A contemporary, stylish hotel with an artistic bent offers cosy hospitality and a grand river view, writes Angela Goh
SHIMMERING reflections waver among the ripples in the wake of passing boats on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. Brightly lit dinner cruises and boat shuttles appear like floating lights in a sea of darkness. I am transfixed by this nightly spectacle from the vantage of the 22nd level of Chatrium Riverside Hotel.
Where location is key, the five-star riverfront hotel is on the preferred Bangkok or east side (requiring no river crossing when approached from the airports) and close to the popular Sathorn and Silom areas.
Five minutes by the hotel’s comfortable shuttle boat takes you to the main transport hub of Saphan Thaksin pier which connects to the BTS skytrain station of the same name. Though busy, Chatrium Riverside manages to exude an air of serenity with thoughtful design.
A surprising quiet enclave is the lobby lounge which extends outdoors to a lotus pond. Beside it is a soothing garden framed by bamboo trees, lining a path which winds all the way to the riverfront and pier.
An attractive river promenade is one of the hotel’s best features. It is a spacious clean-lined cool hangout for open-air dining and lounging, especially at night when a live band plays. Clever use of low concrete wall topped with a glass barrier by the river’s edge allows a wider visual breadth of the body of water.
Underscoring the smart, understated contemporary style are artistic touches articulated by a sprinkling of bronze sculptures by artist Somsak Kongnaphakdee. The infinity pool on the sixth floor is bookended by graceful lifesize figures and the lift lobby to the pool is adorned with an upended rotund female ballerina. Near the main entrance, cute animal figures add light-heartedness and some humour to an otherwise businesslike atmosphere.
The one-bedroom Grand Suite River View unit offers panoramic river and city views while its bedroom boasts floor to ceiling glass windows. With such sweeping views I keep the curtains open to let in the changing scene from dawn to dusk.
Added visual inspiration comes from the most mundane of furnishings, the work desk. It is thoughtfully placed fronting the glass window to leverage on the river view. This is an enormous welcome from the typical dreary wall-facing position.
A glass enclosed shower stall and separate bathtub look out to the bedroom, sharing the impressive view. Equally noteworthy is the paraben-free white teainfused amenities range augmented with rejuvenating items from premium Thai spa brand Harnn.
The spacious living section has a loungedining area, kitchenette and a generous size balcony, looking out to the city and river. The evening turn-down service takes the extra step of placing a pair of slippers by each side of the bed. A warm touch indeed.
Chatrium prides itself with impeccable service and that is evident throughout my stay. Responsive and lovely staff makes breakfast at the River Barge delightful and invites lingering.
The sumptuous buffet too makes it an unhurried morning ritual. Apart from the usual, the menu includes pleasurable additions such as dhal makhani, chicken kurma, hara bhara kebab, naan, hummus, several types of sushi, Vietnamese spring rolls, English bread and butter pudding and supremely smooth soya bean drink.
The Club floor is on the 36th level together with Silver Waves Chinese restaurant. The river-inspired restaurant serves all-you-can-eat homemade dim sum delicacies, the signature tea-infused Peking duck and creative Chinese tapas. Treats Gourmet at the lobby offers deli snacks and refreshments.
There are facilities for business meetings and conferences as well as other large functions. The spa and a convenience store are shared with Chatrium residences and condominium in adjacent buildings.
Overall, a comfortable stay in an established brand which does not sit on its laurels.
Yoga Woman sculpture graces the swimming pool.
The outdoor lounge.
Five minutes by the hotel’s comfortable shuttle boat takes you to the main transport hub of Saphan Thaksin pier.
Sweeping view of the Chao Phraya River from the bedroom.