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Sofitel So in Bangkok Thailand.

A city of contrasts and contradictions, Bangkok assaults the senses on every level. Escape the pulsating city by stepping into Sofitel So Bangkok. Enter this cool serene setting and the non-stop buzz quickly fades away .

Guests are perfectly positioned to strike out on foot and explore as the hotel is steps away from the Skytrain and across the street from one of the city's few green spaces, Lumpini Park. Since you'll be flanked by Bangkok's business and entertainment zones, avoid the notorious gridlock by taking a tuk-tuk wherever you want to go. (And if you're on the prowl for ladyboys and go-go bars you will appreciate being smack dab between Patpong and Soi Cowboy, two of the city's most notorious red-light districts.)

East meets West in this urban hotel and emits a strong French touch. With design overseen by haute couture master Christian Lacroix, five of Thailand's top designers created a sense of energy themed around the five elements. Lacroix's theatrical flair makes it easy to spot hotel staff who work in outrageous uniforms – embroidered doublets and puffy Venetian pants not seen since the 16th century. Composed of a mosaic of materials including glass, zinc and stone, the high-rise tower exudes a contemporary, tech vibe.

The guest list has range: bourgeoisie French tourists stop en route to explore French Indochina, India's rising upper middle-class satisfy their eye for design and taste for luxury, while Japanese businessmen enjoy the proximity to the financial district.

Technology meets comfort throughout the entire hotel, but especially in guest rooms. No need to unpack your PC and fiddle with electrical adapters. Each room provides convenient access to the digital world through an Apple Mac Mini computer with a wireless keyboard, mouse touchpad and sizeable LED screen. With free WiFi, you're all set to relax on the bed and connect to the cloud.

Who needs room service when you've got an Illy coffee machine and complimentary minibar stocked with fresh fruit juices, French chocolates and salty Asian snacks? While most rooftop bars boast vistas of concrete jungles, Park Society capitalizes on its panoramic view of Lumpini Park and delivers individually designed meals. Breakfasting at Red Oven is like Christmas morning for foodies who can't make up their mind. Styled as a world food market, live cooking stations serve up dishes reminiscent of traditional street-food fare. Tucking into dim sum, satay and fresh sushi before noon is a treat. For traditionalists, proper French pastries and perfectly poached eggs are also available. Craving Western confectionery? Dessert can be had after any meal at ChocoLab, an open-kitchen, chocolate deli where unlimited handmade French chocolates and pastries can be nibbled during Cocoa Rush Hour.

Effusively polite and ready to serve (this is the land of smiles), the wait staff, while proficient in English and several other languages, are not as knowledgeable on menu substitutions as you'd expect at a five-star property. Dietary requests can be met, but only after slowly going up the chain of command. As if gluten-free toast isn't bad enough, it's much worse cold.

Sofitel So Bangkok, 2 North Sathorn Road Bangrak, Bangkok 10500, 66-2-624-0000,, 238 rooms from $170 a night.

The writer stayed as a guest of the hotel.

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