Above: A Metal Element room.
We had a chance recently to check out the new Sofitel So Bangkok. Technologically innovative and design conscious, this 30-storey property is a trendy urban enclave whose design embraces the five elements of water, earth, metal, wood, and fire. Each of the hotel’s 238 rooms and suites have been designed around one of those elements, with a different interior designer responsible for each theme.
The designers collaborated with Thai architect Smith Obayawat and the French fashion designer Monsieur Christian Lacroix. The latter designed the staff uniforms (inspired by traditional Thai attire) and helped create the hotel’s “tree of life” emblem combining the colors of all five elements.
Because each room type has different features, it pays to do a bit of research before booking. Here’s a brief guide to the elements:
** Masterminded by Somchai Jongsaeng, the Metal Element rooms offer minimalism at its finest, with sleek white furniture and metal details.
** The Wood Element rooms, designed by Nithi Sthapitanonda, are tranquil and warm and might appeal more to older guests.
** You’d be forgiven for having aqua-dreams in Vitoon Kunalungkarn’s Earth Element room. These are based on the underground caves of northern Thailand, so it’s somewhat surprising the dominant color is ravishing blue. The primitive-style Thai art on the walls is sure to be a hit with kids.
** Utilizing their location on the hotel’s higher floors, the Water Element rooms, designed by Pongthep Sagulku, feature a bathtub with a direct view of the city’s skyline.
Those who like their gadgetry won’t likely be disappointed at this hotel. Each room includes an Apple Mac mini (with integrated entertainment and guest services), a 40-inch LCD television, a wireless keyboard, a trackpad, and, of course, Wi-Fi. The suites include iPads, as well.
The hotel’s public areas have been inspired by the element of fire. The aptly named Red Oven restaurant features live cooking stations and a central red Molteni oven. The hotel houses five other food and beverage outlets: Park Society Restaurant and Bar, Park Society & Hi So, Mixo, the Water Club, and Chocolab. Most exude a sense of warmth and energy, with flame-inspired décor.
Opened in February, this is the Sofitel So brand’s second property overall (following the December 2010 launch of the Sofitel So Mauritius resort) and the first in an urban setting like Bangkok. The brand is more design-focused than its sister brand Sofitel and clearly aims at a younger market. Watch for more Sofitel So properties opening in Mumbai and Singapore within the next few years.
2 North Sathorn Road, Bangrak, Bangkok; 66-2/624-0000.