I live in NYC, but I dream of Thailand. A country where postmodernism is soulful, a mélange of monks and markets. Faith and fun in the stylish land of smiles.  Bangkok is nicknamed the Big Mango for a reason. Juicy, ripe, and ready- the Kingdom of Siam's core is dense and delicious. In Bangkok it's a luxury to stay in various places- from the classic Four Seasons to the cool  Eugenia to a friend's guest house. Attending alms at dawn at the local temple and relaxing with a pre-dinner nap in an overgrown backyard, as Thai people do. When getting away from the stimuli of BKK’s sprawling Sois, canals, and super-malls, you can go south, to one of the heavenly Koh's, to laze amongst the absinthe Andaman Sea, or the Jewel of the North, as Chiang Mai is known. Cool, mountainous, tribal, Chiang Mai is verdant Asia lined in gold.
Rachamankha is where I stayed once, after a month of beautiful madness in Bangkok. A library of first edition art, fashion, and architecture books and novels, with forty-year-old scotch ready for slow sipping; a museum worthy collection of Buddhist artifacts along the outside, terracotta tile covered halls; a serene maze with silent atriums for meditation and lounging. Five star amenities, which means clean, soft, the best linens, soaps, and furnishings. Perfect service, where anything you may desire is invisible yet absolutely available, in a very mellow sort of way. Tea is amber silence. A massage is a shadow touch that leaves one feeling liquid. The freshest local ingredients for a menu that would impress Ferran Adria. Angelina Jolie lived in a suite hidden in the maze of gardens, adopting her first son, being yantra tattooed.
When asked what hotel is the best I’ve ever been to, I think of Rachamankha. Not because it’s fancy or posh, decadent or opulent or ornate, rather because it doesn’t feel like a hotel. Yes, everything you could desire is available; as are many things that you don’t even know that you may want, like rain as respite when reading, nectar delivered to your room at dusk, and the fragrance of sweet Thai flowers everywhere. I could live here. And  friends and family could come visit. It’s a place of peaceful luxury, an oasis, yet stimulating, cerebral, and smart. The décor is gorgeous, handmade, and local- modernism meets The Met. One has the sensation that the hotel itself is ever evolving, almost alive, the ideal convergence of the old and the new, a mirror for the traveling eye. 

~Diana Oberlander
October 2012