Bangkok is a city with multiple personalities. It can be a chic, modern metropolis with rooftop bars and sparkling cocktails, or a noisy local market stuffed with street food, tuk tuks and tourists enjoying Chang beers.
At Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort you feel like you’re in another part of Thailand entirely; the deep green swimming pool, light-filled balconies and riverside dining, create a little taste of life on the Thai Islands.
Where many Bangkok hotels reach up towards the sky, Anantara Riverside spreads out along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. The 408 rooms and suites form a u-shape around the generous sized pool, with riverside rooms offering a direct view over the water.
My room in the building just in front of the spa was bookended by a greenery-filled atrium and a balcony overlooking the river. As jet lag woke me up earlier than normal I was rewarded with sunrise views over Bangkok and a glimpse into the life of the local tradesmen who ferry people and goods around the waterways.
You may enjoy breakfast directly in front of the river too. The extensive buffet (and I mean extensive – more options than you can physically sample in 2 days – and believe me I tried!) spreads both inside and out of The Market Restaurant. The outdoor live cooking station featured chefs preparing omelettes as well as Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes. There were curries and noodles, dumplings and din sum, pancakes and waffles, and even a bread pudding. Inside was a colourful array of fruit, yoghurts and cereals, plus my favourite, the baked goods, which featured pastries, muffins and some very tempting donuts.
You really are spoilt for dining options across the whole of the resort – it features a total of 10 restaurants and bars. For lunch I dined at renowned Japanese Teppanyaki steakhouse, Benihana. The chef performed his special version of ‘eat-ertainment’, making me chuckle as he threatened to throw eggs at my head before making them into a delicious fried rice to go with my freshly grilled King Prawns.
Another favourite of mine was the Numero Uno deli and bakery, which served western and Asian dishes as well as selling an incredible array of pastries, sweets and chocolates. They served great coffee, which was good to grab on my way out in the morning, and I may also have tried a truffle or two. (Which were absolutely delicious.)
Of an evening you’ll find live music in the lobby, a traditional dance performance at the Riverside Terrace and an entertaining cover’s band at Trader Vic’s Polynesian bar and Pacific Rim restaurant. Trader Vic’s speciality are Mai Thai cocktails with a twist – I highly recommend the mango.
One place I sadly didn’t have time to sample was the spa. I poked my head in to see the facilities though and the couples massage rooms, complete with petal strewn Jacuzzi, looked incredible.
I found my Zen in the bedroom instead. I stayed in a Deluxe Premier River View Room, which had a desk space, lounge seat, power shower and deep bath tub. The desk area came with a very smart bonus – a mobile phone loaded up with credit to make free local calls (and some international), as well as unlimited data and preloaded city guides and apps to help you navigate the city better. I loved the guide to the city’s best temples, it helped me see some of the best sights in my limited time, as well as the handy tool which said in Thai ‘take me back to the Anantara Hotel.’ I was also able to log into Facebook and chat to friends as I navigated the city, and at the end of my stay all the data was wiped with the touch of one button.
Also helping guests to navigate the city is the free shuttle boat, which runs from the hotel to Saphan Taksin (Central Pier) every half hour. The hotel is located on the west bank of Chao Phraya River so during rush hour (which seems to be all day in Bangkok!) it can be a little difficult to reach the city centre by road. Navigating the sights by the river is super easy, however, and a far more pleasant experience too. From Central Pier you can easily hop on a tourist boat to the Grand Palace, Flower Market and Wat Pho (to name a few) or catch a train from the nearby Saphan Taksin skytrain station. Of an evening, the hotel also offers a boat service to Asiatique night market (a new shopping, dining and entertaining complex), which is directly across the water from the Anantara Riverside Resort.
In a nutshell you’ll like this hotel if you’re looking for relaxed resort-style accommodation with convenient boat access to the top tourist sights in Bangkok.
The best bits are:
The free shuttle boat to Central Pier
The free mobile phone preloaded with guides and internet data
The incredibly extensive breakfast buffet
The range of food, coffee, cocktails and chocolates at the resort restaurants
Guest room balconies overlooking the river
Greenery in the atriums, flowers in the lobby and elephant towel art in the bedrooms
The slick level of service, style and sophistication you find at Anantara properties
My room was complimentary. All opinions are my own.