Un­der­stated ele­gance

A con­tem­po­rary, stylish ho­tel with an artis­tic bent of­fers cosy hos­pi­tal­ity and a grand river view, writes An­gela Goh

New Straits Times - - Jom! - an­gela@nst.com.my

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.

PIC­TURES BY AN­GELA GOH

Sweep­ing view of the Chao Phraya River from the bed­room.

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