What better way to do this than by coming for afternoon tea, said to be the best in Bangkok, if not in Thailand.
When you walk into the refurbished Authors' Lounge you are mesmerised by the bright and airy beauty of the double-height white space. It all feels so delicate, summery and perfect.
The room is decorated with fascinating photos of Thailand, and the Thai Royal Family, from the 19th Century, when the hotel was built, as well as notable authors associated with the hotel, such as Somerset Maugham, Joseph Conrad and Noel Coward.
There are Oriental or Western options for afternoon tea. Having tried the Vietnamese afternoon tea in the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon in January 2016, I decided I must sample the Thai option.
I started with Louis Roederer champagne, and a tartly refreshing lime & ginger sorbet, listening to the guitar player above playing familiar tunes.
The staff could not have been more sweet and charming and the presentation of the Oriental afternoon tea was stunning.
The food quickly arriving in stacked porcelain versions of dim sum steamers that were opened to reveal tantalising exotic treats.
I started with the Thai mango scone with Devonshire clotted cream and lemon curd that blew my mind. I should really, instead, have eaten the prawn toast while it was still hot.
I adored the lemongrass, chilli & lime marinated crabmeat, and minced chicken, chilli & black olive, tiny open sandwiches.
The flavours from items like the wing bean salad with chicken & prawns in betel leaves, and rice cracker with dried shrimp, chilli & spring onion, were flawless and the mini Thai curry puff interesting.
All the references to chilli make it sound very spicy but everything was just mild, flavoursome and delicious.
I finally got to the dessert container. The homemade green tea praline chocolate was mouthwatering and I adored the refreshing mango tartlet with vanilla cream. However, items like the Sai Mai Thai pancake roll with candy sugar, and Thai marzipans, were not really to my taste.
The Oriental afternoon tea is an exciting adventure and such fun to try so many new tastes.
Amanda Hyndman (General Manager) and Mayuree Laolugsanalerd (from Guest Relations)
Mayuree then joined me, after showing a high powered Bahraini delegation around the refurbishment. She insisted on ordering some of the Western afternoon tea sandwiches, for us to share, as they are so good. She was right about them.
When I last saw Mayuree last year an elderly relative of mine had just died and she was so sweet comforting me about that. She is a very special person and so easy to chat with.
Then Amanda, the GM, joined us. I hear good things about her from all the GMs I meet around the world and loved having coffee with her last year.
One of the things we discussed was my, still unresolved, issues with Four Seasons, New York regarding my New Year stay. Everyone was surprised that my Four Seasons' group profile had been messed up and no one at Four Seasons was willing to write to me to apologise for this and explain what went wrong.
The Authors' Wing
Mayuree then took me on a tour of some of the refurbished suites in the Authors' Wing.
I was stunned by the refined elegance of it all. The split level Garden Suites have a chic contemporary look, with beautiful white marble bathrooms amd stunning views of the Chao Phraya River. However, it was the lavish new 6 bedroom (600 square meter) Grand Royal Suite that took my breath away with its exquisite furnishings, second living room and large gym.
Mayuree then left me back in the Authors' Lounge to drink some more of their Oriental Blend tea and catch up on emails from my dad etc.
When I tried to pay I was told Mayuree had already dealt with that but still given Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok chocolates and a bookmark that featured Ankana Kalantanda, their longest serving employee (now partially retired) who started in 1947.
In the Bamboo Bar I was welcomed back by name. It is one of the better bars in the world but was quiet on a Monday night. I tried The Bamboo Bar Negroni (that comes with a coffee tiramisu macaron), The Bamboo Bar Martini (a gin martini that was the cleanest 'dirty' martini I have had) and their truffle salt fries. Everything in that bar is perfect and the staff are a dream.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻 (6 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok got an extra 'teddy' this time because the refurbishment on the Authors' Wing is so stunning; the Oriental afternoon tea so refined and such fun; The Bamboo Bar, & its staff, so perfect; and because of Amanda & Mayuree. My tips: you are not allowed to wear shorts in the Authors' Lounge, wear a long sleeved shirt and eat the prawn toast while it is still hot.