Bangkok Marriott Marquis X Imagine Dragons
The last time I was in Thailand I was a gangly 21 year old on her first overseas adventure around the world.
My best friend and I had decided to do a brief stint in Bangkok on the way home from an around-the-world trip. My most prominent memory was exploring the food markets and chowing down on an assortment of fried animals I'm not sure are meant for human consumption before escaping to the Phi Phi Islands (along with every single other tourist obsessed with 'The Beach'.)
So a few weeks back, when the opportunity popped up to revisit Thailand's capital to check out the brand new Bangkok Marriott Marquis and be a VIP guest to a very intimate Imagine Dragons gig (not to mention escape the cold and miserable Melbourne weather for a few days) - it was a no brainer.
Stepping off the plane (Thai Airways Business Class no less!) the humidity hit me like a slap in the face and I remembered why I loved exploring Asia so much.
The hotel was about a 45 minute drive from the airport and I was greeted with a beautiful floral hand arrangement (think year 10 formal corsage but with a tropical vibe), a cold towel (necessary by this point) and a delicious fresh coconut. I could get used to this.
My room was hugggggeeeeee, the bed was ginormous (and soft as a cloud) and I had a 180 degree view of both the pools, the gardens and a little slice of gritty Bangkok heaven downstairs.
Most impressive however was the bathroom. The shower could have fit a small family of 10 easily and the tub had my name written all over it.
HIGHLIGHTS OF DAY 1:
- QUAN SPA. Here's a hot tip from somebody who travels frequently- book a massage upon arrival. Not only does it help get the circulation pumping after being on a long flight, it also soothes those sore muscles and helps with jet lag. I picked a 60 minute traditional Thai massage and walked away feeling equally relaxed and reinvigorated, ready to take on the rest of day 1 at the Marriott Marquis.
“KRUNGTHEP DASH”. Come the afternoon it was time to meet in the lobby for the Bangkok Marriott Marquis’s Inventive Hotel Tour, but with a twist. All us visiting influencers, bloggers and media were put into competing teams and set off (most ran but I was in heels, typical) in different directions of the hotel. In an "Amazing Race" style mission, we all had to complete a series of tasks inspired by traditional Thai culture for a chance to win a THB 10,000 per person gift shopping voucher. Despite smashing our tasks of whipping up a delicious Thai dish and guessing which tea leaves belong to which flavour of tea- my team did not win but boy we had fun (got drunk) along the way.
ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK. The festivities continued as the guests were welcomed out into the balmy air around one of the hotel's pools which had been transformed into a Bangkok food market for the night. Everything from fried crickets to delicious pad thai... drag queens, palm readers...you name the Thai experience, the Marriott had it covered.
SING SING THEATRE. Despite feeling the effects of the overnight flight, we dragged out butts away from the hotel to check out the Sing Sing Theatre and wow, I am so glad we did. It put the clubs in both Melbourne and Sydney to shame. Definitely one to check out if you're in the area.
HIGHLIGHTS OF DAY 2:
- BUFFET BREAKFAST. Let's get one thing straight: I'm a hungry gal. I've never been one to turn down food and I most certainly won't say no to an hour or two spent exploring a hotel buffet but the Bangkok Marriott Marquis' Goji Kitchen is next level. There were so many choices and so many different cuisines, even I was overwhelmed.
MUAY THAI. Whilst we're on the topic, don't be fooled by my long, bean-pole exterior. I can pack a punch and I was more than happy to kick the shit out of a few of the professional Muay Thai experts. We worked up quite a sweat (and took great joy) in punching and kicking our way through the morning, learning some traditional Muay Thai moves along the way.
NEVER ENDING SUMMER RESTAURANT. Lunch was off-site at a beautiful restaurant, right on the water. We were treated to yummy (Marriott branded) cocktails and an arrange of dishes whilst taking the opportunity to get to know the rest of our fellow invitees from all around the world. The food was delicious, the chicken wings voted the star favourite, at least at my end of the table.
CRUISE ALONG CHAO PHRA YA RIVER. Our next activity happened to kick off right outside the restaurant. We hopped aboard a boat and begun our guided cruise along the Chao Phra Ya river. Our guide knew every weird and wonderful bit of Thai trivia and the the architecture and contrast between old and new Bangkok was fascinating. It was nice to get off the busy roads and onto the water for a different perspective on Bangkok.
HIGHLIGHTS OF DAY 3:
- REST & RELAXATION. After a busy few days, some of my new found friends and I decided to make the most of our morning off and lounge by the pool while the sun was out. We grabbed our books (or laptops for us workaholics), ordered a few cocktails with the pool attendants and really kicked back. It was nice to get some downtime and hang out with the gang- these kinds of trips really are about who you get to experience them with and we had been very lucky with our fun little group of travel bloggers and journalists.
- IMAGINE DRAGONS. Finally, it was time for the main event. A few of us lucky buggers got to have a quick meet and greet and grab a photo with the band before their show, they were super polite and lovely, despite my fat head almost blocking them out of shot. Afterwards, we were lead out onto the main pool deck which had been transformed into a whole other tropical Thai wonderland. Again, there was delicious food and drinks coming out of our ears. After stuffing our tums and taking a million selfies we popped on our flashing LED sunglasses and headed inside right as the show was about to start. I knew Imagine Dragons had a few number 1 hits that I'd recognise but they ended up being one of those bands who had so many songs you knew all the words to but didn't realise belonged to them. They put on such a great show, full of energy and had the whole room jumping as they smashed out hit after hit. Absolutely blew me out of the water and exceeded my expectations. Definitely made a new fan out of me.
- PING PONG SHOW. So, I'll be honest. There was an official after-party at the hotel but after a few of those ridiculous cocktails, I somehow managed to convince a group (quite a large group I may add) of us to head to Patpong Nightmarket for a Ping Pong show. Look, I'm usually quite a classy, cultured lady but I was on a mission to see a goldfish come out of somewhere it should never have been previously placed and apparently I wasn't alone. After hustling hard at the door of the first one we stumbled across, deceivingly named "Super Pussy" we all jammed in, free Singha beer in hand and begun to watch what can only be described as a really sad, disappointing display of the female anatomy. Sure, one of them wrote "Good luck Tully" with a permanent marker held in a vagina and yeah, another shot out darts that popped balloons on the roof but wow they all looked super depressed about it. After the initial excitement (and our free beer) wore off, we all came snapped back to reality and realised it wasn't all that much fun after all and made our way back to the comfort and luxury of the Marriott.
I woke up the next day slightly hungover but full of hilarious stories, new friends and memories that will last a lifetime, whether I wanted them to or not.
All up the trip was a lot of fun. The Bangkok Marriott Marquis was beautiful and definitely not the "business conference centre" I had imagined in my head. The other media guests were fun, hilarious, hard-working and inspiring. The itinerary was the perfect blend of free time and fun activities that gave us a little insight into the Thai culture and the Imagine Dragons gig was so much fun, I've had their album on repeat ever since.
Big thank you to the team at the Bangkok Marriott Marquis for their hospitality and to the legends that kept me company on my second Thailand adventure. You know who you are and I am so, so sorry I made you watch someone push a birthday cake out from where no birthday cake should have gone before.
(This blog was a paid collaboration with the Bangkok Marriott Marquis however whilst they paid me to attend, they did not pay me to say I had a fabulous time. That was all me.)