Perhaps the greatest pleasure of a stay in Bangkok is sitting beside the Chao Phraya River, just observing the life of the waterway, with its hulking black rice barges, the longtail speedboats with their aerial wakes of spray and the water buses, packed with commuters and, invariably, a tight group of saffron-robed Buddhist monks standing serenely at the stern. Our two favorite riverside properties are The Siam, a 39-room boutique hotel set amid 3 acres of gardens, and the legendary Mandarin Oriental, the grande dame of the Thai capital, with its 331 rooms and suites.
Serious competition will arrive in the shape of Capella Bangkok, the latest venture of the Singapore-based luxury hotel group. Located just downstream from the Mandarin Oriental, its 101 rooms, suites and villas will all offer panoramic river views. The property’s Thai restaurant, Phra Nakhon, will be set at the water’s edge, with tables on a terrace for outdoor dining. Elsewhere, the Capella will offer Côte, a restaurant featuring the traditional recipes of the French and Italian rivieras, a stretch of coastline extending from Nice to Genoa, under the supervision of Michelin three-star chef Mauro Colagreco. Other facilities will include an Auriga Wellness spa and Stella, a cocktail bar overlooking the Chao Phraya.