lebua.jpgLebua, meaning lotus, will be the next iconic hotel in Thailand – so claimed the hotelier who turned a struggling US$60 a night hotel into a five-star winner with room rates starting at US$295 a night. And Deepak Ohri, the man behind the now famous five-star luxury hotel, did it within two years. Lotus is a flowering plant which has a special symbolism in Buddhist religious ceremonies; it signifies purity, beauty and resilience because it grows in muddy ponds. An apt name for a hotel with a similarly ironic story.

What makes a stay in lebua a must when one visits Bangkok in Thailand? The staff served Maine lobster with spaghetti to a guest at 4 a.m. even when the kitchens were closed and the chef had gone home and retired for the night. The concierge called the chef who returned, opened up the kitchens and prepared the dish within an hour. As simple as that. The guest was so impressed that he left a US$400 tip.

Lebua also won the ‘Best New Hotel’ category in the Business Asia Magazine/CNBC Asia Pacific’s 2006 Best Business Hotels Awards. Recently, it made headlines by hosting a one-million baht per head luxury dinner which included crème brulee of foei gras and a 1990 Cristal champagne. The hotel and hotelier are not afraid to go where no man has been before. The next step will be to implement a behavioral pattern software (developed for the military) to gauge guests’ interests and preferences and serve them before the request is even mouthed. That is going one step ahead of its rivals and anticipating the customers’ needs or wants in true five-star service style.

If you want something a little wild but is sick of the usual fare of famous five-star or luxury hotels, lebua will be your best choice for a taste of what Thailand, the country renowned for its hospitality can offer. Forget about sleazy striptease bars or topless pubs; that is passé. If you want to be pampered and made to feel like a king, this rags-to-riches hotel is a more valuable gem to discover in your vacation.