The Mandarin Oriental hotel group is known as the Mandarin Oriental because of two historic hotels. One is The Mandarin, now Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and The Oriental, now Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.
In 1876, The Oriental was the first luxury hotel in Thailand (then known as the Kingdom of Siam). 140 years later, it’s a legendary hotel popular among the famous and hotel enthusiasts like myself.
Back in the late 1800s, The Oriental was a rest house for those traveling along the Chao Phraya river. Today, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok still sits along the river. It’s within walking distance to the skytrain public transportation system for access to the whole of Bangkok and because it’s right by the river, the Grand Palace is just a boat ride away.
Afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is held at the Author’s Lounge. This bright, sun lit room with a glass ceiling, feels like being in a garden with it’s many plants and green and white patio furniture.
The lounge is made up of groups of three sections—one towards the back, another in the main courtyard and the other on the right hand side upon entering—with about five tables in each.
I’d recommend making sure you get a table under the glass ceiling, for the beautiful light and proximity to the grand staircase.
There is a piano under the staircase, where live music was played. We found out the talented pianist was blind.
The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok serves a selection of over 20 Mariage Freres teas.
Included with an afternoon tea set are their classic teas like oolong and darjeeling, in addition to special blends including a blend named after Mandarin Oriental Bangkok called Oriental. This is the tea I ordered which is an exclusive black tea highlighted by the harmonious flavors of jasmine and mandarin orange. In my opinion, it wasn’t anything too special.
I did have a sip of my cousin’s (who was with me) Midnight in Jerusalem, which is what I’d recommend getting instead.
I was happy to find that my tea was kept warm with a tea pot warmer and candle. It’s the little details that count.
If for whatever reason, tea isn’t your thing, your afternoon tea can also be accompanied by coffee, or as what my other cousin ordered, a delicious hot chocolate with whipped cream.
Three different sets of afternoon teas are offered at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. Western Afternoon Tea Set is a traditional afternoon tea, The Oriental Afternoon Tea Set consists of Thai food and Vegetarian Set is well… without meat.
This review shows both the Western Afternoon Tea Set and The Oriental Afternoon Tea Set.
The way afternoon tea works here is pretty strict. You must pay per person and can’t share. Though, this is all for good reasons as it’s afternoon tea, free-flowing style aka all you can eat.
First up was a little scoop of lime sorbet to tease our palates.
The Savory – (six varieties per person)
On the list of savories included green asparagus dips in clear tomato aspic on white sourdough bread, boiled egg and mayonnaise on a mini bagel, smoked ham, sun dried tomato and honeydew melon sandwich, open-faced smoked salmon sour cream and beetroot sandwich, cucumber, dill and cream cheese on oat bread and a roulade of honey-glazed ham and cheese.
To say these were good is an understatement. I particularly enjoyed each of the high-quality savories including the cream cheese and cucumber balls on oat bread, which was a fun take on a traditional cucumber sandwich.
My absolute favorite among all savories was the sun dried tomato and honeydew melon sandwich. The best part about it was the refreshing burst in your mouth from the little balls of melon.
Remember, it’s a free-flowing afternoon tea. So it was like being able to have a taste of everything, then really getting to enjoy one of something you enjoyed the most. In this case, more sun dried tomato and honeydew melon sandwiches were at my table.
The Scone – (two scones per person)
The Western Afternoon Tea set came with warm plain scones. But as my table ordered two sets of the Oriental Afternoon Tea, we were given the option of mango scones too.
I love mango. And tropical fruits, like mango, taste even better when you eat them in their native regions. Add that fact to a scone, and I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
The scones were accompanied with Devonshire clotted cream and jams. Somehow all afternoon teas I’ve had in Asia can’t seem to get the clotted creams right, but that’s ok. The mango scone made up for it.
The Sweet – (seven varieties per person)
Caramelized milk chocolate and yuzu macaron, dark chocolate Grue tartlet, minted light cream and strawberry sphere, vanilla yogurt cream, streusel and pineapple chutney and Paris-Brest hazelnut chou were on one plate. While there was also two financiers—raspberry and pistachio—on the plate with the scones.
My favorite was the hazelnut chou, which was basically a Ferrero Rocher in a pastry. But I did like the look of the mint and strawberry sphere, which is entirely edible.
Because I was in Thailand, I figured I had to try the Oriental Afternoon Tea Set, which turned out to be a great introduction to Thai food, and super pretty.
The entire set was more savory based.
On the menu of savories are lemongrass, chili, lime-marinated crab meat sandwich, minced chicken, chili and black olive sandwich, mini Thai curry puff, fried vermicelli in a pastry cup, roasted pandan chicken, Fresh Vietnamese spring roll, steamed Thai dumplings, wing bean salad with chicken and prawns in betel leaves and chicken and corn in crispy pastry shell.
Just based off of the savories, you can understand why I couldn’t even eat anything until the next day, a full 18 hours after having afternoon tea.
Mentioned above, this set also comes with warm plain and Thai mango scones. As for pastries, it includes Kanom Sai Sai, a sweet coconut pudding wrapped in banana leaf, steamed pumpkin custard, assorted Thai marzipan, mango tartlet with vanilla cream, candy bale fruit chiffon cake, Foi Thong and Royal Thai orchid tea praline.
As I was having afternoon tea with five other people, though I ordered the Western Afternoon Tea set for myself, I was able to have a taste of a few items on the Oriental Afternoon Tea set.
My favorite was the mango sticky rice tart. Mango sticky rice is a must-try dish when in Thailand, so I was happy to see it in an afternoon tea style.
The Western Afternoon Tea set came in a traditional three tiered afternoon tea tray. Each plate, tea pot and tea cup matched the color scheme of the Author’s Lounge—green and white.
Meanwhile the Oriental Afternoon Tea came in a pretty gold and blue three tiered container that could be split into three bowls.
The staff at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok are really on top of it. I noticed they pay close attention to every table. So when I needed something, just giving a little eye contact, they’d come straight away to help.
Our tea cups were also always refilled and any order of additional food was brought in an efficient manner.
Unless you’re a guest of the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, WiFi is not available at the Author’s Lounge. I tried asking for a code but the servers wouldn’t give one.
Social Media Aspect
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, with news and pictures from around the hotel.
Afternoon tea at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok was honestly the best I’ve had in Asia. I’ve been to a lot of teas in Asia through Shanghai, Jakarta, Hong Kong and Bangkok and can say, this is a must. Highlights are the free-flowing style, exceptional service, beautiful Author’s Lounge and getting to sample Thai cuisine.
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is also one of the most famous and iconic hotels in the world. You can read more about the history of the hotel in this book, The Oriental.
Cost: THB 1,450 (about USD $41) per person for Western Afternoon Tea Set or The Oriental Afternoon Tea Set (shown in this review)
Tea Time: Daily 2 – 6 pm at Author’s Lounge at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
48 Oriental Avenue