plunge pool and umbrella overlooking a river at sunset
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Capella Bangkok

Capella Bangkok is a boutique property on the Chao Phraya River that is recognized by locals and visitors as one of the best in the city.

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courtyard with black and white tiles, a central fountain and hanging greenery
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The Siam Bangkok

A beautiful riverfront property tucked away in the oldest part of Bangkok, The Siam hotel offers a charming and intimate oasis.

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137 Pillars Suites & Residences

Explore 137 Pillars Suites & Residences, the Indagare-reviewed boutique luxury property in Bangkok, Thailand, with a chic modern vibe and intimate privacy.
Lobby at Anantara Siam Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

Anantara Siam Bangkok

The cavernous lobby of the Anantara has a soaring painted ceiling and centers on a grand staircase featuring an enormous hand-painted Thai mural in eye-popping colors. The ambiance is easy going and welcoming, especially in the common areas, like the lobby lounge, where a classical trio performs during afternoon high tea (it’s a wonderful spot to take a break from shopping at the nearby department stores) and evening cocktails. There are six restaurants on the premises, including the popular Thai-food temple Spice Market; an eighty-two-foot pool surrounded by a garden; and a shopping arcade sheltering Lotus Arts de Vivre, Jim Thompson and other haute labels.

Rooms at the Anantara are spread across nine floors of an open-air building that encircles an interior courtyard where the restaurant Aqua, popular for brunch, and the excellent Anantara shopping arcade are located. Because the hotel is open-air style, much of the building's façade is visible to visitors inside. The hotel’s interiors, however, are far more charming and feature a Thai-inspired contemporary style marked by lots of teak, silk and hand-painted murals behind the beds (all king-size or two doubles). Bathrooms are spacious, with deep soaking tubs. The hotel has the size and capacity to offer guests all of the comforts they might desire, while maintaining a sense of Thai character in all of the accommodations. The best views are of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, a nearby golf course, a unique view of greenery surrounded by city skyscrapers.

The service is flawless and so friendly that the overall atmosphere is relaxed. The property is suitable for couples and families alike. Little guests will appreciate such child-friendly amenities as milk and cookies during turndown service, tents in the suites, a make-your-own-cupcake amenity and a special children’s menu.

In lieu of being on the river, the hotel has one of the best locations in Bangkok, just a few steps from the Sky Train, an invaluable alternative to navigating the dreadful Bangkok traffic and the easiest way to access sights, shops and restaurants by land. The buzzing Sukhumvit area, for instance, is a ten-minute ride away; the buzzing weekend market Chatuchak is about twenty minutes from the hotel. Also nearby are department stores, like Paragon and Gaysorn; Silom village; Lumpini Park; Suan Lum Night Bazaar. For those looking to shop in closer proximity to home, the hotel’s shopping arcade is unbeatable, featuring boutiques like Jim Thompson and Lotus Arts de Vivre along with various restaurants and cafes, all set in a lovely leafy courtyard, perfect a quick break.

You may sacrifice some of the colorful river activity, but you gain in convenience. On Sundays, don’t miss brunch at Aqua.

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Pool at Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok, Thailand

COMO Metropolitan, Bangkok

At first glance, the building that the Metropolitan occupies, a former YMCA, is less than inspiring, even a bit depressing. But the interiors masterfully blend minimalist chic with laid-back comfort (the hotel is the sister property of the COMO Metropolitan in London).

The 169 rooms are modern and airy and have long windows, open layouts, sleek furniture made from Thai Makha wood, oversized king-size beds and a subdued, earthy color scheme. All come with Wi-Fi and large flat-screen televisions as well as spacious, limestone-clad bathrooms. Go for one of the spacious Metropolitan rooms on the top floors (the smallest measures a very comfortable 550 square feet) and ask for a view of the pool. Celebrities and headliners book duplex Penthouse Suites with private access and 24-hour butler service.

As at all COMO properties, there’s a serious focus on wellness, as evidenced by the yoga mats in the rooms’ closets (there are free daily classes), the organic restaurant Glow and the Zen-inspired COMO Shambhala spa, an oasis of holistic pampering. The pool is attractive enough, but it’s located in the hotel’s courtyard, right behind the main dining room, so it feels a bit exposed (I like to do laps in the morning but wasn’t thrilled by the idea of walking in a bathing suit past a row of breakfasting fellow guests). The excellent Nahm is a good choice for a special dinner.

