Fraser Place Urbana Langsuan Review

Bangkok Hotel Reviews

FRASER PLACE URBANA LANGSUAN REVIEW

Halfway down one of Bangkok’s most uptown roads is this urbanite delight comprised of 136 visually-vibrant and all-mod-con serviced apartments. Open since 2005, Fraser Place Urbana Langsuan is hidden down a trim, 50-metre driveway bordered with white-flowering frangipani and virgin bamboo, giving it the air of a plush, exclusive, hard-to-find residence.

Plush and exclusive it is. But hard-to-find, once you’ve found your way to leafy Lang Suan Road at least, it is not. It’s gracefully curved steel and glass structure looms 37 floors over the big-city, making for one of the most defiantly stylish – and noticeable – buildings on the inner-city’s horizon…


What's it like?

The lobby here is to die for – a light, alluring, opulent space decked out in bold flourishes of flamboyant orange. Flower petal art nouveau lamps, Pollack-esque modern art and plate glass waterfalls cutting into imposing pillars of ribbed marble all pique the senses. Amidst this sumptuous clutter, the clued-up staff attends to new arrivals, while the cosmopolitan clientele perch on ultra-funky furnishings, soaking up the air of privileged tranquility.

Most, though, are either in their private orange-toned realm, out exploring the city, or admiring the dribble-inducing vistas from the chic rooftop pool. There’s also a restaurant, spa and business center, while a monthly activities calendar – ‘Salsa Sport Dance’ or ‘Noodles Evening’ anyone? – helps engender a community feel. It’s a fresh, thoughtful take on the often drably executed ‘serviced-apartment’ concept.

Where is it?

It’s in Bangkok’s Central Business District; the land of white-collar workers and nouveau riche city dwellers, of mega-million-baht business deals and, potentially, just as costly shopping…

Langsuan Road itself is a clean, calm one-way road populated with well-heeled expatriates and locals, all of whom spend their days zipping in and out of its condominiums, office blocks, chic restaurants, pricey boutique stores, cafés and townhouses. It’s Bangkok’s take on a minted Beverley Hills suburb, only with tower blocks.

Nearby is plenty of shopping and sight-seeing. At one end is Lumpini Park – an almost kilometer-wide expanse of deep natural green, the city’s largest park –  and beyond that is Silom Road, home of the mercenary but must-do night market and the theme-park seediness of Patpong.

At the other is Ploenchit Road, epicenter of high-end branded shopping (namely malls Gaysorn, CentralWorld and Erawan Plaza) and home to the swarming, glittering Erawan Shrine, among others. Sukhumvit and Siam Square are also near by (note: you need to circumnavigate the one-way system to reach these).

Taxis are easy sourced (the doormen will call you one) and there is a dedicated tuk-tuk service on the hour. But the best way to get around – especially if you’re all for leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible – is the Skytrain, the nearest stop being BTS Ratchadamri (a ten-minute walk via a small sidestreet linking to Ratchadamri Road).

What are the rooms like?

There are 136 rooms, spread over 37 floors, across two interconnecting towers, all reached by card-operated lifts. With their fruity orange tones, brash modern art, comfy modern furnishings, parquet wood floors and striking abstract lamps, they are slick and streamlined, yet also supremely welcoming.

Each one – be it studio, one-bedroom executive or two-bedroom executive – comes with a list of standard features that is, especially if you’re normally a hotel-goer, very far from standard…

They include: an open-plan black-marble kitchen with microwave, a four-ring electric hob, large fridge/freezer and a washing machine (no washing machine in studio); a home entertainment system with cable TV, DVD/CD player and radio; a study area with work desk and lamp; an iron and ironing board, a cordless telephone, an electronic safe and a free hamper of edible goodies (soft drinks, teas, noodles, biscuits)… Rarely have I seen style and functionality marry with quite such aplomb, or felt so stupendously spoilt by my surroundings.

The cheapest, the Studio rooms (a decent 45 square metres), come with a small wood-planked balcony with fairly far-reaching views. One Bedroom Executives (61-68 square metres) have a bigger balcony, an extra TV and a cozy dining corner perfect for two. Aside from extra space, the Two Bedroom Executive (85-90 square metres) comes with a smaller queen-sized bed, in addition to an extra bathroom (toilet only). Internet (wireless) costs extra, while the beds have a snug, satisfying, hi-ply cotton-ness about them.


 

Restaurants & Bars

There are heaps of swanky restaurants in the vicinity, the likes of Ninth Café and Calderazzo. Onsite eating, though, is at Amontre: a funky café-cum-restaurant sporting brown floor tiles, pale-cream/orange walls and abstract art. The atmosphere is bright and utilitarian.

Eggs-made-to-order, tropical fruit, salad, cereals and other popular morning fodder make up the ample (and inclusive) breakfast buffet, during which guests sit at shiny modern tables, sipping endless coffee, eyes fixed on a huge TV screening CNN. An a la carte menu is also available day and night, serving pizzas, pastas and sandwiches alongside chef recommendations and Thai dishes, often with a fusiony twist (room service available).

Facilities

Spa, swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, kids club, a tennis court, pool table and a basketball court... Far from being just a striped-down serviced apartment, Fraser Place Urbana Langsuan also features what is, essentially, a health club, albeit a very low-key, quiet one. Highlights are the gleefully colourful gym with hi-tech treadmills, weights and the like (33rd floor). And, next door, the three-treatment-room spa called ‘Terra Cotta’ (the ‘Swedish Touch’, just one of many available treatments, is as splendid as its sounds).

My favourite, though, is the blue-tiled infinity pool, which sits stretched between towers A & B on the 33rd floor, beautifully poised over the city beneath. Its smart wood decking, curving faux-rattan sunloungers and body-length plate-glass windows make, surely, for one of the coolest panoramic pool settings in town. The views – Lumpini and Sathorn lurching beneath you on one side, Langsuan, Chidlom and Siam Square on the other – are electric, especially at night when the city lights up like a vast, sprawling circuit-board.

Other facilities include ‘The Retreat’, the in-house Business Centre that isn’t afraid to mix business (a 20-person capacity meeting room) with pleasure (a rejuvenation room with massage chairs, and an inspiration room for meditative brain-storming sessions).  And, up one floor, the techni-coloured Kids Room, with its tactile play spaces and horde of toddler-friendly toys (a baby-sitting service is also available). There’s also a car park.

The Verdict

One night or one month, staying here is a pleasure. In addition to its swish contemporary style, love of the mod-con and superior uptown location, Fraser Place Urbana Langsuan gives you a wonderful feeling of living in a world free of mayhem and complication. Businesspeople, families and couples of the space-seeking variety, as well as fans of the colour orange, will not be disappointed.

Reviewed by Max Crosbie-Jones


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