(With apologies to Keith Olbermann . . .)
Travel and Leisure has released its best hotels in the world list. I’ve stayed in number three, and it deserves that ranking and then some. If they rated the hotels on a combination of luxury and history, The Oriental in Bangkok would never be less than number one.
It is the hotel where W. Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene and Noel Coward famously stayed, and their Author’s Wing still has suites named after them. I read Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham while I was there, in his honor.
We were met at the barge drop off by several people, all of whom insisted on getting our bags. They gave us a big upgrade—three levels, they said—and we jokingly wondered which of the authors’ suites we would be put in.
The room was quite large, with wood paneling, a balcony overlooking the river, a walk-in closet, an a huge patheroom with a very deep tub and separate shower stall. Right as we were about to leave for a clothes fitting, the floor butler came in and introduced herself. We weren’t sure what use we would have for a floor butler, but tipped her anyway and went on our way.
As part of Seth’s Amex package we were allowed a continental breakfast on the veranda and a free lunch as well. The breakfast consisted of coffee or tea, fruit juice, a fruit platter and a basket of bread with preserves—a pretty standard continental breakfast—but I’ve never been waited upon more thoroughly. Every time I drained my coffee cup a third of the way, a waiter was there to refill it, every time we ate a roll from the basket, it was replaced.
I’m sure all the hotels on the list are very good. We stuck our head into number ten when we were in Agra—it was luxurious and beautiful—but there’s something to be said for history. If you’re only going to stay at one of these hotels, once in your life, The Oriental might be the best choice of all.
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