Since the Mandarin Oriental opened its doors on the banks of the Chao Phraya in the 1870s, the area has become known for luxurious accommodations. In the more than 100 years that have passed, other super luxury hotels, including the Shangri-La and the Peninsula, have opened, giving the neighborhood at the bottom of Chinatown
and the edge of Silom a concentration of luxury hotels not found anywhere else in the city. These days there are plenty of other luxury properties in Bangkok, but none offer the ambiance, and the view, that these riverside luxury hotels do.
Aside from the old guard of large, luxury riverside hotels, there are a handful of more modern properties that have sprung up along the Chao Phraya. These, including Chakrabongse Villas and the newly opened Siam, offer guests luxury and without large crowds.
photo copyright Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
This grande dame of Bangkok riverside hotels has been putting up well-heeled guests for more than one hundred years. The location, right on the river on the edge of Chinatown and a short walk from the Skytrain
, makes it one of the best riverside hotels for sightseeing in the historic parts of the capital and exploring the more modern parts of Bangkok. Rooms are well appointed and maintained with care, though they can feel a little old fashioned in terms of layout and décor, especially in the old wing of the hotel. Some of the common areas celebrate neo-colonial style, others luxurious Thai design and material. The cozy Bamboo Bar features live jazz and well-made martinis. All in all it makes for a lovely, if old fashioned, stay.
- Address: 48 Oriental Avenue, Bangkok, +66 2659 9000.
- Price: From 14,000 Baht ($360) for a double room, breakfast included.
On the other side of the river, right across from the Shangri-La and the Oriental is the third of Bangkok’s high-end riverside hotels. Rooms are spacious and opulent (lush fabrics and carved wood abound) and everything feels subtly but undeniably Asian. All rooms have river views and, like other Peninsula properties across the globe, service is unfaultable. The pool and other common areas are modern, lush and green but it’s the property’s Thai restaurant, Thiptara, that gets rave reviews from visitors, probably because of the waterfront setting and the very traditional decor. With the extension of Bangkok’s Skytrain
across the river, the Peninsula’s Thonburi location no longer feels too far away. If they’re not being chauffeured around in the hotel’s BMW 7 Series limousines, most guests use the Peninsula’s private shuttle boat, which runs from early morning to midnight, to take them across the river to the Skytrain.
- Address: 333 Charanakorn Road, Bangkok, +66 2861 2888.
- Price: From 7,000 Baht ($225) for a double room, breakfast included.
If the Oriental is Bangkok’s grande dame of riverside hotels, Lebua must be the Oriental’s sexy granddaughter! The high-rise hotel, with rooms on the 51st – 59th floors of the State Tower, is luxurious but very modern, with an unfussy aesthetic that lets the property’s best asset, the views, shine through. All rooms are actually suites so even the smallest has at least a little sitting area separated from the bedroom. The largest suites are enormous, making the property a surprisingly good choice for families (or crazy Hangover-style
bachelor parties, as the case may be). The open air rooftop dining and drinks on the 63rd floor offer guests an unparalleled way to experience Bangkok and even if you’re not staying in the hotel it’s worth a visit for a cocktail. The hotel isn’t quite on the river, but it’s just a block from the Chao Phraya in a bustling and very interesting neighborhood.
- Address: Silom Road, Bangkok, +66 2624 9999.
- Price: From 4,000 Baht ($130) for a double room, breakfast included.
This massive property has the best riverside location in all of Bangkok, thanks to its proximity to the Saphan Taksin Skytrain
station and Central Pier Chao Phraya river ferry
stop. Most rooms, which are decorated with lots of deep colors and lush materials, have excellent views of the Chao Phraya river and some have balconies overlooking the water, too. The main hotel lobby and common area also sets this property apart from the competition, as the sweeping 40+ foot ceilings and glass wall facing the river make visitors feel like they’re right on the water (minus the heat and the mosquitoes). The Krungthep Wing, the hotel’s version of a club floor, has a lounge with breakfast, afternoon tea and cocktails and is worth the additional cost if you’ll be spending any time at the hotel.
- Address: 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, Charoen Krung Road, Bangkok, +66 2236 7777.
- Price: From 7,000 Baht ($230) for a double room, breakfast included.
This stunning luxury resort hidden away in a quiet, un-touristy area of Bangkok’s Old City, would be just the place to see and be seen if it weren’t so discreet (no doubt it’s the type of property that will be attracting movie stars and other glitterati looking to lounge in private pool villas by the Chao Phraya incognito). Expansive common areas, which include a library and a small movie theater, are filled with the owners’ personal collection of antiques and make the Siam feel both very modern and timeless. The clean, nearly spare aesthetic blends a bit of old Thai architecture, a little Moroccan design and even some art deco but it works brilliantly. In fact the hotel is so beautiful the average tourist may feel a bit out of place, or at least feel the need to get dressed up for dinner in one of the old Thai houses that have been repurposed and renovated as dining rooms. If you're feeling more casual, though, the Siam is very close to some of the city's best Thai street food
, too. The regular suites, at over 800 square feet, are huge and include a comfortable sitting area. Pool villas have indoor and outdoor lounging areas, ridiculously spacious bathrooms and a small private roof deck on which to enjoy the view of the river.
- Address: 3/2 Khao Road, Bangkok, +66 2206 6999.
- Price: From 20,000 Baht ($500) for a standard suite, breakfast included.
The charming Thai-style small teak houses and lush gardens on the Chao Phraya river are as authentic as it gets. No wonder, as before this was a boutique resort, it was a small royal palace and the family that owns it are descendants of one of the Rama kings. The location, right in the middle of the Old City, can’t be beat for sightseeing and dining out, but staff will also cater private dinners on the grounds. This is a very small, very private property and folks who choose to stay here forgo the hustle and bustle of a crowded hotel lobby or restaurant.
- Address: 396 Maharaj Road.
- Price: From 8,000 Baht ($235) for a small suite to 25,000 Baht ($735) for a full villa.