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Okura Prestige Hotel: Japanese-Style Elegance, Bangkok, Thailand

Up&Above Bar_night (1280x853)

Photo courtesy Okura Prestige Hotel

When you’re traveling, a comfortable place to rest your head at the end of day is a joy. The Okura Prestige in Bangkok, Thailand, celebrated their opening in May of 2012, making it one of the city’s newest luxury hotels. In a city where there is no shortage of five-star hotels, the Okura Group succeeds in making their addition one that will continue to dominate the city’s “Best Of” lists.

The Okura Prestige is located in Bangkok’s Central Business District, offering the perfect location for both leisure and business travelers. The neighborhood is walkable, has excellent shopping (including Central Embassy mall and Central Food Hall), visitor sites, and noteworthy temples and shrines. You don’t even have to leave the building to get to a Phloen Chit BTS Skytrain stop. The BTS Skytrain and MRT Subway trains are easy to use, quick, inexpensive, and allow you to you explore much of this vibrant city.

Okura Prestige features dramatic design.

Okura Prestige features dramatic design. Photo OPH.

Impressive Aesthetics with Every Comfort
The hotel is housed within the larger Park Ventures Ecoplex, Thailand’s first mixed-use building awarded LEED Platinum-rating, the highest “green” building level. The hotel’s e-coated triple-glazed windows insulate from both heat and noise. Solar panels and a host of other efficiencies help to reduce its carbon footprint.
Throughout, the design palette is rich and elegant, with a lovely neutral modern Japanese aesthetic. This is a hotel where you feel at-both ease and pampered and rested and energized.

The hotel features 240 rooms, both luxury guestrooms and suites. The Club Lounge and Business Centers are comfortable and efficient, and the Grand Ballroom and Sora Room make gorgeous venues for weddings, conferences, and other events.

Even the guestrooms at Okura Prestige are luxurious.

Even the guestrooms at Okura Prestige are luxurious. Photo OPH.

My room is a corner deluxe room with expansive city views from the 26th floor. Ample-sized, at 592 square feet (55 square meters), I enjoy the chance to spread out. From the “central command post”, my term for the bedside touch screen, I control the room’s lighting (with pre-set options for day, night, mood and night-lighting), alarm clock, temperature, and window treatments (including sunshades and blackout shades). The floors are travertine and the carpet soft gray and rust. There’s textured cloth and silk-threaded wallpaper, a variety of woods, a tinted glass sliding wall to further separate the bath from the living area, and a separate powder room. And yes, I enjoy the Japanese commode, with all the options, including the heated seat. I take advantage of the tub and bath salts and finish with a rain shower.

My comfy king-sized bed offers a choice of pillows, Egyptian cotton bedding and comfortable mattress. The lighting is superb. There is ample, well-lit closet space (with plenty of hangers) and a room safe. The 42-inch flat screen television offers stations from all over the world and internet connectivity.

It's little touches like orchid blossoms with high-end toiletries that gives guests the feel of being papmered.

It’s little touches like orchid blossoms with high-end toiletries that gives guests the feel of being pampered.

A console houses a fridge and snack- and mini-bar, glasses and place settings, and separate tea and coffee pots. My work desk includes a media hub that makes charging my electronics easy.

The room amenities put me at ease, and I appreciate the many little details. Indeed, I’m reluctant to leave the room. I snack on chocolates and macaroons from La Patisserie downstairs. There are fresh orchids along with bottled water. Both Western bathrobes and Japanese yukatas are provide. Twice daily turndown service keeps my room straightened and in the evening, places an origami crane on my bed, and a little take-home origami kit with instructions to make my own.

I may not be in the top-of-the-line Imperial Suite, the hotel’s luxurious 302 square meter (about 3,250 square feet) offering, but I’m very happy. (And if you do stay in the Imperial Suite, please remember who sent you and invite me along on your next trip.)

There's nothing like swimming on top of the world.

There’s nothing like swimming on top of the world. Photo OPH.

The pool…ahhh, the pool. I am especially drawn to the 25th floor cantilevered swimming pool. Okura’s pool is a creative and innovative feat of engineering and design. I swim to the pool’s edge and look down and out across the city sky scape. Swimming to the edge of the building enjoying the view is memorable.

