We start the day with pumpkin curry and stewed pork leg in Thailand’s rural rice fields. We end the day 350 kilometers away on top of Bangkok’s big city vistas. Just one of Thailand’s many extraordinary contrasts in travel. Our stay is at the Hilton Sukhumvit Hotel and it marks a somewhat significant milestone of our travels to date as we meet with our property agent, in the hotel lobby, to complete a contract for lease of our nearby Sukhumvit condo. After three years living in the Asoke area, just one stop down from the Hilton Sukhumvit, we recently committed to new travels for the coming year. While we will always consider Bangkok to be home, our experiences from now on will only be on passing, and seen through tourists eyes. On the upside we now get to experience Sukhumvit like we never did before and there are few better places to start than at the Hilton Sukhumvit, a spanky new high-rise, in the newly rejuvenated Phrom Phong area of the city. It’s hard not to get excited. After signing the lease in the hotel lobby, we pull ourselves from the comfort of guestroom luxuries, to instead indulge in celebratory cocktails at the Lapse rooftop pool bar.
The Rejuvenated “Em District”
The Hilton is new to the Sukhumvit skyline and being built in 2013 it is refreshing, contemporary and offers all them state-of-the-art amenities. As with most new hotels they bring many perks in technology with not only the simple necessities, like universal plug sockets, but the less simple and innovative, like built in led TVs and the modern gadgets which go with. The newness of the hotel fits well with its setting, as a rejuvenated Phrom Phong is quickly building round it. The area is actually the first area I arrived to over 10 years ago and it is an area I quickly fell in love with, but had recently got bored of. Coincidentally my first stay was on the exact same street of Sukhumvit 24. So the area stagnated and focus moved to the skytrain stop next door stop at Asoke as the new underground train line is established. While I would return for the Emporium Mall, and to escape city mayhem at Benjasiri Park, there wasn’t much new to keep me coming back. Now, however, there has been a brand new face lift to the Phrom Phong area.
The Epicentre of Sukhumvit
Directly opposite the Hilton Sukhumvit is the newly refurbished Emporium Mall, the flagship to many new developments in the area. Connecting to the Emporium is Phrom Phong skytrain station, then there’s the extended sky walks, and in five days time from our visit is the opening of EmQuartier, the newest megamall in the area. This is just the beginning of the to-be Em District, a somewhat overambitious area plan which is quickly coming to fruition. The new area is being dubbed as the Epicentre of Sukhumvit and it is developing quick with the Hilton Sukhumvit right there, in the right place, at the right time. We watch over it from the drop-off of the infinity pool while sipping Mojitos.
Executive lounges are quickly becoming my favorites things on this planet, and at the Hilton Sukhumvit we make full use of our privileges, to the extent where plans were cancelled and people were diverted. After 2 straight weeks in rural Thailand our priorities were only for eating, and international foods and drinks were top of this list. After starting on the complimentary evening cocktails our plans for the night are quickly cancelled as we fill on complimentary wines, cheeses, nibbles, cold cuts and international beers. Instead we meet friends on the bottom floors of the hotel where the opening of the new Mondo terrace bar is taking place with Diageo launching their new range of spirits, including one of my own favourites; Talisker a sexy, smoky, scotch single malt from the Isle of Skye. So during our stay at the Hilton Sukhumvit we barely leave the front doors, bar a quick run to the nearby 7-11 for Eno fruit salts to cure my overindulgence. I can say it was one of the most exciting 24 hours I’d had in a long time and it made the perfect reintroduction to the city.