End of an era as Bangkok's Dusit Thani hotel prepares to close

Karla Cripps, CNNPublished 9th November 2018
(CNN) — Travelers hoping to experience one of the oldest luxury hotels in Bangkok will want to book their flights ASAP.
The Dusit Thani Bangkok, a city icon famed for its striking modernist architecture, is closing its doors in early 2019.
It will be torn down to make way for a mixed-use project that will include a rebuilt version of the hotel.
Though the new Dusit Thani will undoubtedly be spectacular, nostalgic locals are sad to see the original go. They're using these final months as a chance for one last visit.
"So many Thais, as well as expats, have told me how many memories they have of the hotel," says Titiya Chooto, Dusit VP of operations and general manager of Dusit Thani.
"As part of the transition into the new chapter we're now showcasing what we've been legendary for. The graciousness, the beauty of the building, the architecture, the people side, the product side -- every single bit of it. It's a lot to be proud of."
When Dusit Thani's familiar edifice disappears next year, it will forever change the skyline in one of the busiest parts of the city -- a view many Bangkok residents have grown up with.
Sitting on a corner of prime land at the Rama IV and Silom Road junction across from Lumpini Park, the Dusit Thani first opened its doors in 1970.
At the time, it was Bangkok's tallest and most luxurious hotel, earning a reputation among the travel set for its attention to detail.
Designed by Japanese architect Yozo Shibata and inspired by Bangkok's Temple of Dawn, it represented a new era for the Thai capital and quickly became a hotspot on the dining and event scene, its function rooms hosting many weddings of the rich and famous.
A section of wall on the mezzanine floor is covered in faded black and white photos of the recognizable names and faces who have stayed in its suites over the years, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Whitney Houston, Ronald Reagan and Tom Jones.

Classic Thai designs

A recent stay revealed a property full of warmth, charm and traditional Thai decor so many travelers once eagerly sought out -- that means plenty of teakwood, classical Siamese art works and fine silks.
The Dusit Thani has 517 rooms and suites, which feature a variety of themes and decor. Basic guestrooms offer more subtle Thai influences, while decor in the higher end options, like the Ratanakosin Suite, are inspired by Thailand's historical eras.
Even if you're not staying at the hotel, it's worth dropping by for a drink or a meal. (And be sure to visit the hotel's funky octagonal pool, which wouldn't look out of place in a campy 1970s film.)
The hotel offers six dining options, including Benjarong (contemporary Thai), The Mayflower (Cantonese) and Vietnamese eatery Thien Duong.
In need of a red meat fix? Head for the excellent Hamilton's Steakhouse -- once upon a time one of the only place in Bangkok to get a decent cut of meat. Table service in this classic restaurant is as good as it gets.
If you only have time for one Dusit Thani experience, make it the Beyond the Boundaries weekend brunch, on from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
It's as decadent as it gets -- a fitting farewell to what was once one of Bangkok's most decadent hotels. There's free flow wine and a massive selection of sushi and other seafood on ice, as well as grilled fish and Canadian lobster, Alaskan king crab, river prawns, New Zealand mussels, Scottish scallops and plenty of imported oysters.
Diners can order as many main dishes as they like off a menu that includes dim sum, NZ lamb, lobster thermidor and grilled US rib-eye steak then finish off the day at the cheese cart or the dessert buffet.

What comes next?

The Dusit Thani was originally due to close earlier this year but planning on the new project was delayed. This is great news for those wanting more time to enjoy the original before it closes for good on January 5, 2019.
In the lead-up to the closure, a number of events and promotions are happening, such as charitable concerts and fashion shows, concluding with a large New Year's Eve gala.
The new Dusit Thani is due to open in 2022 and will be part of a 36.7 billion baht (US$1.1 billion) project made up of commercial and retail space as well as residences, built in partnership with Thai developer Central Pattana PLC.
"I'm so excited about the return of this property in a few years' time," says Titiya.
"While incorporating the latest technology, we will ensure the essence of Dusit Thani Bangkok is kept. Certain furniture, art pieces...we'll bring a lot of those things into our new property. The 'Thainess,' which is our signature, will always be part of Dusit Thani."
Dusit Thani, 946 Rama IV Road, Bangkok; +66 (0)2 200 9000