BANGKOK, THAILAND… A knock on the door that morning produced one Thai lady who stood 4'9". "Room massage?" she asked and then answered her own question by taking out bottles of sweet-scented oils. "Nice view," she added as she looked around The Regent Bangkok's plush suite draped in rose-colored silk and Thai teak furniture.
The Hotel Lobby - Reflections of a golden era
I never would have imagined such a lush setting at such modest prices (Junior Suite is $200), or a locale so conveniently situated between the city's business and entertainment districts. With one stroll through the lobby, I felt as though I'd been swept into some bygone era with the Regent Bangkok resembling more a palace than hotel. Call it déjà vu but most guests are bound to feel part of a romantic 1930s movie where the men come attired in elegant dinner jackets and women in floor length beaded gowns. No wonder I felt funny in my cargo pants, rumpled t-shirt, and hiking boots, a holdover from a trip to Nepal.
Suddenly a voice interrupts my dream. "We begin?" asks the diminutive masseuse with the tiniest hands. "Sorry," I explain, "but I was thinking about last night's dinner in The Spice Market -- red curry with roasted duck in coconut oil." She smiles. "Take off bathrobe please."
As I disrobe, she flips me over and begins walking on my back! "Thai massage" she explains. Deftly, she moves her feet up and down my body, paying special attention to my aching muscles, and then pummels all the pressure points. "Your body is not balanced," she says. But I already know this having been on the road for two weeks and feeling the strain.
With pulsating motions across my shoulders and neck, I smell the oil scented with apricots and fragrant flowers. Slowly the energy re-enters my body and all anxiety drains from my mind and spirit.
The hour is up and I'm pleasantly surprised that the fee is just $30 for a personal room visit. "Wait," the therapist says and reaches for more oil. Gently, she pours a thimbleful on my hair and rubs my scalp. When she leaves I fall back on my bed and begin daydreaming of Bangkok and the Tuk Tuk.
Ask anyone who has visited Bangkok with its crowded city of 8 million, and they'll tell you to avoid the snarled traffic. A new monorail hums overhead, yet flocks of tourists find themselves attracted to the unconventional three-wheeled taxi called the Tuk
It turns out that the story I'm about to tell you matches those of other vacationers, and it all begins with insisting on your destination. "Bargain shopping!" I call out to the driver, for this is what Bangkok is known for. The ride will cost only one dollar, but he insists on stopping first at his uncle's boutique. "No, take me to the shops…" My voice trails off as we zoom past an open air market with deals on silk ties and blouses. "Stop!" I call out. Finally he pulls over. (Perhaps I should have seen his uncle's store?)
Little wonder I took a cab coming home. Although it wasn't as exciting as being careened around Bangkok in a Tuk
Tuk, it was quieter and more relaxing. But not as relaxing as the hotel. All at once a clerk greets me by name, while another insists on carrying my parcels upstairs. Amazing service, but maybe that's why The Regent Bangkok made the 1999 Gold List in Conde Nast as the #1 city center hotel, and recently was voted by Travel & Leisure as one of the Best Value Hotels in Asia.
I turn the key and the room is immaculate from the obstacle course I left. The maid has rearranged my messy luggage that was spread out all over the floor, and has made changes in the enormous walk-in closet where all my souvenirs have been relocated into one neat pile.
After relaxing in the city's largest hotel pool, I wind my way to the lobby and admire the hand painted Thai silk mural and silk ceiling frescos. What to do tomorrow? Tuk
Tuk? Oh no. I think I'll request a Thai lady to walk on my back.
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THE REGENT BANGKOK
A Four Seasons Hotel
155 Rajadmari Road
Phone: 662-251-6127 Fax: 662-254-5390
Daily rates from $200 (Superior Room) to Deluxe Suite ($495)
THE REGENT BANGKOK'S "SUMMER 2000 CELEBRATION" (Valid through December 31, 2000)
"The Ultimate Regent Club" *One night stay in Superior Room with Internet TV and Laptop Connect; *The Regent Club's 24-hour service, including business facilities, meeting rooms, private concierge; *Express check-out in The Regent Club; *Complimentary local calls and no surcharge for credit card access calls; *Complimentary pressing; *Welcome tea and daily fruit basket; *24-hour Health Club including personal TV with headsets, aerobic studio, yoga, steam. $210/single/Double $245 per night.
"Leisure and Spa" *Minimum two night stay in a Superior Room; *Round trip Mercedes Benz airport transfers; *American Breakfast; *Welcome tea and daily fruit basket; *1 hour Oriental, Aromatherapy or Thai message in Health Club; *30 minute facial in 'Clinique La Prairie' spa; *personalized fitness consultation in Health Club.
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"The LIVEWIRE" for Travel
Watch. Former President of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, and created the national writers conference, "The Days of Wine &
She is a travel and entertainment reporter living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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