Photos by Tappanai Boonbandit
BANGKOK — Nine months after the swanky Iconsiam mall opened on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the ultra-loaded are ready to move into the penthouses towering over it.
By the press opening day on Wednesday, almost all of the 146 rooms at the 52-storey Residences at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok were already purchased, with tenants set to move into the ultra-luxury condos Thursday.
“There’s very few rooms left. They’re for people with an eye for quality,” Keerin Chutumstid, president of real estate developer Magnolia Quality Development, said. “Their value will only go up and up.”
In what was probably the first and last time that middle-class people stepped into the residence, press were taken on a tour of the common areas and one of the 222.21 square meter, three-bedroom units.
To get to the condo itself, one walks through the Alexander McQueen and Patek Phillipe shops on the ground floor of Iconsiam. Then, a golf cart driven by a man in Thai costume with white gloves ferries tenants an arduous few hundred meters past another luxury condo, Magnolias Waterfront Residences, to the lobby.
The fourth and fifth floors of Residences at Mandarin Oriental are a “river clubhouse”: picture a man dressed in Ralph Lauren and Hermes putting balls in a golf simulator, while a pool party is held at the infinity pool overlooking the river.
Tenants will also enjoy mind-boggling services: personal shoppers when impulse-shopping for luxury goods at Iconsiam, automated parking in a glass elevator, elite membership to bump you up to VIP rooms when checking into Mandarin Oriental Hotels around the globe, and more.
The mall-side condo is the first residence run by luxury hotel brand Mandarin Oriental in Southeast Asia, and the seventh in the world, following branches in the likes of Hyde Park and Macau. Keerin said that 85 percent of the 146 rooms, or 124 rooms, have already sold.
Another staff member said that most buyers were frequent patrons of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel just across the river, mostly Hong Kongers and Thais.
The bedrooms themselves are marbled, arguably narrow, and with small balconies. Decor is modern and inoffensive to the point of being forgettable. From some angles, tenants will have to glare down at the neighboring Millenium Hilton’s helipad and at the grubby river barges below. Ask your crazy richest friend’s crazy richest friend if we’re accurate in imagining life at Residences at Mandarin Oriental as similar to occupying a kinda-small, kinda-bare, five-star hotel forever.
The project in total takes up only 4.9 rai (0.784 hectares), and it showed – nothing was impressively spacious, despite all the Italian marble and river views from every room. Still, staff boasted that construction for the 11-billion-baht project started in 2013 under the Iconsiam Superlux Residence corp.
Prices range from 550,000 baht per square meter for a two-bedroom residence, to 750,000 per square meter for a penthouse. That means the cheapest available room, a furnished 127.87-square-meter two-bedroom apartment, is already more than 70 million baht. The most expensive penthouse costs at least 530.46 million.
In comparison, the average selling price for a condo in Bangkok in 2018 was 140,600 baht per square meter, according to real estate trend analysis website Propholic. City center condos average about 231,000 baht per square meter, while condos in the suburbs average around 113,200 baht per square meter. The price dips to 73,500 per square meter in the greater Bangkok area.
Around half of existing condos cost 75,000 baht to 110,000 baht per square meter, a mid-range price. The study shows that almost 20 percent of condos are categorized as carrying a high-end price: from 110,000 baht to 190,000 baht per square meter. Only 6 percent of condos, or luxury condos, cost more than that.
Yet the Residences at Mandarin Oriental-Iconsiam amalgam won’t be the last ultra-luxury mixed-used space taking over the city. Another is set to open in 2025 next to Lumpini Park, on the site of the old Suan Lum Night Bazaar.
The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, like Iconsiam, are reachable by BTS Krung Thonburi and BTS Wongwian Yai. Free shuttle boats also depart from Sathorn Pier at BTS Saphan Taksin’s Exit 2, the CAT Tower Pier, the Si Phraya Pier and Ratchawong Pier. The BTS Golden Line will eventually stop directly at the mall, but remains under construction.