Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River offers riverside luxury

REGISTRATION

Take me to the river. In fact, more specifically, take me straight to the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River (as much of a bite as that might be). This glamorous, relatively new and self-proclaimed urban resort is located just off a major section of the exotic Thai capital’s aquatic thoroughfare. Everything seems calculated successfully to apply to certain other riverside establishments a sort of chic and contemporary five-star aquatic torture contest. To some extent overlooked by visitors as a place to stay in Bangkok, for its admirers, this elongated riverside oasis represents the essence (albeit clogged) of this sprawling and hopelessly unforeseen giant of Southeast Asia. East.

THE LOOK

Above ground level, the hotel’s architecture isn’t particularly inspiring, with much of Belgian designer Jean-Michel Gathy’s aesthetic attention wisely devoted to its unusually sprawling river-facing spaces. Shallow pools of polished rock and lotus, interspersed with islands of tables and chairs shaded by towering columns, lead seductively to the Chao Phraya. Closer to the shore and promenade is the larger, deeper and totally swimmable pool. Inside, the hotel lobby with high ceilings and muted tones is adorned with bold and carefully selected artworks by talented Thai artists from leading local galleries and carefully selected and lavish coffee table tomes for guest reading.

BEDROOM

SatJul30Review of the Four Seasons Bangkok at the Chao Phraya River Hotel.  Photo: provided

My attractive deluxe riverside rooms are 50 square meters in size and offer fabulous morning, noon and night views of the Chao Phraya and the scattered city skyline. In one of the many nice touches and accessories, the small lounge chair-like lounging area comes complete with a shelf of books and current affairs magazines. If you can do without a view, book one of the cheaper (though still expensive) Entry Courtyard Rooms, which still allow full access to the hotel’s overt delights.

FOOD + DRINK

SatJul30Review of the Four Seasons Bangkok at the Chao Phraya River Hotel.  Photo: provided

As befits one of Asia’s undisputed culinary capitals, eating and drinking is an integral part of this hotel’s package. Shortly after opening, sadly just months before the pandemic was declared, Yu Ting Yuan, the on-site Cantonese restaurant overlooking the courtyard pool, was awarded a Michelin star, although oddly enough the equally impressive Italian restaurant , Riva del Fiume, missed. More recently, the hotel’s signature bar, BKK Social Club, inspired by the watering holes resembling early 20th-century speakeasys in Buenos Aires, was named one of Asia’s top 10 bars in the coveted World’s 50 Best Awards (and yes, one of the delicious negroni-like drinks is inevitably called “Evita”). Right by the river there is also a French restaurant, Palmier, with rumors of an upcoming Japanese restaurant.

OUTSIDE + ABOUT

While we were away, Bangkok’s so-called Creative District has become a smash hit with locals and now returning tourists. Hugging a few riverside hoods not far from the Four Seasons, teeming with galleries, restaurants, cafes, bars and street art, it’s the antithesis of Bangkok’s meatpots. Cleverly keen to align itself with this cool part of the Thai capital and with its own fully-fledged art gallery in conjunction with the Bangkok Museum of Contemporary Art, the hotel offers guests paid tours of the creative district as well as the historic Thai district. Portuguese district of Kudeejeen.

THE VERDICT

A broad vote of confidence in the Chao Phraya River and its underrated attractions, this exceptionally well-designed and well-run luxury hotel offers a memorable experience for the visitor to Bangkok who can afford it.

ESSENTIAL

Deluxe Courtyard View Rooms start from 13,500 THB ($530) a night. 300/1 Charoen Krung Road, Khwaeng Yan Nawa, Khet Sathon, Bangkok, Thailand. Telephone +66 2032 0888. See fourseasons.com

Anthony Dennis stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

OUR SCORE OUT OF FIVE

★★★★★

UNDERLINE

The expansive setting and unrivaled riverside amenities are a sanctuary from the still chaotic city beyond

LOW LIGHT

A confused tuk tuk driver dropped us off at the location of the old Four Seasons in the center of town

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