto the glass floor of the Sky Walk, installed one of Mexico’s finest chefs and a cult Hong Kong eatery, floated a pool into the sky, and dressed the lot in Sci-Fi-nery, with the retro-futurist skills of designer Jamie Hayon. Add pop-up parties, tastemaker talks and studio sessions and you’ve got a head-turner in a city of distractions.
Note We're so early to the party that some pictures in our gallery are CGIs. Rest assured, we'll have the real restaurant and penthouse shots very soon…
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £166.42 (THB7,003), including tax at 17.7 per cent.
Rates usually include a buffet breakfast and à la carte picks, and access to the vertiginous Mahanakhon Sky Walk.
Two Deluxe King rooms are adapted for guests with mobility issues with widened doors and grab bars, and public areas are easily navigable, with entryway ramps, wide doors and braille signage in the elevator too.
At the hotel
Fitness centre, in-house recording studio, chill-out lounges and workspaces, boutique, free WiFi. In rooms: Smart TV, Bang & Olufsen Bluetooth speaker, Nespresso machine, minibar with Thai treats, custom bathrobes.
Our favourite rooms
Did you check into the second tallest building in Thailand (pipped to the post by the Magnolias Waterfront Residences Iconsiam, which is just four metres taller) to wave at passers-by? No, you came to touch the stars, or close as. The Penthouse has floor-to-ceiling windows so you’re immersed in Bangkok’s dizzying beauty. And it has a stylish living and dining space, a well-stocked kitchen pantry and deep soaking tub. However, Valencian designer Jamie Hayon has given even the entry-level rooms plenty of pizzazz with the sort of retro-futurist look – all curves in the right places and bold pops of colour – you’d expect to see in a swish condo under a dome on Mars.
The pool terrace might sit high above a busy-busy metropolis, but it feels surprisingly beachy – almost a callback to the Standard’s first ever property in Miami – with its sunny yellow parasols, lush palm trees and fluid shape that evokes a tide-shaped shoreline. There’s a Jacuzzi to bubble away in too, and ample cushioned loungers for getting some bronzing ‘zzz’s, but this is the Standard, so expect music, cocktails and fiestas too.
There’s no spa, but the 24-hour fitness centre, filled with high-end Technogym gear, motivates with a light leafy space and far-reaching city views. For an extra charge you can join a class too.
Whatever you can picture yourself wearing in a humid embrace on a balmy night. But, leave room for the curated wares in the Standard’s not-so-standard boutique and the 50-million things you’ll buy in the night markets.
Minibar-raiders, this one is a doozy, with dried mango, chocolate-dipped coconut, tom-yum roasted peanuts, mangosteen and lychee or passionfruit and carrot juices, Thai tea lattes, pre-bottled cocktails and even botanical ear drops, all made locally.
Sure, you can bring your little (no more than 18 kilogrammes) shnookums along for a deposit of THB3,000 (on top of the room deposit). Up to two pets can stay in a room. See more pet-friendly hotels in Bangkok.
Children can stay (THB500 a night for under-12s sharing with their parents or THB1,700 a child, each night, for an extra bed and breakfast), but these digs aren’t really for kids.
Greenness is keenly observed here. Motion-activated lighting in guest rooms saves 34,000 Kwh of electricity a month, and LED lighting throughout saves 62,001 Kwh a month. They work alongside environmental consultant LightBlue to manage waste; heat-reducing films have been applied to windows, and VSD and BAS systems to monitor the air-conditioning and lighting. Plus, trees have been planted inside and out. Use of plastics has been drastically cut down, and any used towels, bathrobes, newspapers and magazines, or bathroom products are sanitised or decanted and donated to local charities. In the restaurant, ingredients are sourced from Thai suppliers where possible, and leftovers are composted or fed to neighbourhood strays.
What a line up. Chefs with clout, cult Chinese food, a beloved Standard staple, and afternoon tea where not just the leaves are let loose: the Standard have excelled in eating yet again. Starting from the top – the 76th floor to be precise – Ojo Bangkok, headed by racking-up-the-plaudits Mexican chef Francisco Paco Ruano (formerly of Alcade), looks like a date-night spot beamed in from the Jetsons. Its soaring ceilings show-off Bangkok’s after-dark glitz, and interiors shine just as bright, with a golden accent wall and banquettes and a glowing crystalline-pink bar. And, mighty Hong Kong eatery Mott 32 has also landed here, bringing its signature look with elegant glazing and vintage chandeliers, and a Cantonese (with some mods) menu where the duck is air dried for 48 days and apple smoked to pull-apart perfection and the Ibérican pork comes barbecued in a Yellow Mountain-honey glaze. Imported from the Meatpacking District, the Standard Grill brasserie is distinctly New York, with its rich woods, clubby cream banquettes and Metro-tiled ceiling. But it evokes old Siam too in its art deco shaping and tropical greenery. Steaks and hand-rolled pastas are the stand-out of its all-day dining menu, but a burger and martini are more than satisfying. The peckish can pitch up in the laidback, let-them-all-hang-out Parlor, and Tease jazzes up afternoon tea with boozy blends and decidedly non-traditional tiers.
