Reliving colonial charm
The Cabochon Hotel makes a good weekend getaway
I have always wanted to stay at The Cabochon Hotel on Sukhumvit 45, especially since it is also home to one of my favourite hide away bars in Bangkok. Bringing Old World charm to the modern age, the hotel reminds me of my family's summer home, which was built during colonial times.
A boutique hotel, The Cabochon is now open for stays from Friday to Sunday at B8,000 for a two-night package or B4,500 for a night's stay (early check-in and late checkout), including a signature hot pot dinner and in-room breakfast. To enjoy the full colonial splendour, I suggest a staycation weekend.
Tucked at the end of the short Sukhumvit 45, entering The Cabochon, which means a polished gem, is like finding your bit of green in a concrete jungle. Though constructed in 2012, it is important to note that most of the hotel's doors, windows, furniture and artifacts are antique from the personal collection of owner Eugene Yeh. Staff at the reception desk make sure you are led to the Joy Luck Club lounge to complete check-in formalities, while sipping on a cool drink and immersing yourself in the ambience.
The Joy Luck Club, which also doubles up as the breakfast space, bar and library, is my favourite thing about the hotel. Filled with comfy armchairs and sofas, the lounge is a relaxation delight. If quiet mornings are your thing, have your breakfast spread outside in the verandah, under the shade of trees, while you are entertained by birdsong and busy squirrels scurrying about. No better start to a morning!
Order drinks at the bar downstairs, head up and spend the day by the 22m-lap rooftop pool, which offers decent views of the surrounding areas, including the BTS, but minus the sounds. Shielded from the sun with screen sails, the sun loungers are comfy and are good for the odd snooze without getting sunburnt.
Though the building has only four floors, the top floor houses only two suites, including Yeh's personal suite (also available for the night or many nights). "The Cabinet Of Curiosities", as it is referred to, is filled with Yeh's personal touches, all acquired during his worldwide travels. Keeping in theme with the main design concept of Shanghai in the 20s, the suite is a spacious one-bedroom apartment which I would like to move in today! The most outstanding feature for me was the brass bathtub.
With the spaces and furnishes created to match the feeling of being at home, the suite I was in came with a balcony through French windows, which was shaded by trees. The large wood dining table against the window with a view was the perfect setting for a spot of leisurely writing. Most bathrooms are contemporary and have polished marble floors, vintage taps and fittings and lush toiletries. Being boutique, the hotel doesn't attract families, so it is a good romantic getaway and you don't even have to leave the premises for a good meal!
My first introduction to the hotel's restaurant Thai Lao Yeh was a St Valentine's Day dinner with my mum, a few years ago. I was looking forward to a meal here, since I hadn't been back. The restaurant has a rather quaint and unique ambience, with an open kitchen, resembling Thailand's famous street food carts. The walls are crafted from 100-year-old wood that was salvaged from a remote Thai village. Serving northeastern fare and a delightful mix of Thai classic dishes, dining at Thai Lao Yeh is akin to being in a Thai-Chinese teashop of yesteryear, complete with marble top tables.
Both Thai Lao Yeh and Joy Luck Club are open to outside guests. The restaurant is open for lunch from 11am to 2.30pm and from 6-11pm, while the Joy Luck Club is open from 6pm to midnight. They close to the outside world on Mondays.
The Cabochon Hotel is a short walk to the shopping district of Emporium and EmQuartier on one side and the hipster Thong Lor area on the other. With good local restaurants within walking distance, the hotel is close enough, yet far enough to escape the hustle and bustle of Sukhumvit.
While we are all enjoying the perks of free movement once again and heading to the beaches or mountains, it is always good to indulge in Bangkok hotels. The motto of The Cabochon is "Arrive as a guest, leave as a friend" and by the end of your stay, it would ring true.