Bangkok Marriott Surawongse is a romantic narrative of Thai values, elegantly fused with contemporary etiquette, showcasing the theatrical expression of an auspicious way of living.
In 1897 His Majesty, King Chulalongkorn had a vision. The dream was to expand Thailand’s economic relationship with the continent of Europe and seek global equality on par with the western world. His Majesty dedicated his life to rejuvenating and modernising public infrastructure, and through this dedication, the King’s former Regent Somdej Chao Phraya Borom Maha Sri Sury Wongse dedicated a parcel of land frontage to the King which he used to develop one of Thailand’s earliest commercial roads. The road was named Thanon Surawong out of respect for its generous patron.
Thanon Surawong became a popular meeting point for the establishment, with many of Siam’s courtiers choosing to live in the area due to its proximity to Siam’s central business district. One such consultant, who was a physician at the court of Siam, was given a gift from Her Majesty Queen Sri Bajarindra to construct a house on Thanon Surawong. The house was built in the Colonial style which was a popular style at the time. The house, which still stands today, was acquired and painstakingly preserved by its present-day custodian. It is here the story of The Surawongse begins; taking is cues from a residential style steeped in localised contextuality. Informed by its location, the aptly named Bangkok Marriott – The Surawongse reinforces His Majesty’s vision of global equality and represents the skilful blend of a timeless Thai- aesthetic, drawing on cultural elements to inform and subtly appeal to the senses.
The Hotel Lobby emerges as an open plan social space with a gallery-like quality, successfully exuding residential charm at a resplendent scale. Jewellery cases are mounted on pedestals to display artisanal crafts and artefacts. Grey Emperador adorns the floor with an expansive area rug to complete and soften the central node. Columns clad in Nero Marquina are backlit to add depth of layering, while a tempered glass graphic provides the perfect prelude to the narrative which follows. The Lobby itself is indeed person-centric with supporting functions organised intuitively on each side and wrapped in woven metallic fabric by Ausara to complete a look of serene elegance.
The Great Room, adjacent to the central core, acts as an extension of the open plan Lobby space. This space is the heart and soul of the hotel and is a hub of activity day and night. A feature island bar divides the space into two distinct zones, a lounge where guests can choose to relax overlooking the banquet lawn, and a discreet meeting space, incorporating a large private room which can be used as an informal business centre on occasion. The Great Room takes the form of a curated library hosting a variety of local texts and artefacts, with multiple niches providing the opportunity for momentary discussion. Set within these niches is the Surawongse signature graphic which is now becoming more apparent. The Great Room is more natural in appearance with oak floors complementing the colonial inspired panelled ceilings above. At night this quiet social lounge evolves into a vibrant bar with a live DJ and dedicated mixologist creating local sounds and flavours late into the evening.
The Surawongse contains a number of enchanting dining concepts, each with their own globally inspired gastronomical delights. The Praya kitchen is a transformative culinary staging point for global cuisines with an eclectic mix of styles and flavours to suit all tastes. The dining experience is an interactive journey which encourages guests to engage with the chefs across live cooking stations, in what can only be described as an upscale market experience.
The Yao Restaurant, located on the 32nd floor is a contemporary Chinese Restaurant and Rooftop Bar providing unrivalled views over the City and the famous Chao Phraya River. Specialising in Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisine the restaurant is conceptualised by Yao, meaning ‘Glorious’ and a modern chic and sleek interior references this glory. The design is grounded in traditional Chinese details which are then recomposed to form a contemporary chic narrative.
The Quan Spa encompasses a holistic approach by aiming to balance design and functionality, in order to enhance the guest experience. Derived from Wu Xing’s elements of nature, the key element of water is explored and developed as part of the overall theme. The source of this inspiration is the Chao Phraya River. The reflection of water and the native Fighting fish become the focal point of the story. These are represented in many forms to create a space which is composed, inviting and intrinsically Zen.
The Spa Lobby is effortlessly simple with contemporary calming influences evoking a sense of serenity on arrival. The feature wall embraces a fish scale pattern which is textural and manifestly soothing. The patient flow of the river is epitomised in artistic majesty as it runs through the common spaces and into the treatment rooms. Life on the river is astutely evident, becoming a metaphor for the graceful journey to revival. This unhindered movement is echoed by a rejuvenating softness in every detail which pampers and cocoons the user, all the time inspiriting a sense of privacy and composed intimacy.
The Guestrooms represent a rich sense of place infused with monochromatic modernity, set within a palette of off white and contrasting black accents. The rooms take their cues from the visual characteristics of old photography. A highlight of the rooms is the feature headboard, which is crafted in traditional ‘Lai Ratnam’ or gilded black lacquer. The motif reflects several figurative scenes composed in the form of one mural. This mural appears in many forms throughout the space providing a storied reference to the City’s historical past.
The Surawongse is a coming together of contemporary design and Thai values which serve to inspire, rejuvenate and enhance the guest experience. Effectively this allows the interior to be both visually spectacular and theatrical, as well as fully cognizant of Bangkok as a globally recognised contemporary City. The result is a meaningful response to an energetic way of living where the Interior comes alive and responds to a flexible, more cosmopolitan lifestyle choice.
Project: Bangkok Marriott Hotel – The Surawongse
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Design Studio: PIA Interior