It wouldn’t be the Standard without venues for everyone from the party-lite to party-hard. Those looking for a gentle buzz can start with Tease’s boozed-up brews in a jazzy space where black and white tiles with diamonds, dots and stripes update trad Kranok designs. The Parlor – an industrial urban jungle of sorts, mixing ironwork and mid-century styles with plants of Triffid-esque proportions – steps it up a notch with its happenings: cocktail parties, Not Your Standard Bingo nights, author and tastemaker talks, and live DJ music courtesy of in-house Sounds Studio. And Sky Beach takes it to another level as Bangkok’s highest rooftop bar. All open-air, the city is lit up like a disco ball all around, music plays into the night till late, and masterful mixologists keep the drinks coming. And, for those unfazed by heights, day-beds are laid out over the glazed floor of the Mahanakhon’s tipsily-towering Sky Walk.
The Parlor and the Standard Grill serve from 7am to 10.30pm, while Mott32 runs lunch from 11am to 2.30pm and dinner from 5.30pm to 10.30pm.
Midnight munchies? Post-lie-in pangs? Dine in your room any time day or night.
The Standard Bangkok Mahanakhon is in probably one of the city’s most recognisable skyscrapers, sandwiched between the lively Sathorn and Silom corridors, with Lumphini Park to the east (and up a bit), and the Chao Phraya River to the west.
Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is just a 30-minute drive from the hotel; flights arrive direct from across Europe, Asia and Australasia, but those travelling from the Americas will need to stopover. Or connect via Asia's budget airlines and fly into Don Mueang International. On request, transfers can be arranged from both hubs (from THB1,900 a person), in a Toyota, Mercedes Benz or even by limousine if you want to start as you mean to go on. Send your flight details to the hotel 24 hours before arrival.
Hua Lamphong, Bangkok’s main railway station, is just a 10-minute drive away. It’s connected to all major lines in the country, so you can reach other cities direct. Hua Hin is just over three hours away and Pattaya around four hours, but to reach Phuket or Chiang Mai, you’ll need to hop on a flight. And, for zipping around the city, the nearest BTS Sky Train stop is Chong Nonsi on the Silom line; hop on and off with abandon using the one-day – and we must say, adorable – Rabbit Card (around THB140).
People do drive in Bangkok – we’ve seen it with our own eyes – so yes, it’s a thing that can be done, but whether or not you’d want to is the real question. Traffic is busier than the Standard’s rooftop bar, and everyone’s invited, and edging out of sois and onto main roads can be a bit of a nailbiter. It’s much easier to pound the pavement or ride the Sky Train, but if you decide to give it a go, wheels can easily be hired and there’s free valet parking at the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
You’re in undoubtedly the coolest building in Bangkok, and while it might be in the boring-sounding Central Business District, it’s pretty much the centre of attention with much excitement to be had in the surroundings. To the east, lush Lumphini Park has jogging trails, a boating lake and resident monitor lizards, and to the west, you can idle along the Chao Phraya River on a boat tour. One of the curious joys of the city is seeing divinely adorned wats and stupas, with their gilded stuccos, lacquered carvings and storytelling statuary – next to gleaming skyscrapers or mega malls. The highest concentrations are in and around the Royal Grand Palace, which is duly regal itself. See the emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew, the golden reclining Buddha at Wat Pho and the golden seated Buddha at Wat Traimit, then ignore the nickname ‘temple of dawn’ and get a snap of Wat Arun from across the river when it’s wearing its sunset coat of many colours. Then mix things up with a stop at the riotously hued Hindu temple Sri Maha Mariamman just down the road from the hotel. When you feel like you’ve levelled up your karma, get your teeth into Bangkok’s meaty cultural clout, starting at the Jim Thompson Art Center, where contemporary creatives exhibit and vintage-book fairs are held, then get a feel for the modern-art landscape at VS Gallery, the myriad spaces of River City Bangkok, idea-flourishing space Warehouse 30 and the biggies: MOCA Bangkok and the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. Then brace yourself for sprees in Bangkok’s mega-markets, starting with the largest, Chatuchak, which has more than 15,000 stalls. The Talat Rot Fai Train Night Market is a little less touristy and a touch edgier with its buzz-generating street food and vintage stalls, more of which can be found at the Made by Legacy Flea Market, where plentiful pre-loved wares are laid out in the Sermsuk Warehouse. And the Neon Market is as vivid as its name suggests. Try to catch some improv at Ekkolo Theater, experience high-drama charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent at the Stranger Bar’s drag shows, then whirl like a dervish under the vintage lanterns of remarkably well-dressed Sing Sing Theater club.
