In May 2022, I checked into the Riverfront Premier room at Capella Bangkok. Situated within the high-end mixed development Chao Phraya Estate along Bangkok’s landmark Chao Phraya River, the 101-key ultra-luxury urban resort is a 10-minute walk from Bangkok’s Rattanakosin Old Town district, with the Grand Palace, National Museum and the iconic Wat Arun Buddhist temple being nearby attractions. A car can bring you to the nearby Saphan Taksin skytrain station in five minutes, while Suvarnabhumi Airport is 40 minutes away. Complimentary boat shuttle service to ICONSIAM shopping centre across the river is available.
Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is next door, while other notable hotels in the vicinity include Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok and lebua at State Tower.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Exclusive and discreet ultra-luxurious hideaway by the riverfront.
The must-dos (if any): Enjoy breakfast (and dinner) at Phra Nakhon, enjoy evening Cin Cin hour at Stella, enjoy the Auriga Spa wet lounge facilities.
Past the tall doors of the fairly low-key and discreet entrance, you are immediately welcomed by the unexpected sight of lush greenery and glistening waters beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows of the expansive lobby area, with the reflective and glossy surfaces lending to an immersive sense of tranquil infinity. Designed by architecture firm Hamiltons International and interior design studio BAMO (who also styled various Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Rosewood and The Peninsula luxury properties around the world), the hotel boasts an elegant residential aesthetic with marble, chrome and plush textures complemented by Thai-inspired motifs and latticework. Art pieces such as the wave-like and shimmering “River of Gold” fabric artwork by Thai textile artist Ploenchan ‘Mook’ Vinyaratn draped on one of the walls of the Tea Lounge add a sense of culture-soaked drama to the lobby proceedings.
Upon your arrival, you are escorted down the long lobby walkway to the Living Room, where champagne and bonbons are served as you complete your guest registration process and hear more about the property and its various facilities and programmes. Aside from being the reception area, the Living Room is the venue for most of the hotel’s complimentary activities, including the “Time for Totes” session I tried during which guests are supplied with watercolour paints as well as a small tote bag to live out their inner Picasso ambitions. Other complimentary activities offered during my stay include hotel art and photography tours, a TRX workout session as well as a variety of wellness activities.
Your personal Capella culturist is on hand (or a call/Whatsapp chat away) to assist you with whatever you need, from clothes pressing requests and dinner reservations to an explanation of the artworks in your room and even luggage unpacking. My own Capella culturist got in touch with me prior to my stay and, based on my interest in food and culture indicated in my pre-arrival survey, offered several nearby food recommendations such as Tuang Dim Sum, Kah Mu Charoensaeng, Sui Heng Chicken Rice as well as Khun Pu Curry Puff.
The urban resort’s riverfront location is suitably harnessed and exploited by the various accommodation types. Rooms offer calming scenic views (and, in some cases, spacious balconies with divans for hazy moonlit conversations), while the luxurious villas offer private plunge pools and gardens with sala lounges right by the Chao Phraya river. The boutique property’s 101 rooms means guests enjoy an elevated sense of exclusivity and privacy not offered at the neighbouring Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River which hosts almost three times the number of rooms.
In terms of wellness, the hotel offers a fitness centre as well as a decidedly private infinity pool. A trip to the Aesop-stocked Auriga Spa is essential – the wet lounge’s vitality pool offers three distinct aqua-therapy experiences of varying intensities, while the multi-sensorial shower experience includes mesmerising audiovisual elements, with the Caribbean Storm mode boasting amazing thunderstorm sound and lighting effects that resemble a Universal Studios ride. During my stay, I went for a 60-minute deep tissue massage, and the masterful massage therapist managed to simultaneously make me squirm and wince with her elbow crescendo strokes as well as lull me to near-sleep all during the same session. Magical.
Situated on the hotel’s higher floors, the 61sqm Riverfront Premier room boasts panoramic views of the Chao Phraya river through floor-to-ceiling windows as well as a private balcony fitted with a divan. The residential-style room plays it all hushed shades of grey and beige, with touches of pale and blonde wood. The king size bed features Egyptian cotton linens for a luxurious bedtime experience, while a bedside tablet gives you access to hotel information as well as guest services. The sofa seating as well as work desk are situated next to the windows such that you can always enjoy the scenic river views.
The pantry is stocked with a Nespresso coffee machine as well as Capella-branded fine teas (think Sencha Fukamushi, Chamomile Blossoms and Lemongrass Ginger), while the minibar offers bottles of Iron Balls gin, Suntory Old Whisky, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Singha Thai beer as well as the brand’s own Capella Diamant Champagne, a Tête de Cuvée crafted by Vranken House.
