Bangkok's best hotels are among the finest on the planet. One of the most legendary, the 128-year- old Oriental, home of the famed Le Normandie French restaurant, recently got an $85 million renovation. Many of the rooms now have floor-to-ceiling windows, with spectacular views of the busy Chao Phraya River (doubles from $300; 866-526-6567 or www.mandarinoriental.com). The renovation is well timed: The hotel is facing competition from the new Metropolitan Bangkok, a branch of the hip London Metropolitan and the brainchild of hotelier Christina Ong. The sleek property combines dark Thai makha wood paneling with plenty of natural light, and has imported an Australian chef for Cy'an, its first-rate restaurant; an outpost of the Caribbean spa Shambhala provides deluxe treatments (doubles from $240; 800-337-4685 or www.metropolitan.como.bz).
- KITCHEN & HOME