Metropolitan by COMO Bangkok

Silom, Bangkok, Thailand Book from THB4,200

Reviewed by Nikki Tinto
Cool contemporary hotel with a holistic spa, heavenly cuisine and a Zen ambiance, on the embassy- and hotel-lined Sathorn Road
Bangkok has always been known for its first-class hotels, but for a long time they were all a bit staid and unimaginative. The opening in 2003 of Christina Ong's Metropolitan by COMO changed all that; and years later, it's still a trailblazer. Its sleek minimalist design, cool dining and top-notch service have set the standard for others to imitate. Large Zen-style rooms and suites feature one-off art works, yoga mats and luxe limestone bathrooms. But, thankfully, this is designer style without the attitude: the staff may be kitted out in glam black uniforms by Comme des Garçons, but they're smiley, helpful and genuinely charming.

The hotel is located on Sathorn Road in Silom, the city’s upmarket business and embassy district. Bankgok's main shopping areas and Patpong's infamous nightlife are close by, but you'll find it hard to leave this serene cocoon. Book one of the vast Penthouse Suites, soothe away your jetlag in the Urban Escape Spa, lounge by the palm-lined pool, feast on divine food, and people-watch in the groovy bar. We loved it when it first opened, and we still love it now.

Highs

  • Stylish and sleek interiors that have stood the test of time
  • Seriously good Thai food at Nahm restaurant, and healthy organic fare at their organic cafe Glow
  • First-class spa, large pool and decent-sized gym with free yoga classes
  • Gorgeous bathrooms with covetable COMO products

Lows

  • It's hard to leave - you need to make a big effort to face the chaotic city outside
  • Apart from Patpong and Silom (which are walkable), you'll need to take taxis to explore
  • You could be almost anywhere in the world
  • With 169 rooms, it's way larger than the usual i-escape hotel, but the personal welcome and lack of crowds make it feel smaller

Best time to go

Bangkok is best in the so-called cool season (expect a mere 30C), from November to February. It starts to get hotter through February, typically reaching a 40C climax in April and May, before the rains arrive. It’s still warm, though wetter, from June to August. At the end of the rainy season (September-October), whole districts of the city can flood, and there's frequent disruption.

Our top tips

Bring loose, light clothes suitable for humid heat - but not too many as you can buy more locally at rock-bottom prices. Flip-flops or open sandals are the footwear of choice.

Great for...

City Style
Family
Foodie
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Design Hotel
  • 169
  • Restaurants and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room: COMO Suite

Rooms

The hotel’s 169 guestrooms are similarly decorated in a serene, contemporary style. Singapore designer Kathryn Kng has combined dark Makha wood floors and olive green Thai silk cushions with soothing paintings by up-and-coming Asian artist Natee Utarit. Kingsize beds are super comfortable with fine goosedown duvets, Egyptian cotton linen and funky antennae-style lights. And all this is accompanied by well-chosen extras: fresh coffee, flip-flops and a yoga mat for in-room sun salutations.

Bathrooms are a real highlight. Cream limestone, deep baths, power showers, silky-soft bathrobes and invigorating custom-made COMO Shambhala Spa toiletries, scented with eucalyptus, geranium, peppermint and lavender, make them chic and indulgent.

All the rooms are spacious, but if you want something really special (which won't cost the earth), book a duplex Penthouse Suites. They are jaw-droppingly huge, with an open-plan living space downstairs (including kitchenette and dining area) and bedroom, dressing area and vast bathroom upstairs. Gazing out across the city through the spectacular double height windows, with your own butler on call, you'll feel like one of the stars who frequent them (Mariah Carey and Kylie are fans).

Otherwise we'd have no hesitation recommending the Metropolitan Rooms, which are probably the best value. They are clean and bright, with good views and plenty of storage space. Those with a child can have an extra bed put in (or 2 at a pinch), or use one of the sofas. You could save a few dollars on the somewhat narrower Studio but it doesn't seem worth it. Or you could pay a bit more for a Terrace Room with a private patio, but as these are enclosed and viewless we personally wouldn't advise it.