Unlike those at some other design hotels, the staff has absolutely no attitude and could not be more attentive or helpful (on a recent stay, our misguided idea of taking a taxi to a restaurant in another neighborhood during rush hour was sweetly but firmly reconfigured; we ended up taking the Sky Train). For leisure travelers, the Metropolitan’s location isn’t ideal, as the nearest Sky Train station (Saladaeng) is a good ten-minute walk, but the hotel is close to some great restaurant options (Eat Me and Celadon, as well as the in-house Nahm) and the Suan Lum Night Bazaar.

Lobby at Hotel Muse, Bangkok, Thailand

Hotel Muse

Set among the towering residences of Langsuan Road in Bangkok’s frenetic city center, Hotel Muse offers a stylish break from the capital’s popular riverside hideaways. Inspired by 19th- and early 20th-century indulgence in Europe and Thailand, the hotel’s design story is moody, sexy and urban: dark floors, oversized carved wooden doors, tufted red velvet chairs, oriental area rugs and dramatic light fixtures combine to create smart, multi-texture spaces.

The 174 rooms split across six different categories were named after Buddhist cosmology (starting with the Jatu Deluxe) and are swathed in an East-meets-West style. The 32 Dowadueng Corner Deluxe may not be as big as the suites, but the amenities are perfect for the city traveler. Their corner locations and massive windows offer dramatic vistas and bathrooms boast hand-painted basins, claw-foot tubs and black marble floors. For those who crave outdoor space, the Nimman suites on the 17th floor are outfitted with a leafy terrace.

Like all five-star properties in Bangkok, Hotel Muse’s entertainment options are robust. There are several dining options including an Italian restaurant that also offers BBQ and a 19th-floor pool that overlooks the capital’s Central Business District. There is also a speakeasy bar complex that serves some of the best cocktails in town.

Restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

This legendary property, located right on the Chao Phraya River, opened in 1876 with 14 rooms (used mostly by Western traders passing through Siam) and immediately became famous for its sumptuous interiors. In its more-than-100-year existence, the Mandarin Oriental went through several expansions, and most of the guest rooms are now located in the River Wing, which opened in 1977 (though the original part of the hotel still houses a host of suites as well as the Authors’ Lounge, which was restored in early 2016 and where high tea is served every afternoon).

The soaring lobby, which has oversized golden and teak bells suspended from the ceiling, mirrored walls and a fountain adorned with flowers, is continuously buzzing with activity and has long been a favorite meeting spot for the Thai royal family, moneyed locals, expats and visitors (some critics liken the ambience to that of a train station). More serene are the 368 rooms and suites, all showcasing the signature Mandarin Oriental style: understated elegance. The 24 rooms and suites in the Historic Garden Wing were renovated in 2016 as part of an $18 million restoration project; with stunning white-marble bathrooms and plenty of light flowing in from the floor-to-ceiling windows, they're breathtaking. Some of them have a split-level layout with the bed on a mezzanine, so on waking, you feel as if you were floating above the river. True traditionalist travelers will appreciate rooms in the Authors’ building of the Historic Garden Wing, a two-story colonial structure that overlooks a lush garden and whose four suites are individually designed (the Joseph Conrad one comes with a gorgeous private terrace as well as carved wooden doorways and a silk-paneled study). Those looking to splurge needn’t look further than the new Royal Suite located in the Garden Wing, which boasts impeccable design and privacy. As you’d expect, service is top-notch: friendly, smooth and helpful.

For those traveling with children, the real perk of staying at the Mandarin Oriental is the fabulous pool, which is framed by daybeds and loungers, offers views of the river and provides a serene resort feel in the midst of Bangkok’s chaotic bustle. The hotel’s many restaurants and lounges include the breezy riverside Verandah, the popular Bamboo Bar and the charming Authors’ Lounge. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, a visit to one of these is a must on any first-time trip. The Author’s Court afternoon high tea makes for a wonderful break from shopping at nearby O.P. Place, Cotton House or River City Verandah. The Mandarin Oriental’s acclaimed spa and cooking school are located across the river. Those looking to shop closer to home will enjoy the hotel’s shopping arcade, which is filled with high-end boutiques offering jewelry, textiles, antiques and more from renowned artisans and brands like Jim Thompson and Lotus Arts de Vivre.