The fitness center is well equipped and also offers incredible city views, and the spa is as tranquil as it should be. The spa attracts both hotel guests and locals, and features a menu offering traditional Thai massage and a variety of other treatments. (If the people, culture and food aren’t reason enough for a visit to Thailand, the massages certainly are.) The Ta-ke relief massage is a Japanese treatment based on the principles of acupuncture. It utilizes heated Japanese bamboo to target tense muscles and reduce stress.

Okura Prestige's fitness facilities are well-equipped. Photo OKH.

Okura Prestige’s fitness facilities are well-equipped. Photo OKH.

Fine Dining For Hotel Guests and Residents Alike
There are three fabulous restaurants in the hotel, as well as La Patisserie at the ground floor. The restaurants, located at the 24th and 25th floors, and offer stylish décor, stunning city views and excellent service—and fabulous food and beverages that win kudos from hotel guests and Bangkok residents alike.

All of Okura's dining options take advantage of spectacular city views. Photo OPH.

All of Okura’s dining options take advantage of spectacular city views. Photo OPH.

Yamazato, Okura’s signature Japanese restaurant, presided over by Chef Shigeru Hagiwara (who has worked for Okura Hotels for over 32 years), is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant offers Teppanyaki, Sushi and Kaiseki Ryōri. Whether you’re seated in the main dining room, one of the private rooms, a teppanyaki table, or the sushi bar, knowledgeable kimono-clad wait staff will set the scene for a fabulous meal.

Elements offers the opportunity to sample Chef Henry Jordan’s concept of “modern international” cuisine. Photo OPH.

Elements offers the opportunity to sample Chef Henry Jordan’s concept of “modern international” cuisine. Photo OPH.

Up and Above offers seating both inside and out, and is open for all three meals, as well High Tea and Sunday brunch. The outdoor cocktail lounge is one of the coolest places in town; the space jutting out of the building like a half-moon. Enjoy happy hour and late-night drinks and snacks here. The beverage menu includes vitamin waters, mock-tails, and cocktail. For lunch, there’s an expansive buffet or á la carte menu. The breakfast buffet, from which I enjoy incredible Asian and Western offerings, is beautifully presented, fresh and delicious.

The lunch buffet at Up & Above is  special.

The lunch buffet at Up & Above is special. Photo OPH.

A meal at Elements is special indeed; a gastronomical foray into flavor, presentation and technique that will remain memorable long after your plate is cleaned. I enjoyed the open kitchen and the chance to watch Chef Henry and his staff work, and chat with Elements’ Sommelier, Marc Bittner. Elements is open six evenings a weeks for dinner and weekdays for lunch.

Teppayaki is a fun dining alternative. Photo OPH.

Teppayaki is a fun dining alternative. Photo OPH.

Get to Know the Okura Brand
The Okura Group of hotels is well-known and well-regarded throughout Asia, and includes hotel and resorts under the Okura, Nikko and Jal City names in 11 countries .At this time, however, there are only two hotels in Europe and three in the United States. (One in San Francisco and two in Hawaii, operating under names other than “Okura.”) Because frequent travelers are often loyal to a particular hotel brand, Okura Group is not as well-known as it should be outside Asia. This is a shame, and I encourage readers to stay at one of Okura hotels. I certainly enjoyed the high standards of design, comfort, service, and environmental commitment, and of course, the warmth of the Thai and international employees at this marvelous hotel. –– Story by Nancy Zaffaro, RFT NW Wine, Brew, & Spirits Editor

Even the drinks at Okura are gorgeous. Photo Nancy Zaffaro.

Even the drinks at Okura are gorgeous. Photo Nancy Zaffaro.

Okura Prestige Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand,

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Nancy Zaffaro

Nancy Zaffaro is a travel and food writer based in Portland, Oregon. She enjoys travel, writing, good food and drink (of course!), cooking, yoga, kayaking, and photography. She’s a long-time writer and editor who has had interesting and varied careers in the arts and in business, and is thrilled to be able to travel the world and write about her adventures. Nancy is also the Editor of