A certain ease and sense of intimacy pervades the Capella in Bangkok, as if all they really set out to do was build a home — albeit a fabulous one — on prime riverside real estate, in one of the coolest, most historic neighborhoods in town. And that somehow, through elegant curation and good taste, they’ve ended up with a glamorous luxury resort. Capella Bangkok opened in the midst of a pandemic, and while borders remained shut quickly became a favorite among the local hotel-loving staycation set. Now that international travel is slowly returning, travelers will find Capella to be a luxe yet cozy launchpad for exploring Bangkok’s Creative District, pockets of a sprawling city that ooze with historical charm, trendy hotspots, and plenty of art.
After navigating busy stretches of the storied Charoenkrung Road, paved in 1864 as Bangkok’s first modern thoroughfare, rolling into the gated Chao Phraya Estate — where the Capella stands beside the Four Seasons — feels like gliding into a serene and sophisticated world. Up a long, cobbled driveway, through a perfumed lobby, into a cozy, mood-lit living room with large, comfortable sofa sets and a fantastic view of the Chao Phraya. This is where guests are checked in, with a welcome drink and light bites, as the pageantry of river life plays out beyond the floor-to-ceiling glass windows: private hotel boats and cruisers sailing towards IconSiam and beyond, crossing paths with tiny tug boats chugging along with hulking cargo vessels in tow.
The river runs through it
You never quite forget where you are — along the River of Kings, thanks very much — wherever you wander within the property, a low-rise structure that subtly cascades all the way to the waterfront, giving all 101 of its rooms a front-row view of the river. Master-planned by Andy Miller and Scott Wilson of Hamiltons International, with interiors by the San Francisco-based BAMO Inc, the resort features an abundance of space. Accommodations begin at 61sqm, and range from riverfront rooms to two-family bedroom suites, all with sun decks, and villas with verandas and private plunge pools. Inside, the palette of earth tones — dark wood furniture, details of blond wood, cream-colored fabrics and cool marble — is soothing, as is the combination of textures, from the cloud-soft beds to the hand-pierced paper art by Nipan Oranniwesna on the wall, which features an excerpt from the Royal Barge Songs by Thammatibes, prince and poet of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya.
Food and dining
Breakfast is served at Phra Nakhon, where tables spill all way to the waterside promenade, under the shade of trees. On a good day you can sit and dine here for hours until sunset, when everything is drenched in honey hues, then decamp to Stella, the gold-dipped riverfront salon with soaring windows and a fabulous white Queen Victoria peacock as centerpiece, for the daily apero. For a truly memorable evening, a Riviera-inspired course menu with Asian inflections — plus a surprise twist — at Cote by Mauro Colagreco, the driving force behind the three-Michelin-starred Mirazur on the Cote D’Azur, will do just the trick. The fine-dining restaurant keeps with the rest of the property’s vibe, and the service is friendly and relaxed; the inhouse sommelier, in particular, does a fantastic job of steering you towards the most elegant choices.
A final word
The locale plays a large part in the Capella’s appeal — it’s photogenic, historic, and ripe for discovery. Don’t skip the hotel’s cycling tour of the neighborhood, an experience that takes you deep into the heart of South Charoen Krung and all the way to Chinatown. And don’t forget to ask for the hotel’s map which lists local culinary treasures, such as the decades-old Hainanese chicken rice specialist Sui Heng, several interesting wats and a storied mosque.