While many travellers head to the sun-drenched beaches of Thailand, this trip was set to be something different. A luxury stay on the banks of the of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok and experiencing the cultural and historic gems the most visited city in the World has to offer, writes Leo Johnson
This was my first trip to Bangkok and I couldn’t wait to imagine what the most talked about and visited city in the World had to offer me. Having done my research I was totally aware that this was a trip drenched in luxury and self-care. Our first destination; five-star luxury in the heart of Bangkok at the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort. Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort is 50 minutes away from Suvarnnabhumi International Airport by car. As part of the resorts service, we were met by our driver on arrival at the airport and enjoyed a cool and comfortable drive into Bangkok.
Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort is more than just a hotel. It’s an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and a chance to rejuvenate one’s mind, body and soul. Set in 11 acres of tropical lushness on the banks of Chao Phraya River, Anantara Riverside’s iconic white colonial structure is unmissable. With 281 guestrooms and 95 suites, a spa, and World-class medical Wellness Retreat, ten dining venues, a large outdoor pool, and a swim up bar, Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort provides a calm and comfortable setting for all travellers.
A sense of tranquility fills the air as we arrive at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort. It’s a pleasure to the senses. From the unforgettable signature Anantara fragrance to the light and water features in the atrium that that set you at ease after a long flight.
The ambience at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort is enhanced by Thai water-Lilly ponds, statues, vases, and curated pieces of art coupled with opulent furniture with marble and wood surfaces, depicting Thai history as well as modern artists. On arrival to the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort we were met by our personal concierge, who over the next few days would become like one of the family.
Cold towels and a Thai inspired refreshing drink and snacks were much appreciated as the concierge arranged all the necessary practical elements of our check in. The Kasara Executive Lounge membership offered the finishing touches to our luxury stay. Kasara Executive Lounge access includes a personalised concierge service, all day non-alcoholic beverages, breakfast, afternoon tea and sundowners in the stylish lounge, adjacent to the main lobby.
We were booked in a Riverfront King room; the room is Thai inspired and reflects Thai art and heritage seen throughout the resort. The overall feel of the room is opulent and indulgent. Small personal comforts such as fruit and chocolate platter and fresh flowers added to the sojourn. The Deluxe River view room had its own private balcony overlooking the river and the resort and was spacious and comfortable with a large marble bathroom, signature luxury toiletries and double vanities. The provision of a desk and all modern amenities needed for business travel was an appreciated addition to our room.
Our concierge had coordinated an itinerary for us that allowed us to enjoy our stay at a leisurely pace or be adventurous, and we certainly did both. To celebrate my first night in Bangkok, we head for dinner to the exclusive SEEN Restaurant and Bar. SEEN is an open rooftop venue 26 stories high with 360 views of the city skyline, Chao Phraya River and the glittering evening boat-life that Bangkok riverside is so famous for. The wow factor hits you as soon as you enter SEEN with an electrifying ambience and setting. Offering an extraordinary dining experience on the rooftop of the adjoining Avani+ hotel, the restaurant is sophisticated, sultry, and chic.
Menus are created by chef Alexandre Castaldi and inspired by SEEN’S founder Olivier da Costa and embody local ingredients with an international flair to complement all palettes. With an extensive beverages menu, SEEN also offers seven sinfully named signature cocktails made by an award-winning mixology team. If you are wanting to experience extravagance the ‘Pop-the-Cherry’ dessert is a must. Served in a long, tall glass with an indulgent cherry cake to crack open at the top.
The dining options at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort are plentiful and cover casual and formal dining preferences. Breakfast is served at The Market by the riverside and the breakfast buffet is impressive. Flavours and freshness are of the essence as you watch talented chefs cooking local and international flavours in front of you at various stations.
The Market offers diners both indoor air-conditioned seating and alfresco dining outside on the terrace. It also has an a-la-carte menu and a separate individual area for gluten and allergen free selections ensuring there is no cross-contamination.
Guests at the resort can also choose a dinner along the Chao Phraya River on the Manohra Cruise. Antique rice barges have been restored and repurposed with exquisite dining setting to cater for fine dining sailings on the river. Chao Phraya River is an exciting place to be after dark with lots of activity, and the Manohra Cruise is the perfect chance to view Thailand’s iconic landmarks, lit up in all their glory along the banks of the river in the pleasant company of family and friends.
The dinner cruise sets sail from Anantara Riverside pontoon just before sunset. The atmosphere on board was relaxed and the service is effortless with guests seated on the top deck. The set six-course menu is a blend of traditional Thai food with a modern twist, including dry ice magical desserts and gold leafed topped Thai curry.
Anantara Riverside can arrange a range of experiences for guests, and we were booked on the Klong Guru tour. The Klong Guru tour on a traditional Thai longtail boat is just over four hours with a guide, exploring the canals that branch off from the Chao Phraya River. Strikingly beautiful and painted in bright colours, Thai longtail boats are synonyms with any visit to Thailand and is a must to experience. The Klong Guru tour gives guests an opportunity to experience a glimpse into the real Bangkok as you float away through the hidden channels on the longtail boat at a leisurely pace.
There is always something to see including traditional wooden canal homes that line the canal banks, and very large water monitors laying in the sun. We visited small market shops, places to eat, and a resident artist at a small community built alongside the canals. The tour includes stopping at two significant Buddhist temples.
Klong Wai Sat temple is one of the oldest in Bangkok and the resting place of the reclining Buddha. Serene and peaceful. The Royal Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen temple has a breathtaking giant golden Buddhist statue at 232 feet tall, and an interesting museum of ancient artifacts from all over Asia.
If guests are wanting to explore Bangkok, and perhaps do a little shopping there is a complimentary shuttle boat at Anantara Riverside. The shuttle boat connects you to a main jetty as well as to the nearest sky train station, the Asiatique mall and Icon Siam.
Icon Siam is one of the latest shopping complexes in Bangkok with 7,000 shops incorporated in a Thai inspired architectural 10-story complex. Shopping ranged from high end designer brands too small Thai market stores. On the lower level of Icon Siam is a floating market where there is an enormous food court.
An eclectic range of wonderful Asian dishes are available including Durian in many different modes. For convenience a few steps across from the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort you can access the Riverside Plaza mall. A small shopping centre with eating places and most importantly a chemist.
The concierge had allocated a day of my stay at Anantara Riverside Bangkok to luxury and self-care as part of our itinerary. Anantara Riverside Bangkok is focused on wellness at the very heart of its values. There is a traditional spa found in many luxury hotels, but Anantara Riverside complements the traditional with a modern preventative wellness medical facility onsite. The BDMS Wellness Retreat is part of the award winning BDMS network of private hospitals. With a strong ethos in prevention rather than cure.
I experienced the Royal crystal Skin treatment and IV treatment at the BDMS Wellness Retreat. The Royal skin treatment is a needleless procedure which infuses renewing and nurturing ingredients into the deep layers of your skin.
There are several IV treatments to choose from a the BDMS Wellness Retreat depending on an individuals need. I chose the Jet lag treatment and both treatments were done at the same time. With my skin glowing and a boost of energy, I then spent the afternoon at Anantara’s Spa, enjoying a traditional Thai massage and manicure.
The staff of the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort deserve a special mention. We equate luxury with superior service and that is exactly what we encountered and as a guest you feel like you are individual with curated experiences to suit personal needs. Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort is a luxury oasis, that surpassed my expectations and cannot wait to revisit Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort on my next trip to Bangkok to recharge and relax. The quality and luxury of the resort embodies the continuity of luxury and service one expects from the Anantara brand in Asia.
Book here for your stay at Anantara Riverside Resort, Bangkok