Hotel Muse inspires rest, indulgence
CLOTHES shopping in Asia can be a little disheartening for us big-boned Aussies.
Pants that won't go above your knee when you try them on, stunning dresses that might fit if you could dislocate your shoulder blades and pretty shoes not just one, but at least three, sizes too small.
The result leaves you feeling more like Robyn Lawley than Miranda Kerr.
The first hurdle is training your magazine-blinded mind to accept you are a large, extra-large or the "I don't want to think about it" size.
But with the Australian dollar converting into about 32 Thai baht - almost double what it was a few years ago - it's worth the effort.
Next step is the hot spots to shop.
MBK Department store in Bangkok had long been a favourite shopping destination.
But, thanks to the helpful girls at Hotel Muse, there is a new shopping mistress in town.
Platinum Fashion Mall is everything a "large" girl can hope for.
Before you even look through the shopping centre, stroll up to one of the counters and ask for a list of stores with larger size clothes and shoes.
The obliging girls should be able to print you out a list. This will be become your shopping bible.
The prices are already outrageously cheap but never forget to bargain. Think of it like dating and the prices and bargains are simply playing hard-to-get.
Most are only too happy to drop the price and you are guaranteed a discount if you buy three pieces from the one store. If they seem to give you tourist prices, tell them you live there.
Admittedly there is still not a huge amount of choice but combined with the thousands of handbags and other tidbits across six floors, it's easy to spend a day in a shopping induced trance wandering through these wholesale outlets.
If you prefer something a little more upmarket, duck around the corner to Central World where you'll find brand names lower than Australian prices.
Or jump on the BTS skytrain for less than a dollar and travel a few stops to Siam Square, Siam Paragon or MBK.
Or for gadgets walk five minutes from the Platinum mall to Phan Thip Plaza for all your technology needs.
You can pick up memory cards, USB sticks, iPhone accessories and a variety of other electronic goods at a fraction of the price you would here.
If you don't want to venture far from the hotel's luxuries, Peninsula Tailors will collect and return you at your convenience for sales and fittings.
And if you buy in bulk, the prices come down substantially because they are working off the same pattern.
Without a doubt the best part of shopping in Bangkok is the bath and bed at the end.
Hotel Muse combines cosmopolitan chic and playful elegance with a theme dedicated to the golden age of travel.
The hotel is part of Accor's MGallery collection of hotels, which exude charm, elegance and personality with unique characteristics distinguishing each upscale establishment.
Sometimes it's the history of the building, its placement in its city or simply the creator's design or vision.
Though Hotel Muse only opened a in October, the building's decor evokes a ageless spirit, like visiting an old soul. There is great attention to detail without being too busy.
Retro trunks in the well-appointed rooms combined with the opulence of the hotel's art and design remind you what a privilege it was to travel in the past, more often a lavish indulgence for the affluent.
Trendy and traditional frames adorn walls throughout the hotel, their emptiness inspiring a need to fill them with new travelling memories.
The rooms combine a classic European decor style with ornate Asian touches to fuse East and West in a delightful way.
The bed and the bath are separated by a pane of glass and a privacy screen. You can set the wall-mounted flatscreen TV to a movie channel, climb into the claw-footed roll-up bathtub and use the buttons to lift the privacy screen to view the TV and adjust the volume.
There is also a separate shower with ceiling mounted shower head, hand-painted basin, Venetian mirror and black marble floor.
Which is actually the theme of the room levels which range from 39m2 to 216m2 as you ascend through six of the seven Buddhist layers of heaven.
In Buddhist cosmology higher Dhevas are supernatural beings forever immersed in perpetual pleasures, the myriad luxuries increasing on their way through the heavenly layers. Fitting, really.
Aside from the lobby and floor you sleep on, level 19 is a favourite.
Su Tha Ros serves up delicious a la carte international breakfast daily and fabulous Thai food for lunch and dinner, served by Bangkok's first female head chef Purida Teerapong.
Chef Purida has worked at an award-winning Thai restaurants Thailand and Manorah in Sydney.
On the same floor you can work out at the gym or relax in the horizon pool with spectacular views of Bangkok's skyline while being served drinks.
You can head to the stylish Medici Kitchen and Bar in the basement for Italian cuisine, or simply a nightcap.
And the newly opened Speakeasy Bar on the 24th and 25th floors of the hotel is a winner.
But if you feel like a night out, speak to Director of Social Affairs Vachini Krairiksh, a well-known socialite.
She can tell you the best bars and clubs in the city, from rooftop terraces with sprawling views of Bangkok to unique nights out at Iron Fairies, Bed Supperclub and many more.
Or, if you don't want to venture too far, walk 10 minutes down the street to Wine Bridge Plus.
The cheap drinks and cringe-worthy karaoke ensure a good night - try the Yellow Sabmirrine (sic) or I Will Survive.
Then, go home. Pull back the covers and melt into one of the most comfortable beds in the world.
Hotel Muse Bangkok
5500 Baht (THB) net per room per night for a Jatu Delux Room (single/twin) from January 1, 2012.
Includes daily set breakfast for two people and taxes.
Platinum Fashion Mall
If you buy three things you get a discount
Open 9am to 8pm daily
"Larger" size clothing stores: Fernity Room 120A, Ginza11, Basement; Jaw Jair Jang Room 137 Ginza7, B; Zeal, Room 138, Ginza7, B; Pucicha, Room 193, Ginza8, B
Get Fit Room 25, Ginza5, B; W&B, Room 51, Ginza1, B; Manaba, Room 746, Nathan8, Floor 3; Fashion Art, Room 817, Nathan14, Floor 3; Nong Nuch, Room 958, Camden11, Floor 4; @Design, Room 98C, Ginza2, B.
Peninsula Plaza Tailors
AirAsia flies daily to Kuala Lumpur from Melbourne and Perth and five times weekly from Gold Coast. Additional services are scheduled during peak holiday periods.
From Kuala Lumpur AirAsia flies eight times daily to Bangkok, three times daily to Ho Chi Minh and once daily to Hanoi. There is also a daily flight from Bangkok to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.
For bookings visit Air Asia.