When I told a friend that I had a cycling tour scheduled in my Bangkok itinerary, their response, one of intrigue and confusion, was: “On the roads of Bangkok?” This was quickly followed by, “Will you have time to shop?”
Tropical pool at Conrad Bangkok
I couldn’t blame them.
For most Singaporeans, a trip to Bangkok translates to a cramped itinerary of bargaining, shopping, and eating. But given that it’d be my first overseas trip since the pandemic, I was ready to focus on experiences that stretch beyond the usual – and this was exactly what Conrad had to offer.
On this trip, I experienced two of Conrad’s accommodations on the opposite spectrums of a vacation – one in the bustling capital of Thailand, the other in Koh Samui. Individually, each had a quality that made it stand out. Yet together, they were a gateway to authentic experiences that left me feeling inspired — in a manner only Conrad could provide.
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- CONRAD BANGKOK
- CONRAD KOH SAMUI
From deluxe rooms to the presidential suite, the hotel’s interiors are the brainchild of Ray Chuang, of Cheng Chung Design. Gold and brushed-bronze elements fill the Premium King Room, which is furnished with traditional Thai decor and natural wood accents. State-of-the-art technology are aplenty, in the form of an intelligent climate control systems, calibrated lights, and digital key access.
The same consideration extends to digitized in-room-dining menus, as well as bulk Byredo toiletries. Leftover soap bars are upcycled through Hilton’s Soap for Hope program, which works with non-profit organisations to turn used soaps into new soap bars for distribution to the needy.
While the property’s prime location made it easy for me to duck out for a Michelin-starred meal, staying in was a favorable option. I’d wanted to avoid the city’s notorious traffic, too, especially as I was navigating from its busiest commercial thoroughfare.
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At their award-winning Cantonese restaurant, Liu, my meal followed a course menu of Chef Andy Fung’s greatest hits, from Traditional Peking Duck to a Sauteed Angus Beef drizzled with Thai basil sauce. Meanwhile, The City Terrace is the best spot for a wellness meal prepared with ingredients sourced from local farms. Dishes are served against the hotel’s outdoor pool, alongside an assortment of cocktails and sparkling revitalizers.
The hotel remains convenient with direct access to All Seasons Shopping Mall and a complimentary shuttle to Phloen Chit BTS station, which linked me with popular shopping destinations. Otherwise, activities at the hotel take place on a floor devoted to the 24-hour gym and spa.
Lest you get bored, a cycling tour in ‘Green Lung’ (or Bang Krachao) island lets you get out and experience the community first-hand. This is one of the tours curated by the team at Conrad Bangkok. A mere 10-minute boat ride from the city centre and you’ll find islanders hawking agricultural produce from their farms and attap dwellings where you can partake in workshops to make tie-dye scarves and essential oils with natural materials found on the island. There, in contrast to Bangkok’s high-octane roads, I found myself lost in whisper-quiet alleys where friendly street dogs were my only companions.
- CONRAD BANGKOK
- CONRAD KOH SAMUI
Conrad Koh Samui
There is a change of scenery once you leave the cityscape to venture into Koh Samui. The one-lane roads, while twisting, exhibit the charm of the island. And at its South-Western tip, an open-air lobby immediately impresses once it comes into sight.
Leaving my individual pool villa was hard, with features like a private infinity pool, furnished open-deck terrace, and stunning ocean view. As I gazed out into the Gulf of Thailand, I felt the need to put away my phone and disconnect. And this is exactly what everyone who works on the property hopes guests will do.
Your food cravings are kept to a minimum at Conrad Koh Samui’s six restaurants and bars, where there is a good mix of Western and Asian preparation. Emphasis is on organic produce harvested from their on-property Iris Farm, which spans two acres and practises the hotel’s zero-waste, farm-to-table philosophy. As I plodded around sharp-eyed hens and ducks during our tour, collecting but a handful of the 6,000 eggs the hotel harvests monthly, I was told the property plans to have its vegetable demands met through the farm by 2025.
Their main restaurant, Zest, serves an impressive breakfast spread — including an egg station where each dish is prepared with a mix of one chicken and one duck egg, as well as a smoothie station with fresh fruits and a bicycle-powered blender. There’s also a charcoal grill station for moo ping skewers, and a selection of sausages, bacon, and ham delivered from the in-house butchery at the base of the resort.
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Sweat out the indulgences with activities arranged by villa manager Khun Ball and his team. Aside from poolside yoga sessions and spa services, you can enjoy thrilling watersports like jet-skiing and stand-up paddle boarding. If you can’t get enough vitamin sea, take advantage of Conrad Koh Samui’s private pier, which is available for complimentary snorkelling and island-hopping excursions. Finally, nearby Koh Madsum (or Pig Island), roadless and uninhabited, is a favorite of many visitors.
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