Located in the central Sukhimvit area of Bangkok, and a block’s walk away from the BTS Asoke station, Maduzi Hotel is easy to miss, hidden as it is behind high walls and a guarded gatehouse. From the street it looks like a private club or an office — but not a hotel.
My local driver had no idea where the hotel was and had to be directed over the phone by the front desk staff. This interesting dilemma might have something to do with the hotel’s design. According to General Manager and family owner, Koravic Bhanubandh – “Wikki” for short – its construction was based upon a concept of privacy.
“When we designed the hotel, we were restricted by the existing building and infrastructure and knew that we’d never be able to offer all the facilities of some of the bigger players in town,” she says. “So we went for a concept of highly customized service that allows guests to hide away from the heat and noise of Bangkok.”
“I personally meet all guests and they can choose their own privacy setting,” she says.
If a guest doesn’t want to be disturbed, they just have to let the hotel staff know…“We’ve had people staying here who don’t even want to be acknowledged and greeted by staff,” says Wikki.
Maduzi Bangkok doesn’t accept walk-in guests and those in residence can opt to give out passwords to visitors they have invited and the front gate staff will turn away all others. The gimmick has proved popular with local celebs as well as a few high rollers from Japan and Korea, who naturally chose to remain unnamed (and undisturbed).
All of this, however, doesn’t make the hotel uninviting. The name Maduzi actually translates to ‘Come and See,’ according to Wikki. Staff show off smiles and Thai charm. Common areas have a homey, living room feel. Arts, crafts and souvenirs – as well as books collected by Wikki’s family – adorn the walls and shelves. A wine cabinet is well stocked with drops from New Zealand, where Wikki studied engineering.
I stayed in a corner suite. The décor was muted and dark; the room well appointed with a wall-mounted large LCD TV and Bose sound system, super king bed and a good selection of pillows. Internet was free and reasonably fast for Bangkok. The bathroom was large with walk in robes and a spill-over jacuzzi tub; a waterfall-style tap drops water from ceiling to bath.
The hotel’s restaurant serves up traditional French style dishes made with Asian ingredients. Chef Yuya from Japan told me that he favors local and imported organic foods, with less carbs and salt. In fact, his dishes generally use no added salt; instead he prefers to draw the saltiness out of the ingredients themselves, such as from the blood and bones. Featured ingredients include imported Awaji beef (the origin of Kobe and Matsuzaka varieties), sesame, miso, lotus root and, of course, dashi, (bonito stock) which forms the basis of Japanese cooking.
The restaurant has quickly generated a local foodie following and guests are encouraged to learn and participate. The restaurant’s sous chef recently took a guest to the local Samyan fresh food market early in the morning. They brought the ingredients back to the kitchen and cooked together, preparing a meal served to the guest’s husband for lunch. Other recent highlights were a food festival led by Ironchef French, Chef Sakai. In short, I’m looking forward to my next visit to Maduzi already… especially now that I know how to find it.