Photo: 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok

We cannot talk about 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok without referencing the group’s original 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai, situated along the Ping River and a stone’s throw away from the vibrant three-storey Warorot Market. 

Originally a teakwood house, 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai derives its moniker from the number of pillars supporting it, symbolising the wealth and importance of its owners. Once the headquarters of the East Borneo Company, this house has a captivating history spanning nearly 200 years.

The old 137 Pillars Chiang Mai before restoration. Photo: 137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts

The house served as the Borneo Company manager’s residence until 1927 and remained its headquarters until World War II. After the war, fate led Borneo House into the hands of William Bain, the final managing director of the company.

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Following his tenure, the house found its new purpose. In 2005, it was purchased by the Wongphanlert family who envisioned it as a private sanctuary away from bustling Bangkok. And though the house had succumbed to neglect and overgrowth, Panida Wongphanlert, the driving force behind the family’s holiday home project, recognised its dormant potential and breathed new life into the forgotten abode in the form of 137 Pillars Chiang Mai.

Photo: 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok

To the south, 700km away, in the heart of Bangkok’s Little Japan, the same eternal charm can be seen throughout 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok. 

The exterior facade boasts a harmonious fusion of architectural influences, combining intricate detailing, large-format white tiles, and stately columns. 

As you step inside, you are greeted by a warm, cavernous interior that exudes refined luxury. The soaring ceilings and walls adorned with mahogany wood panels are a further show of extravagance. A massive piece of wall art, Auspicious Path by Panya Vijinthanasarn, further adds to the atmosphere of regality and splendour. 

It is, in two words, handsomely faultless.

Sustainability at its heart

Ayutthaya Suite. Photo: 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok

During my stay, I was hosted in one of the 18 Ayutthaya Suites on the property. The other three room types — all named after the great royal periods in Thai history — were equally impressive. The cosiest of the lot is the 807 sq foot Sukhothai Suite, followed by the larger Thonburi Suite and the more decadent two-bedroom Rattanakosin Suite. 

Like the other three suites on offer, the 1,022 sq foot space I was housed in is complemented by an opulent marble-tiled en-suite bathroom with a walk-in shower, circular bathtub with a built-in TV, and a spacious walk-in wardrobe. In the living room, a private dining table easily seats a party of four (or six if you’re okay with getting cosy). 

There’s a Bose sound system that seamlessly connects to your mobile devices, so you can quickly set a mood through a personalised playlist that’s all yours. The suites also boast large balconies adorned with a rocking chair, a comfortable daybed, and charming coffee table and chairs — a serene retreat in the throes of indulgence. 

And while all that’s simply par for the course for a room at 137 Pillars Suites and Residences Bangkok, what sets the property apart is its commitment to sustainability.

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Photo: 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok

For instance, the provided toiletries — shower cap, toothbrush, shaving kit, sanitary bag, and hair comb — are made from corn starch bio-compostables. These, unlike plastic, break down at the same rate as paper and don’t produce any toxic substances while decomposing. 

137 Pillars Suites and Residences Bangkok also has a partnership with the Elephant Nature Park, a rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary for elephants in Chiang Mai. The partnership aims to raise awareness for the park’s elephant conservation efforts and reforestation projects. 

Two infinity and beyond

137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok’s private rooftop infinity pool. Photo: Zat Astha

Still, while CSR efforts are noble and room facilities at 137 Pillars Suites and Residences Bangkok are anything but spectacular, nothing beats the rooftop infinity pool that’s available 24/7, exclusively for guests staying in the suites. (This is not to be mistaken for the property’s other infinity pool three floors down on the 27th floor, which also offers scenic views of the city).

I was initially sceptical about the rooftop pool’s 24-hour operation timing, but a visit at 2am found me alone, swept up in the embrace of Bangkok at night, putting to rest all doubts. It was surreal to swim right up to the precipice of the pool’s perimeter and have nothing but the city quietly breathing beneath you when, in the day, it heaves with frenzied progress.

Photo: 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok

Dining options come by way of Nimitr, 137 Pillars Suites and Residences Bangkok’s exquisite fine dining venue that’s perched on level 27. The restaurant offers seasonally inspired culinary creations within the elegant indoor ambiance, or opt for al fresco dining with panoramic views of the captivating Bangkok skyline. 

Elevated above the cityscape, Jack Bain’s Bar pays homage to the legacy of the colonial gentleman associated with 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai. The property’s other watering hole is the Bangkok Trading Post Bistro & Bar on the ground floor, which merges European traditions with delectable Western and eclectic Asian comfort cuisine.

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Small and great

Photo: Zat Astha

It’s worth noting, too, that 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok finds itself in good company with other boutique luxury accommodations enrolled in the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) program. A small wooden plaque by the entrance alludes as much, though it’s definitely a case of blink-and-you-miss-it. 

Conceived in 1992, this program embraces a handpicked collection of 500 independent, high-end hotels and resorts in more than 90 countries that exude an air of exclusivity and offer bespoke experiences. Each property ensconced within SLH is privately owned and operated, ensuring a peerless sojourn tailored to your desires.

It’s not hard to see why 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok was bestowed this award. To be embraced by the SLH tapestry, a hotel must endure a rigorous evaluation of its location, architectural splendour, design finesse, lavish amenities, impeccable service, and the contentment of guests. 

This meticulous curation process ensures that SLH maintains its coveted status, offering a seamless experience of unparalleled quality and consistency. And after three nights at 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok, I can attest that those are the same attributes that the property embraces proudly and confidently — rest assured.