Bangkok has its Michelin-starred this and its celeb-chef-led that, but the best food you’ll eat here will likely come wrapped in greasy paper, strung on a stick, or piled in a carton. Some street eats, like Jay Fai with its now legendary crab omelettes, have earnt stars themselves, but core-memory meals await in even the humblest spots. Slurp up Wattanapanit’s beef stew, be comforted by Ann Guay Tiew Kua Gai’s garlicky eggy noodle soup, and revel in the umami punch of Jok Khlong San’s pork congee. Soon you’ll be at your happiest when sat elbow-to-elbow with resident Thais on a plastic stool. Admittedly, you might need to step things up for date night, the Standard’s rooftop is a good place to start, then switch to a different aspect at Vertigo, another sky-high spot where you’ll need to look the part. Australian-owned Eat Me, might sound a bit on the nose, but you’ll soon be diverted by the menu, which promises gojuchang-glazed wagyu short rib, quail with a foie-gras and cashew-nut-brittle pâté and tropical lobster salad. And Chef’s Table is one of the city’s hottest gets; those lucky enough to dine in this gilded space can watch culinary magic at the marble cookery counter before being transported with taste.
Ari has established itself as one of the city’s coolest neighbourhoods, but frankly, we would walk blindfolded into the badlands if it meant a trip to super cool local bakery Qraft. This Asian-fusion hotspot had us at yuzu- and miso-caramel-stuffed croissants, and matcha canelés, and hōjicha-cream-filled waffles… Otherwise (so sue us) you’ll rarely find a more joy-filled or pastel-hued place than the Unicorn Café, just around the corner from the Standard. Here, food and drink is supernaturally coloured and e-numbered to the hilt, cuddly unicorns hang from the ceiling and there are unicorn onesies to borrow for Insta shoots – just settle into one of the overstuffed armchairs and embrace the sugary, kawaii, rainbowed fug of it all.
Party organiser Dudesweet conceived music bar Mischa Cheap as a pop-up, but it’s still going strong in the wake of great popularity. Its name is a cheeky riff on the Thai word for ‘criminal’, but it’s all good clean fun. In the lively Soi Nana neighbourhood, the bijou (with just 15 seats) Teens of Thailand bar has a daily-changing drinks list and an offbeat selection of gin and tonics (the Hanami gin is the house pour), and a vintage affectation which has earnt it plenty of cool points. And, close by is the artfully dishevelled Black King Bar, which also fires up a fine line in pizzas.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this glitch-in-the-matrix hotel in Bangkok’s central business district and unpacked their intricately patterned silks and vintage mor lam vinyl, a full account of their cranked-up Krung Thep break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Standard Bangkok Mahanakhon in Thailand’s go-go-go capital…
Bangkok certainly goes heavy on the ‘bang’, with its sense-startling markets, food carts emitting clouds of deliciousness, temples and tower blocks, hipsters and holy men, and unabashed neon-drenched sleaze. You need plenty of thrust to match its energy, and the Standard brand – a juggernaut with no plans to slow down – is up to the challenge. For their flagship outpost in Asia they’ve gone hard, moving a recording studio, cult Hong Kong eatery, one of Mexico’s most revered chefs, top-of-their-drinking-game mixologists and Spanish designer Jamie Hayon’s fab-u-lous retro-futurist interiors into one of the city’s most iconic buildings. The King Power Mahanakhon tower might look like it’s still loading up, with its helix of pixelated blocks, but now the Standard’s all moved in it’s raring to go, with a cloud-peeping pool terrace where parties pop up and the Sky Beach bar 76 floors up, where Bangkok brings the sparkle with views all the way round, and the wooze comes from exotic cocktails and day-beds set on the vertigo-inducing glazed platforms of the Sky Walk. And, there’s a whole lot of life within, whether you mean the jungle’s worth of greenery, the laptop-tappers co-working away, or the tastemaker talks, live music and DJs, and as-Standard bingo that bring the brand’s sense of irreverent joy. You’re sure to get a good night’s sleep, but the Standard Bangkok Mahanakhon is a stay that doesn’t rest.