Dusit Thani: Town in Heaven
RENDEZVOUs - Christine S. Dayrit () - March 30, 2008 - 12:00am

My late father Vincent “Ting” Dayrit had a penchant for beautiful, luxurious hotels. He often told us siblings when we were growing up that the highlight of any trip we made was where we stayed. Walking into an imposing lobby of elegance and style arrested his senses and fueled his creative imagination. Exotic restaurants serving his favorite epicurean delights and other fabulous amenities inspired him further. Above all, resting his head on the crisp, fragrant feathery pillow as the soft fabric of the silky duvet embraced him was an assurance of even sweeter dreams. The very first hotel Dad took us to in Bangkok was the Dusit Thani two decades ago.

No wonder he chose this hotel of opulence, luxury, grace and heritage. Like a real thoroughbred, the Dusit Thani is the epitome of the gracious blend of old-world charm and modern luxury for every discriminating guest. Dad and Mom may have moved on but the beautiful tradition of staying at the Dusit Thani is here to stay.

For over 36 years, the prestigious Dusit Thani Hotel has been a “social and business” landmark in Bangkok. Its exquisite Thai artistry and gracious luxury, coupled with international standards makes it a force to reckon with. This year, the Dusit Group successfully marks its 50 years of success in the hotel and hospitality field.

The essence of the Dusit Thani is symbolized by the statue of His Majesty King Vajiravudh (Rama VI), which faces the hotel. In 1918, King Rama VI devised a utopian concept of a model city for a democratic society where everyone would exist in happiness and freedom. He aptly named it Dusit Thani, meaning “Town In Heaven.” The hotel takes not only its name but also its character from the ideas of King Rama VI, whose model society blended Western with Thai influence.

Ideally located in the heart of the “City of Angels,” it is situated opposite Lumpini Park with its broad boulevards and expanse of lakes. The hotel is conveniently adjacent to both the sky train and subway systems within easy proximity to major business, shopping and entertainment centers.

Dusit Thani’s 517 rooms and executive suites are well-appointed with distinctive Thai inspirations and impeccable facilities. The Dusit Grand Rooms offer 60 square meters with a separate bedroom, living area and larger bathroom, the “Thai Heritage Suites” are divinely inspired by the characters and touches of ancient Thai cities.

Complementing the excellent accommodation is an unrivaled choice of eight signature dining experiences, whilst the Devarana Spa and DFiT offer state-of-perfection facilities ready to help you relax and rejuvenate. Throughout the hotel, “gifts of heaven” — whether it be a flower, a fabric or an infectious smile — create an ethereal experience on earth.

At the lobby on the way to the Devarana Spa, I stopped to view the photo display of the milestones of the Dusit Thani. Sommai Yocapajorn, public relations manager, shared with us the precious jewels of history. It was in 1947 when Thanpuying Chanut Piyaoi planned her first hotel in Bangkok after her return from studies in New York. Two years later, her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana presided at the opening ceremony of the Princess Hotel on New Road in Bangkok. Since then, her Royal Highness has opened almost every hotel of the Dusit Group. In 1970, the Dusit Thani Bangkok was inaugurated. It was the tallest building in the city and became the flagship property of Dusit Hotels and Resorts. Other properties were opened in Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, and even the Royal Princess brand was re-established. They embarked on hotel management, founded the Dusit Thani College, the first university level learning institution offering hospitality education and training. Eventually, they acquired Kempinski Hotel and resorts in Germany owning and managing 17 hotels.

In 1996, they opened their Dusit Hotel Nikko Manila. Tomorrow, March 31, a precious jewel is to be unveiled as the hotel is relaunched as Dusit Thani Manila. Our dear family friends, GM Gerhard Kropp and public relations manager Cora Ortega-Auste, announce the many exciting milestones to look forward to. Dusit Thani Manila has definitely become the ultimate gastronomic destination for its restaurant outlets like Umu Japanese restaurant where my nephew Vincent Soliven celebrated his 12th birthday on Valentine’s Day. My favorite is Benjarong, where the best Thai cuisine in town is served. The Tosca (Italian) and Basix (buffet restaurant) are equally savvy.

In November 2006, Dusit International added a brand extension — the Dusit International Lifestyle Collection with DusitD2hotels + resorts. DusitD2 is the second-generation brand of Dusit Hotels.

When my siblings Mark, Jaqui Boncan, Michelle Soliven and Yvonne Romualdez started taking their own children to Dusit Thani Hotel, they also began to love the place. Pride of heritage and legacy are universal values we truly espouse. After discovering the rich history of royalty behind the Dusit Thani, we appreciated the ambiance much more. All of a sudden, everywhere I would look appealed to me as a haven where history unfolded and as we experienced the Dusit at that moment, we were part of history in the making.

In fact, the Dusit Thani Bangkok’s highly efficient concierge Anthony Tharakhet made history for our family when he helped us recover our valuable things twice. He was able track down six missing North Face bags of Michelle and Yvonne and my irreplaceable Mac that was left in a cab. Thank heavens!

We proceeded to the lavish Devarana Spa, a glorious sanctuary that certainly appeals to all the senses. The fragrance of sweet verbena and lavender filled the air as we walked into the lobby of the spa accentuated with neatly lined aromatherapy candles. It was simply intoxicating luxury. Devarana is the Sanskrit word meaning “garden in heaven.” Devarana Spa follows the timeless concept that leads you to a new world of peace and tranquility.

Contemporary Thai designs framed by tropical lotus blossoms, orchids and gently cascading water creates an oasis of calm. Classical Thai music and mellow lighting escort you to a stairway to an enthralling paradise. The Devarana masseurs are trained in the ancient disciplines stretching back 2,500 years from traditional Thai to Shiatsu. This exhilarating blend of acupressure, meditation and healing is a royal pampering of sorts.

A superb variety of sumptuous treatments are available. It was difficult to choose from the delectable spa menu. I savored the personalized body scrub, individually customized exfoliation formulas for a natural glowing composition. Devarana Spa won the 2007 Spa Asia Crystal Awards for Best Body Scrub. For the Kaffir Lime and orange body scrub, lime leaf, lime peel, fresh orange and white Thai mud proves to be a magnificent concoction for invigoration. The body wrap came next. The citrus aroma oil and green silky texture of sweet grapefruit, juniper, fennel and lemon essential oils gently poured on your skin followed by green tea and milk yogurt is truly relaxing. The traditional herbal compress and Thai massage caps the sumptuous afternoon. The herbal compress is made of several herbs, collected in gauze net, heated to emphasize its healing properties and applied on pressure points of the body. The aroma and medicinal flavors of the herbs seeps into the body, revitalizing one’s energy. There is a universal language of harmony, balance and love as a connection of healing is established between us.

Truly, a journey to our inner sanctum where peace, joy and love abounds is the greatest gift of all.

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For more information about Dusit Thani Bangkok, call +66 (0) 2200 9000 or e-mail dtbk@dusit.com. For Dusit Thani Manila, call +63 (2) 867 3333 or e-mail dtmn@dusit.com.

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You may contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand at 911-1660 or email tat_mnl@pacific.net.ph.

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Thai Air flies daily to Bangkok, for info call 812-4812 /812-4744 or email sales@thaiairways.com.

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E-mail the author at miladay.star@gmail.com.

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