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Le Méridien Bangkok, Bangkok 

40/5 Surawong Road
Thailand 10500
Tel: 66 2 232 8888
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Le Méridien's recent efforts to integrate culture into its urban hotels proved worthwhile at this tower in Bangkok's Silom neighborhood. One dramatic feat: the superimposing of Ralph Gibson's quirky 1960s photograph Man with Poodle onto the hotel's double-height glass entrance. Room keys also serve as complimentary passes to the Thailand Creative & Design Center, a cutting-edge art space and library. Dark-wood finishes, etched mirrors, and a space-optimizing bathroom create a modern ambience in the 282 rooms, though the beds don't feel as plush as they look. Thai sculptures as well as floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook gilded Buddhist temple spires add just the right indigenous touch. Room service includes better-than-usual breakfast dishes (think goat cheese Gruyère custard and buckwheat crÍpes). Be sure to check out Bamboo Chic, the stark floor-lit lounge serving noodles and sushi.—2009 Hot List

When to go: Avoid Bangkok's hottest days (June-Sept.).

Which room to book: Even the standard rooms have city views.

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