Perched on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel is Vertigo – Bangkok’s perfect escape in the heart of the city.
The experience upon entering the hotel lobby is one of serene calmness and sanctuary. Taking its inspiration from Thai heritage, it is combined with the most modern décor and design to create a modern interior of the absolute highest standard. You may only have stepped foot inside the lobby, but your experience starts here.
Once in the lift you accelerate towards the 61st floor with ease and upon arrival are greeted by attentive and informative staff. If possible you should delay your reservation at Vertigo to sample the delights of Vertigo Too, the accompanying bar located just a few floors below. Here they offer the perfect start to an evening with day bed style sofas and chairs butting right up the full height windows giving you a glimpse of the Bangkok skyline that awaits you on the rooftop. Vertigo Too stocks an excellent variety of drinks including some fine Japanese whiskey’s and world-class wines. The atmosphere in the early evening is very relaxed although they often feature live music later on should you wish to extend your time at the Banyan.
Taking the stairs to the final destination of Vertigo only builds upon the anticipation and excitement. The restaurant itself is divided into multiple sections across several mezzanine floors, accessed via small flights of stairs outside – this gives the feeling of seclusion but also allows all diners unrivalled views and access to the skyline. The menus here are set out with a huge amount of choice, but also guidance for those unfamiliar with the dishes or the accompanying wines. Simple elements have been well thought through here, the menus are all backlit making them easy to read in the lowlight of the evening, the tables are not cluttered, but well decorated to reflect the style and ethos of the hotel.
Opting for the 4-course meal you are served small but amazingly flavoured appetisers that tantalise the palate and prepare you for the meal ahead. There is a set choice of wines to accompany the meal, however, these can easily be changed and managed to suit individual tastes.
For those that are, or those that are not Bangkok residents, the skyline proves a fascinating, yet slightly puzzling spectacle. There is a sea of lights, with huge buildings jutting out – a combination of offices, apartments and hotels – that give the city a very unique feel. It is also an ever growing city with a host of new high rises springing up alongside the more established sites. From the rooftop perch, you are treated to the perfect vantage point.Step forth the Vertigo staff. Not only are they knowledgeable about every dish and wine available on the menu but they also possess an accurate understanding of all the developments on the skyline. This proved completely invaluable! Vertigo offers views of either the city, facing north and east or towards the river in the south – both are completely unrivalled.
Main courses follow a delightful soup (either a seafood or vegetarian option), which boasts an amazing texture, flavour and consistency. The main course of lamb and accompanying vegetables does not disappoint and the Bin 555 Shiraz has been well selected and matched against this. The ability and skill of the chef is evident at every stage and teamed with excellent service from the restaurant staff. The experience is rounded off by some cooling desserts – some interesting variations on some classic dishes here will not disappoint! The courses and food are timed to perfection but do not feel ashamed by asking the waiter to hold the main course for a few extra minutes. This not only allows you to digest the appetiser and soup but also to marvel at your surroundings once more.
Are you really here, are you really still in the centre of Bangkok?
Something that some may question is being outside in low season. With Bangkok’s ever-changing weather patterns it is almost a given that there is going to be rain throughout the day – how does Vertigo prepare for this?The answer is simple; they have the capacity and organisation to cater for everyone elsewhere in the hotel. There are a number of restaurants located on the upper floors that have enough seating should the weather turn against you. The staff are able to move diners in and out of the rain with ease. That said, any other time of year in Bangkok, this is unlikely to be an issue. Aside from the food, the view and the service, Vertigo offers the perfect escape. From the 61st floor, you are cooled by a constant breeze and whilst the whistles and the traffic are still audible it does little to distract from the evening and simply serves as a reminder as to why you are here.