Our return to this iconic, timeless Bangkok Grande Dame was long awaited. local interior design celebrities P49Deesign and Associates have reimagined two wings, bringing the colonial splendour of the historical building completely up to date for the luxe traveller, but holding on to the old-world charm offered for over a century.

In the Garden Wing, 12 new suites have been appointed, to match the style of the old Oriental Hotel, albeit in a more modern setting. Our garden Suite offered a gorgeous view of the river, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lush garden. Our sophisticated, colonial-inspired bedroom featured a split-level space with dining room and living area; a large marble bathroom; and walk in wardrobe. in the adjacent author’s Wing, we were in awe of the decadent ambassador and Royal Suites; as well as the four first- floor Author’s Suites. The rest of the space was sumptuous and elegant; we particularly liked Khun Ankana’s Study, a beautifully secluded spot created in tribute to the inimitable Ankana Kalantananda, who joined the team in 1947 and holds the record as the hotel’s longest serving member of staff. We sat and read Noel Coward here, until we were called for afternoon tea, running late because the corridors on the way acted as a fascinating museum, with archive material showcasing the hotel’s history.

Across the water by boat, we took a Muay Thai class in the hotel’s sprawling gym, which knocked us for six after just thirty minutes of sand-bag kicking. luckily, a fabulous deep tissue massage in the Oriental Spa sorted us out. We then dined in the Sala rim Naam on a multi-course feast that came with a Thai cultural show, not something we’d recommend to seasoned travellers to the land of Smiles, but a good first-night acclimatisation for newbies.

www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok

48 Oriental Ave, Khwaeng Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand