This was actually my first time in Bangkok. I'd previously by-passed the bustling capital to head straight for the southern beaches, so it was great to finally visit. The trip was capped off with a stay at the stunning Banyan Tree Phuket to rekindle my love of Thai Resorts.
I love arriving in a new destination at night when it's dark, because you have the excitement of waking up the following day to see a new place for the very first time. My very early jetlagged wake-up time of 4am therefore didn't bother me, as I pulled back the curtains in my suite to watch an amazing sunrise over the river. A pretty nice intro to this buzzy city. My room was up so high that I could even watch the birds flying past my window.
It was a fairly brief stop in Bangkok but we managed to fit in some sightseeing of the main highlights; the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. The Grand Palace would be one of the most visited sights in Bangkok and the day we were there certainly was no exception, the place was packed!! We managed to meander through the crowds and learn about the history of Thailand whilst appreciating the unique architecture. Next stop was Wat Pho; the oldest temple in Bangkok to see the giant reclining Buddha. We drove through China Town which reminded me of the streets of Hanoi. I'd love to go back and walk around explore the area on foot.
WHERE I STAYED: Banyan Tree Bangkok
A gorgeous 5 star city hotel. I stayed in the Serenity Club Suite room category which have all recently been renovated. The rooms were extremely spacious and contemporary, with a heavenly bath which was the perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing! The highlight for me was alfresco dining at Vertigo, on the rooftop of Banyan Tree 61 floors above the bustling streets of Bangkok. The view was amazing. You know you're up high when most of the buildings are below you.
WHERE I STAYED: Banyan Tree Phuket
A gorgeous all-villa 5 star resort in the Laguna area of Phuket, far from the hustle and bustle of Patong Beach. This is the resort you want to go to for some luxury, pampering and relaxation. Our 2 bedroom private pool villa could comfortably accommodate a large family or two groups of friend's. The resort provides really cute, vintage bicycles to hotel guests which are used to get around the large resort grounds - the perfect way to arrive at breakfast in the morning, or make your way to the beach. Oh the beach... my favourite place - Banyan Tree guests have access to a pristine stretch of beach which was so peaceful and quiet, it was the perfect place to relax and truly escape.
We also did an inspection of the more family-friendly sister property Angsana Resort. This resort is fab for families and younger couples with loads of activities available and a very cool beach bar 'Xana' which has a great vibe throughout the day.
WHO I FLEW: Royal Brunei Airlines
We flew on the Dreamliner and I was really impressed with the on-board comfort. Very generous legroom in economy and top service! I also love the window design - there's no shutters, but instead a button to dim the windows to block out light so you can still see out the window, whilst reducing the glare on the screen at the same time. Genious! The one draw-back of no alcohol being served on-board was easily avoided by taking our own supply on-board (and yes we did feel a bit desperate pulling out the bottle of alcohol to pour ourselves haha). You just have to make sure you purchase it duty free AFTER you've gone through the security check-point otherwise it will be taken off you.
Business class was equally impressive with fully lie-flat beds, although the lack of premium alcohol on-board did taint the experience somewhat. Being served a welcome drink of fruit juice didn't quite have the same effect as a nice glass of French Champagne! For value and comfort I'd still give Royal Brunei Business a 10/10.