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Pool Lounge at  Peninsula Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

Peninsula Bangkok

Each floor has just ten spacious rooms and two suites, arranged so that they all overlook the river. Interiors are modern and comfortable and have lots of blond-wood furniture, plush carpets, couches and chairs in sunny yellows and large, contemporary bathrooms. There’s Wi-Fi throughout, and a teched-out device on the nightstand controls everything from lights to curtains. Better than TV is the river action unfolding below, especially at night, when boats outlined in small lights cruise up and down in front of the hotel and the city’s skyscrapers sparkle in the background. Rooms on the upper floors have the most expansive views. Those not suffering from vertigo may wish to book a room with a balcony. The upper-floor suites are all individually designed and include the Thai Suite, done almost entirely in teakwood, and the Terrace Suite, a sumptuous penthouse with an outdoor Jacuzzi. In addition, corner suites and rooms can be joined for two or more families traveling together. Some find the Peninsula’s sleek, polished ambience a bit corporate—and it doesn’t have the lived-in, historical feel of the Mandarin Oriental — but I truly appreciated the extra space in the room and the more tranquil common areas (since the hotel is across the river from downtown Bangkok, it doesn’t get nearly the foot traffic that properties on the other side do).

Even you don’t stay here, the excellent Thai restaurant Thiptara is worth a trip across the river, as is the tranquil spa, which opened in 2006 in a restored colonial house. The Peninsula also has a narrow three-tiered pool lined with gazebos, but its location, beside Thiptara restaurant, feels a bit more exposed than the tucked-away garden setting of the pool at the Mandarin Oriental. Shoppers will enjoy the hotel’s comprehensive shopping arcade which features luxury brands like Jim Thompson and Lotus Arts de Vivreamong others. Service at the Peninsula is flawless and unobtrusive: each room, for instance, is outfitted with a “mailbox,” a small compartment where newspapers and messages appear as if by magic, without the guest ever having to open the front door of the room (each floor also has a butler who assists with small and large requests). The Peninsula is often cited as a fabulous business hotel, but leisure travelers looking for a somewhat removed, serene base with high-end amenities should consider it.

Except for the Mandarin Oriental spa and cooking school, almost all major sights, restaurants and other attractions are located across the river. There is non-stop shuttle service from 6 a.m. until midnight, so connecting to the rest of the city isn’t a major feat, but mentally the Peninsula feels somewhat removed from the bustle of Bangkok, an advantage or a disadvantage depending on personal preference. The hotel operates a long-tail boat shuttle that stops at several piers along the river.

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Lounge at  Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok

Rooms in the Shangri-La’s Krungthep wing, which was added in 1991 and also houses the excellent Chi Spa, come with balconies, butler service and offer more privacy and serenity than the ones in the Shangri-La Wing (it also has a pool exclusively for guests staying there and in suites in the Shangri-La Wing). Be aware, however, if you’re traveling with kids or elderly people, that the walk between the wings is considerable. There’s a gorgeous pool, surrounded by lush gardens by the river, two tennis courts and a gym with river views. Best of all, the location can’t be beat: within walking distance of a Sky Train station. Go for an upper-floor room with river views in the Krungthep Wing.

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Pond at Sukhothai, Bangkok, Thailand

Sukhothai Bangkok

Locals and loyal visitors cite it as one of the most serene properties in the city owing to the beautiful gardens, complete with lotus ponds that surround it. There are 210 rooms and suites, all done with lots of polished teak and Thai-inspired furnishings (ask for one with a terrace). The Celadon restaurant, in a traditional Thai building overlooking several lotus ponds, remains one of the city’s culinary temples. The Sukhothai is next to the Banyan Tree and the Metropolitan, so if you’re staying at either of these three hotels, be sure to take advantage of the different restaurants and bars in each of them, since they’re in an area not blessed with tons of dining-out options.

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