Both the bedroom and the walk-in closet with light-up dresser area are connected to the luxurious marble bathroom, which is furnished with a sizeable egg-shaped bathtub as well as double vanities overlooking the balcony and sparkling waters beyond (not unlike the set-up at Capella Singapore’s recently renovated Capella Suite). Bathroom amenities are from the perfumed Etoile de Siam range which was specially created for the hotel. In terms of toiletries, you can expect Marvis toothpaste and mouthwash as well as individually-packed Capella or Capella Bangkok-branded toothbrushes, combs and hairbrushes. Ultra-fluffy terry-cloth bathrobes are also available for relaxed sofa lounging or in-room photoshoots for your social media posts.
Breakfast is served at Phra Nakhon, the Thai dining riverfront restaurant on the ground level which offers indoor, terraced and outdoor riverside seating. The buffet line offers cold cuts and cheeses, fruits and a range of artisan breads and viennoiserie, while all hot foods are served a la minute. The food menu offers a selection of egg dishes such as Traditional Eggs Benedict, Pork Hash Benedict as well as Unagi Benedict (onsen egg, freshwater eel, onigiri rice ball, soba hollandaise); a Japanese selection including Okayu Suzuki (Japanese style congee, sea bass, nori butter, egg and spring onions), Omu Rice (fluffy omelet, bacon fried rice, spring onion and rich tomato sauce) and Grilled Salmon; a range of Thai specialties such as Bha Mhi Moo Dang (roasted marinated pork, egg noodle soup), Moo Ping Khao Niew (grilled marinated pork skewer with sticky rice) and Khai Jiao Goong (Thai-style omelette with shrimp); as well as a selection of sweets such as Shibuya Toast (brioche, pineapple compote, creme fraiche, cinnamon sugar), Belgian Waffle (with passionfruit and Chanthaburi sugar cane syrup) and Buckwheat Pancake. My favourites were the Hoover Fish Porridge-esque Khao Tom Pla (boiled jasmine rice in fish broth, sea bass, fried garlic, spring onion, Chinese celery and coriander) as well as the texturally surprising Kua Gai (wok fried flat rice noodle with chicken and dried squid.
I must say, without reservation, my Phra Nakhon breakfast was the best hotel breakfast I’ve had during this Bangkok trip.
During my stay, I also tried the “Sam Rub” dinner course menu, and it was sensational. The Pla Pu Gub Khao Greab Pla (swimming crab meat salad with fish crackers, kaffir lime leaves, chillis and herbs) and Yum Som O Pla Fu (crispy fried white snapper floss topped with seasonal pomelo, kaffir lime leaves, Phra Nakhon dressing, cashew nuts and betel leaves) were umami gems while the Yum Hua Plee Gai (poached shredded free-range chicken and banana blossom salad, dried shrimps, Phra Nakhon chili paste, soft boiled egg and spicy coconut dressing) played it like a juicy, riotous Thai tribute to nasi lemak with anchovies. The Moo Grob Pad Prik Glua (wok-fried roast kurobuta pork belly with mixed hot chilli and herbs) was sticky, cracklingly crispy and moreish, while the most memorable dish of the evening was the Tom Yum Goong Nam Sao Khao (traditional style hot and sour soup of jasmine rice stock with river prawn and mushroom), which was lobster bisque-esque in its unadulterated crustacean intensity.
The most buzzy dining concept at the hotel is the one-Michelin-starred Côte by Mauro Colagreco, conceptualised by the Argentinian chef behind the three-Michelin-starred Mirazur in Nice. (On a related note, Chef Mauro launches Italian restaurant Fiamma in Capella Singapore this year.) I had the Escapade four-course lunch with wine pairing during my stay, and I must say the tender Braised Octopus with Zucchini with Grilled Vegetable Bouillon as well as the exceptional Hamachi Fish with Rhubarb, Cedrat and Watercress had brilliant pairings. (I particularly enjoyed the very crisp Prà Staforte Soave Classico.)
Evening Cin Cin hour for inhouse guests is held at the flamboyant Art Deco and boudoir-style cocktail and ‘dessert omakase’ bar Stella, which boasts a glittering tree-like chandelier above a centrepiece white peacock structure. From 5-6pm, guests can enjoy one cocktail or beverage from the Cin Cin hour menu as well as haute nibbles of the day. The City of Khai (Authentic Thai Rum, Roasted Rice, Spices and Tom Kha Foam) wore its Thai influences with gusto, but I much preferred the spirit-forward Smoky Rani (Smoky Agave Spirit, Super Spiced Rum, Sweet Vermouth) which was topped with a delectable slice of charred coconut.
Rounding up the hotel’s dining concepts is the Tea Lounge at the lobby, where guests can enjoy afternoon tea in an elegant setting against a lily pond backdrop.
Comparisons will inevitably be drawn between the hotel and its neighbour Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River, which does deliver its ultra-luxury offerings on a grander scale, not just in terms of breadth but also visual spectacle across its various spaces. However, this property edges out its competitor in terms of the exclusivity and personalised service delivered, the discreet and private guest experience as well as the strength of its wellness offerings. For a stellar and ultra-luxurious destination for a discreet quiet and pampering hideaway, you can’t do much better than Capella Bangkok.
300/2 Charoenkrung Road
Yannawa, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120