Dec 1, 2019
THE LAND OF SMILES and its dynamic hospitality scene always makes this annual selection hard. Of all the new hotel, resort, restaurant and bar openings in Thailand during 2019, these are our picks of the best.
BEST NEW HOTELS IN THAILAND 2019
Rosewood had a big 2019, and among their host of openings is this residential-style hotel tower whose room count includes four with their own plunge pools and two with Jacuzzis. Nan Bei is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Bangkok, and certainly the best looking; top-floor loft-like speakeasy Lennon’s has a 6,000-strong vinyl collection. With a skywalk to the Skytrain station and its proximity to the expressway, the hotel also has strong traffic jam–avoidance bragging rights.
rosewoodhotels.com; doubles from Bt9,900.
Hyatt Regency Bangkok
Rolling down three flash levels atop this new shiner on central Sukhumvit is Spectrum, a club/lounge/roofbar designed by Japanese cool kids Super Potato, where the high-end snacks menu includes pata negra and lobster rolls, and the best seats in the house are beachclub-style banquettes floating in the skyline. Rooms are all about the views, too, with floor-to-ceiling windows firmly rooting you in the city. Market Café has authentic Thai fare, the outdoor pool is cute and leafy, and you’ve got direct access to the Skytrain for a life of ease.
hyatt.com; doubles from Bt5,100.
InterContinental Phuket Resort
On a stunning stretch of what is known as Millionaires’ Mile on Thailand’s most popular island, heaven makes a strong play for being an actual place on Earth. Inspired by the Traibhumikatha, the ancient Thai text, which explains heaven, this new beach resort brims with works by local artists that reinterpret the theme—and a trip to Sati Spa, where treatments incorporate age-old Asian wisdom, will make you feel divine. There are six pools, three kitchens that prioritize sustainability and local sourcing, and 180-degree panoramas over Kamala Beach.
ihg.com; doubles from Bt6,080.
The Inside House, Chiang Mai
Courtesy of The Inside House (2)
With plenty of pretty stays on offer in Chiang Mai, Thailand’s hub for boutique hotels, few stand out like this Lanna colonial-style house. The dreamy stark-white mansion features seven different categories of pool suites—you can swim on your balcony, then take a star-lit bath out there too if the mood strikes—all of which manage to be both elegant with their marble floors and homey with their tropical floral accents. Daily complimentary high tea, which includes homemade treats and local teas, is the cherry on top.
the-insidehouse.com; doubles from Bt7,590.
BEST NEW RESTAURANTS AND BARS IN THAILAND 2019
Siri House, Bangkok
Finally, a place that transitions seamlessly from day to eve, making it two of the best new restaurants and one of the best new bars in Thailand in 2019. The clubby Siri House invites you in from breakfast right through midnight: come for impeccable classic breakfast and brunch fare at Luka Café, stay for flame-happy Quince with its great grilled meats and melty cheeses, and let cocktail bar Jacqueline keep you fueled along the way. The multi-nook Midcentury villa is a cozy spot to see and be seen, and the tropical garden with photogenic pool is a lovely place to explore their well-considered wine list.
Don’t let the awesome wallpaper fool you. On the wide-ranging menu at the city’s new Instagram darling, the tastes more than match up to the aesthetics. Their foie gras doughnuts and uni tart (and pink-velour room draped in flowers) may have lit up your newsfeed but comfort food, like the tender grilled pork chop and the heavenly hot smoked salmon, is what’ll keep you coming back. Kick off in the classy bar with a butterfly pea-tinged Yuzu Loulou, and wrap up with a pre-ordered melt-in-your-mouth, burnt-edged tarte tatin. Don’t forget to hit the hidden head at some point; it’s a delight in its own right.
miarestaurantbkk.com; dinner for two Bt3,000.
Crimson Room, Bangkok
With a mini amphitheater in the middle of the city, the team behind award-winning Rabbit Hole has turned the speakeasy trend on its head—or just taken it back a century, to the Jazz Age. The gold-cage bar up top serves drinks to a solid crowd of beautiful people perched in descending tiers of red-velvet booths, facing the full band swinging on the front-and-center stage nightly.
fb.com/crimsonroombkk; drinks for two Bt800.
Samrub Samrub Thai, Bangkok
The maestro who’d been running the line at Nahm for years, chef Prin Polsuk, has been teasing our palates with pop-ups of his deeply researched, forgotten Thai-cookbook recipes. Now he’s settled into his own space, a tiny chef’s-table, open-kitchen restaurant hidden within like-minded locavore 100 Mahaseth. Expect seasonal flavors on a monthly changing menu; November’s inaugural included clam, prawn and basil soup, and squid with hearts of palm. Get booking—it only seats 10 diners at a time.
fb.com/samrubsamrubthai; set menus Bt3,200–4,500 depending on ingredients.