The grand old Oriental, which has sat overlooking the Chao Phraya River for over 130 years, is a Bangkok institution. Anyone who was anyone in Asia colonial days stayed here. A whole Writers wing is devoted to the memory of authors such as Maugham, Coward, Michener, Conrad and Greene. Potted Palms and languid ceiling fans whisper of hot afternoons spent drinking pink gin and playing canasta. Ironic that Maugham should have a suite named after him considering he had malaria on his first visit and was almost evicted, so the story goes, because the management didn't want him to ruining their business by dying in one of the rooms.
The Oriental Spa situated across the river in a traditional teak-carved Thai house.