Offering culturally enriched tours to culinary delights and more, the bustling South Asian city is a travel hotspot unlike any other. HELLO! took in all of these sensory experiences on a trip to the Thai capital, as a special guest at an exclusive showing of Gucci’s latest high jewellery collection. Roohi Oomerbhoy Jaikishan recounts her time there.
There’s nothing quite like waking up to the sight of long-tail boats floating down the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, catching the beauty of the sun rising or savouring the sight with drinks at sunset. My husband Chetan and I were surrounded by such oriental beauty on a trip to the Thai capital as special invitees for the Gucci High Jewellery preview.
We checked into Bangkok’s grand old madame, the Mandarin Oriental, where we soaked up the hotel’s illustrious history in the Author’s Wing, once a haunt for such eminent writers as Somerset Maugham and Joseph Conrad. While here, we decided to take it slow on our first day and enjoy the evening with a cocktail — or two — at The Bamboo Bar, a historic haunt in the city for lovers of all things music.
High On Gucci
On the day of the exhibition, we were geared up for an elaborate experience in signature Gucci style. The luxury label chose the magnificent Phaya Thai Palace on the banks of the Samsen Canal for the showcase. As we entered the palace, a beautiful space that fuses classic European and Thai architecture, we were transported to a time from a century ago.
The Phaya Thai Palace was the ideal choice for the exhibit, given that it’s steeped in history and culture and is a popular tourist attraction. It perfectly fits the theme of Gucci’s new high jewellery collection, which is rooted in travel and memories, beautiful and mystical, coexisting with the wonders of the world. The collection evokes impressions of Roman ruins, mythical Greece and gorgeous European landscapes — each with a beauty comparable to that of this idyllic location.
The palace entrance was adorned with exotic flowers like a beautiful garden, inspired by the collection titled ‘Hortus Deliciarium’, which means garden of delights. Each room was decorated with bespoke Gucci carpeting and furniture, complemented further by jewellery-laden cabinets.
The collection on display was exquisite, to say the least. The third one in the Hortus Deliciarum high jewellery line by outgoing Creative Director Alessandro Michele, the edit was presented in five themes, taking onlookers through chapters of a travel diary. The pieces were embellished with vibrant blue topazes, sparkling diamonds, ethereal emeralds and spinels, all a kaleidoscope of mesmerising colours that transport one on an “imaginary grand tour, starting in the mid-19th century and continuing to the 1970s”.
For those wondering why Gucci opted to stage its preview in Bangkok, it’s because the Thai market of jewellery enthusiasts evolved tremendously over the years, an indication of the South Asian country’s growing wealth. Statistics show that Thailand’s revenue in the luxury goods industry amounts to US$4.28 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow annually by 6.15 percent (CAGR 2022-2027).
The Beauty Of Bangkok
Once done with a grand tour of Gucci’s stunning new jewellery, the sights and sounds of Bangkok beckoned. We started with a trip to The Grand Palace, the royal complex built in the 18th century by King Rama I, where we marvelled at the incredible murals and gold-roofed buildings adorned with porcelain tiles.
Also inside the palatial complex is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, an absolute gem and a must-visit. Anyone intrigued by Thai silk should make a trip to the Jim Thompson House Museum, which offers guided tours through the day.
The traditional wooden Thai house is surrounded by a beautiful garden and filled with the antiques from Asia and Europe that the American businessman — who helped revitalise the Thai silk industry in the 1950s and 1960s — collected over his lifetime.
No travel diary is complete without taking in all the culinary delights a place has to offer. And Bangkok is near synonymous with food! I would surely recommend making a reservation at the Michelin-starred Le Du and Nahm. Among our other favourite fine-dining options were Sorn and Gaa. Bo.lan and Issaya Siamese Club are worth a visit, too. The Foodhall at EmQuartier and Takashimaya at Iconsiam warrant a special mention for the delectable fare on offer.
Rooftop bars are a whole other experience in Bangkok, as here, you not only get to imbibe the innovative drinks on the menu but also take in the spectacular sights this vibrant city has to offer. Above Eleven and Spectrum Lounge & Bar at Hyatt Regency are splendid. For the highest rooftop experience in Bangkok, there’s Vertigo at Banyan Tree. The Speakeasy Rooftop Bar at Hotel Muse was another such bar we enjoyed.
It’s no secret that Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise. From street shopping to high-end retailers, there’s something for every kind of shopping aficionado here. Surely set aside some time to browse through Siam Paragon, Iconsiam and EmQuartier.
While we were put up at the Mandarin Oriental, The Park Hyatt is another favourite for us in BKK. It’s an oasis of tranquility designed by the acclaimed firm Yabu Pushelberg and AvroKO, the interior design group responsible for the hotel’s glamorous Penthouse Bar + Grill. The reigning aesthetic here is Zen simplicity, a calming and luxurious place to retreat after a day in the bustling city.
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in HELLO! India’s December 2022 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!