Vintage nostalgia in the city center.
By Federico Brandi
Bangkok’s crowds shopping on the sidewalks of streets full of cars can become overwhelming from time to time. But it’s still possible to find small oases in town that, through luxury and comfort, can transport you to another time and space. Cabochon Hotel is one of them.
Located on Sukhumvit Soi 45, not far from Phrom Phong BTS station, Cabochon— a member of Secret Retreats, a small group of luxury boutique hotels in Asia—is housed within the Walpole Building, owned and created by Taiwanese interior designer Eugene Yeh, with ivory-colored windows and columns looking to recreate a chic Shanghai of the 1920s.
After spending most of his life traveling and collecting furniture and decorative items from all over the world, Yeh fell in love with Bangkok and decided to build his second home in the city. And Cabochon did feel like a second home for me as well, the night that I stayed there. As opposed to big hotels with large impersonal lobbies, I was welcomed by a smiling and friendly staff who made me feel comfortable and protected since I arrived there.
Outside the four-story building there is a small elevated garden—a perfect spot in which to relax and enjoy tranquility during the coolest hours of the day. On the ground floor, the Joy Luck Club—named after Amy Tan’s novel—has a lounge and two private rooms, and it is decorated like a Parisian salon from the beginning of the 20th century. It features a wooden library and comfortable sofas and armchairs, and it is decorated with Louis Vuitton trunks and other colorful items. Cozy and relaxing, the environment is perfect to enjoy a drink and some finger food, and to even start writing this story. It’s a place where you can spend hours and days just sipping a fresh juice or a glass of wine, reading a book, or chatting with friends and family. A well-balanced use of wood, fabrics, and colors, create both harmony and contrast at the same time.
Next to Joy Luck Club there is an authentic vintage store called Wooden Submarine: a small paradise for those who don’t like to go shopping in big and crowded places. The shop carries everything from military accessories from the 1960s to clothes from the mid 1980s, brought by the owner from the US and everywhere else in the world. The store has authentic “vintage collectible” items, meaning that every item you will find there has a story to tell.
Across the lobby from Joy Luck Club, Thai Lao Yeh Restaurant is a successful attempt to combine Thai street food with a luxurious environment. The old-timber wall panels, the hanging birdcages, the open kitchen, the wooden decorations, the tables and seats have been placed to make a smooth transition from Joy Luck Club to the restaurant, keeping the same nostalgia in the ambience. The restaurant’s main room can host around 40 guests, and there are also two VIP rooms, which can accommodate six to eight and ten to 12 diners.
Accommodation is on the second floor. There are four studios and four suites, some of them with a balcony. Even though there is a retro feel to the atmosphere, the hotel features every possible modern amenity, from good quality Wi-Fi available even in the most remote corner of the hotel, to cable TV, a minibar, and VOIP phones, among others.
Cabochon’s rooftop is also a perfect place to unwind among marble and teakwood, particularly at sunset, when you can enjoy the view of the city lights while swimming in the 22-meter pool, admiring the skyscrapers around you.
Most of the hotel’s guests are couple and families, and its main charm in the service is the staff’s ability to make you experience luxury without excess, and with class. Certainly, the hotel offers a cozy and relaxing luxury experience in the city center.