Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River

Four Seasons Bangkok is an island of serenity in a frequently chaotic city.

The Four Seasons logo is synonymous with luxury and is one of my favourite brands in travel (along with Qantas of course).

FS Bangkok opened briefly in 2020 before COVID forced an extended closure, so the property still feels brand new today in 2023. It has been designed on a grand scale with vast open spaces and tasteful water features lending an air of calm and tranquility. Seriously, there is WOW factor at every turn in this resort.

Our base level room felt like a penthouse suite – generous bathroom, huge bedroom, well stocked bar, and of course Four Seasons legendary bedding. Easily the best beds, sheets and pillows I’ve ever slept in.

The riverside property boasts pools for relaxing as well as a 40 metre lap pool. The hot spa and saunas have been beautifully designed and appointed. And the gym has all the equipment you’d want from a hotel gym.

We dined at Riva del Fiume restaurant (there are of course several dining options) and enjoyed a beautiful Italian menu. And of course the unmissable breakfast buffet is everything you’d expect of a Four Seasons resort.

The resort also boasts ‘the best cocktail bar in Bangkok’, the BKK Social Club with a wonderful jazz era ambience and a cocktail list as long as your arm.

What I love about Four Seasons is that they don’t just provide a room to sleep in… they are genuinely committed to making sure you have a memorable and enjoyable holiday. They have this knack for making you feel like a VIP, and its an attitude instilled in all of their staff.

Four Seasons is becoming something of a tradition for us – in 2020 we honeymooned at FS Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica, and celebrated anniversaries at FS Sydney, and now FS Bangkok. It’s a good enough reason to stay married!

Full Compliments to Hotel Café Royal London

Hotel Cafe Royal, without a doubt one of London’s best

Located on Regent Street, spitting distance from Piccadilly Circus, the Hotel Café Royal has a well-deserved reputation as one of London’s best. 

Oscar Wilde and Muhammad Ali, Winston Churchill and David Bowie, David Chipperfield and Elizabeth Taylor…. and now Brett Jobling and Stefan Pavlovic have added their names to this venerable and truly memorable London hotel. 

We transferred to this hotel after 5 nights in a micro hotel, having purchased the Café Royal’s £750 Spa Package – this entitled us to an upgrade to a Grand Superior Guest Room, £100 per person spa credit, and full breakfast.  

From the doorman to the check-in we are treated like VIP’s. The foyer is a stunning foretaste of the hotel’s décor.

We are early and our room is not yet ready, so we head to the Akasha Spa to book our hot stone massages – again we are made to feel like very special guests.  

The spa facilities are in a cavernous underground space – gym, lap pool, jacuzzi, dry sauna, and hammam (steam sauna). Bathrooms are generously appointed with complimentary toiletries, slippers and robes. Our massages are delivered by a skilful therapist and by the time our room is ready we float out of the spa in a state of sheer bliss. 

But more luxury surprises await. On our way to the room our Guest Relations Host explains the complimentary town car service for one-way chauffeur driven trips around central London. “So, if you have somewhere you need to go, just ask  the Concierge if the Bentley is available.” 

Bentley? Free ride in a Bentley? I’ve definitely got somewhere I need to go! 

Our host takes me to our room and gives a run-down of the features and functions. The bathroom is bigger than our previous hotel room! There’s welcome chocolate strawberries in the bar and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot on ice in the living room. A Bang & Olufsen TV, automatic curtains, a giant bed, and robes hanging in the wardrobe. The bathroom has a rain shower, heated panels behind the towel rails, generous toiletries, and an in-mirror TV (of course).  

The hotel is simply beautiful throughout – sleek modern décor in the halls and  guest rooms contrast with a grand classical ambience in the lobbies, stairways and restaurants, redolent of the Café Royal’s glorious history. In particular, The Grill Room, also known as the Oscar Wilde Lounge, is a study in gilded opulence – you can take High Tea here (bookings essential) but at the very least you must go in for a look at this masterpiece.  

We are only here for a night so we really don’t want to leave the property – but the Bentley beckons, glistening and shiny just outside the front doors. We book a ride to Covent Garden (the service is only good for a 2 mile radius) in near peak hour traffic. It would have been quicker to walk, but hey, it’s a ride in a Bentley and the looks from passing pedestrians (they’re going faster than us) makes it worth the while.  

Back at the hotel we have a leisurely cocktail in The Green Bar – complimentary bar snacks of course. On return to our room we find that the turn down service has provided complimentary slippers and some heavenly sleep spray. Only the most inveterate of insomniacs could fail to get a good night’s sleep in the Hotel Café Royal. 

Next morning we enjoy our generous included-in-the-package breakfast – A la carte menu plus pastries and spreads. I can only assume that the little jars of jam and honey are also complimentary, because they travelled home with me.  

As we’ve been given a complimentary late check out, we’re able to do some last-minute shopping around Regent and Oxford Street. Even after check out we are afforded –complimentarily – use of the Akasha spa facilities. So we are relaxed, showered and refreshed when we eventually leave the Café Royal for our late flight out of Heathrow. 

This was probably one of the finest hotel experiences I’ve ever enjoyed. Impeccable service from a 5 star property and we were made to feel like genuinely valued guests at all times. I can’t wait to go back.  

Mimi’s Hotel Soho London

Mimi’s in Soho

Micro Hotel – Mega Convenience

This superbly located hotel on Frith Street in London’s Soho district is a 5-10 minute walk from each of Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Oxford Street, so whilst it might be small on space, its goes large on convenience.

These ‘micro’ hotels – like the Z Hotels in central London – are trending, and they’re a realistic alternative for the visitor who expects to spend nearly all of their waking time, well, visiting. If you want to lounge around the hotel on your holiday, then Mimi’s is probably not for you.

We booked 5 nights in Mimi’s smallest double room, just a bed and an en suite really, and no windows. We were a little worried about claustrophobia and cabin fever, but we also knew this was just a place to sleep at night.

The price was excellent, so it worked for us.

The hotel is clean and modern with 24 hour reception. Staff were helpful and courteous, and there is a cafe/bar in the foyer if you need some break out space from the room (or your partner). Wifi is free throughout the hotel.

The room consisted of a king bed (wall on 3 sides – kudos to the domestic staff who made up the room perfectly each day), an entry big enough for one person to stand in, and a small but well appointed en suite.

The shower was hot and strong, which is about the most important thing in a hotel bathroom.

There’s a wall mounted TV above the foot of the bed. Storage is under the bed and a coat hook behind the door. Dual occupants need to coordinate their movements fairly carefully to make this work – suggest one person goes out to get coffee while the other gets ready in the morning!

The room was quiet and dark (no windows, remember) and the bed is comfortable, so totally restful at night.

At around $200 AUD per night (we booked through Qantas Hotels) it’s competing in the same price bracket as the Oxford Street Youth Hostel.

Mimi’s is great value for a clean, modern, full service hotel in central London.