At a glitzy press conference in Bangkok last week, Accor and King Power made a surprising announcement: That the two companies have paired up to create a new hotel brand, debuting next year within the city’s famed Mahanakhon building. Why that’s surprising — because this same space had, for some time, been publicized as a soon-to-be Edition hotel by Marriott, a series of ultra-luxe hotels conceived by prominent American hotelier Ian Schrager.
So, we learned, Marriott is out — and Accor, instead, is in the building, prepping the launch of its new hotel, Orient Express. It will sit on the upper floors of the King Power Mahanakhon Building, home of the newsmaking rooftop glass skywalk, and will have aesthetic nods and references to the old school luxury train travel from which the Orient Express got its name.
The 154-room project will be the first in a limited chain for the company, which plans to open just 10 of them by 2030. Most of these properties will be built in cities that the historic train passed through.
It’s unclear what happened to the Marriott Edition project, but the opening had been pushed back several times, and ownership for the upper levels of the building changed hands earlier this year — sold from developer Pace Corporation to King Power — and which possibly voided the original deal.
Michael Issenberg, Chairman and CEO of Accor Hotels Asia Pacific, called the launch one of the most exciting for the hotel company in a decade, saying: “We are bringing some of the best names in hospitality to reimagine the art of luxury travel for the Orient Express Bangkok. These include Tristan Aur as interior designer, who has been tasked with re-creating the art deco style of the original train carriages into a modern skyscraper in this busy city.”
Issenberg also said that Chef David Thompon, of Nahm fame, will open Mahanathi and Mott 32 on the property — the former, a Thai eatery, and the latter, a high-end contemporary Chinese restaurant whose name references the address of the very first Chinese convenience store in New York City.
Orient Express Mahanakhon Bangkok will also feature an entire wellness floor with an outdoor pool, jacuzzi, and Orient Express Spa by Guerlain. Hotel guests can use the rooftop observation desk too. Not bad, considering entrance to that attraction usually costs THB1,050 (US$31) on its own.