But if you feel like splashing the cash then opt for the super-luxurious, top-floor COMO Suite with exceptional views across the city. It’s the 2-bedroom version of the Penthouse Suite; larger, grander and with hand-blown glass features. It can be used for cocktail parties and social events, making it an ideal venue for that once-in-a-lifetime-event.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Iron
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Food at the Metropolitan was seriously good when we first visited, and after our 2011 revisit we can confirm that it has got even better. Australian chef David Thompson designed the Thai meni, ad we particularly love his signature Ma Hor (bite-sized mouthfuls of pork-and-peanut atop mandarins or pineapple pieces), the fresh and fragrant lemongrass salad with pork and toasted coconut, and the stir-fried squid with sugar snap peas. All are bursting with explosive flavours and served in tapas-sized bites, perfectly plated up, with one slightly larger main. It's not for the gastronomically conservative; but anyone with a halfway adventurous palate will relish the exotic journey. A set menu offers a good sampler of half a dozen dishes plus canapes - we hardly had room for our turmeric scented grilled bananas with coconut cream! Plus there's a superb wine list to accompany every taste.

For a lighter lunch or dinner, head to Glow, the first-floor organic café, which serves fresh and tasty Asian-inspired cuisine, including some of the best sushi we had on our trip. We tucked into a delicious "bento" selection of sushi, seaweed and avocado salad, buckwheat noodles, and mushroom broth along with an energising juice of pineapple, lime, mint and ginger.

Breakfast is served in Glow: there's a continental buffet which features exotic fruits, yoghurt and croissants, but the heavenly offerings cooked to order were the star attractions. You can't leave without trying the warm ricotta pancakes with banana, pecan and honeycomb butter or the toasted coconut waffles with mango, passion fruit and palm syrup.

Finally, don't miss The Met Bar (open to hotel guests and members only) where DJs spin cool sounds and "mixologists" create bespoke Martinis. Try the lemongrass and ginger Tom Yumtini.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cooking classes
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Be pampered in the gorgeous COMO Shambhala Urban Escape Spa with Asian-inspired, holistic therapies including Thai massage, reflexology, body scrubs and steam rooms. The 60-minute signature massage is superb, one of the most relaxing hours we spent during a month in Thailand - and decent value too. Or pre-book the 'Jet Lag Therapy' treatment

  • Work out in the state-of-the-art gym or unwind with a complimentary yoga and meditation session. Personal trainers and private yoga tuition can be arranged. The 20m outdoor lap pool is large enough for proper exercise while the sunloungers are ideal for a spot of afternoon relaxation

  • Force yourself out of the Met's cocoon to check out Wat Po, home to Thailand's largest reclining Buddha, the dazzling Grand Palace, and the adjacent Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra Keo

  • Visit the sprawling Chatuchak Weekend Market and Jim Thompson's House, a beautiful traditional Thai wooden home containing Asian artefacts collected by the American entrepreneur

  • A river trip is another must: hire a longtail from the Oriental hotel's jetty

  • The hotel is located in South Sathorn Road in the city’s Central Business District, minutes from Bangkok's main nightlife. Patpong's buzzing night market and go-go bars are a 10-minute walk

  • For the best shops you'll need to hop in a taxi or take the skytrain (15 min walk to the nearest station). There's a metro station at the end of the street. You'll find an excellent list of where to go for antiques, clothes and designer homeware in the hotel room. Personal shopping assistance can be arranged

  • The Guest Services team can give you the insider track on what's happening in Bangkok, from the best restaurants to shows and gallery openings

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Yoga

Kids

Children are welcome at the Metropolitan, but as the hotel is orientated towards grown ups and is set in the business district, it is perhaps not the best destination for kids. There's no charge for children 12 years and under sharing a room and not using an extra bed, though note only 1 child is allowed to share a room with 2 adults.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms (except the City Rooms) can fit an extra bed for an additional charge. But we'd recommend you opt for Penthouse Suites which have that much needed extra space and have their own kitchenette. The COMO Suite has 2 double bedrooms, a full kitchen and plenty of living space, plus it can be connected to a City Room for larger families - though it is quite pricey.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement, and is complimentary if staying in the Penthouse and COMO Suites

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request and are free of charge

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Children aged 5-12 receive a 50% discount on breakfast. There's children's menu for in-room dining. If the family prefers to dine together in nahm restaurant, kids will enjoy the specially conceived less spicy dishes, such as the guinea fowl curry. Bookings essential

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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