Chatrium may not be a household name among some international travellers, given that it is a home-grown Thai brand with properties almost exclusively located within the Kingdom. But while it may be lesser-known compared to the multitude of big international brands that have been making their way into the capital in recent years, Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok has been able to keep up, most notably with a new series of renovations (most completed now) that have been done to coincide with the property’s 10-year anniversary.
Where is it?
The hotel’s location by the waterfront in the more residential Wat Phraya Krai district towards the south of the city is a quiet one away from the busy centre of Bangkok. This makes it a pleasant place to retire to, but can make getting to other areas of the capital (especially with Bangkok’s notoriously bad traffic) a bit of a chore. The Saphan Taksin BTS station isn’t too far away, but it’s far enough that walking the distance in the Bangkok heat isn’t especially pleasant. This is a place that is seeing more development, however, with the Capella Bangkok and Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River both set to open this year.
What’s it like?
The property itself is big with plenty of space – though this may not be immediately obvious from the lobby, which is quite petite compared to the other areas of the property. The whole hotel has more of a resort feel than an urban property, which again makes it a nice place to return to after a day of work.
Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok’s rooms are huge – the smallest among them start at 60 sqm. Back during its initial construction, the hotel had originally been planned as a series of condominiums before it was reimagined as a hotel, and this shows with the fact that the rooms are more akin to serviced apartments than standard guestrooms.
All have large balconies with exceptional views out over the city – especially good considering the hotel’s location right by the river – and most have separate living rooms…
…and even fully equipped kitchens, though the most recent series of renovations have seen some rooms lose their kitchen facilities.
There are a lot of different room and suite categories – 17 overall – though many of these are actually the same sorts of rooms only with different views, or access to the Chatrium Club lounge. I was in the 70-sqm Chatrium Club Suite One Bedroom River View, which provided access to the lounge and had great views over the Chao Phraya River. Unfortunately this wasn’t one of the renovated rooms, though I did get to have a look at one later during my stay (more on that later).
This suite has a large dining/living room with a sofa, armchair and coffee table, and a small round table with two chairs facing a large flatscreen TV and stereo system as soon as you enter.
Right next to it is the open-plan kitchen with a large fridge and freezer, two hobs and a microwave oven for cooking, and a workspace with a sink.
Storage is plentiful here with many cupboards and cabinets. Through the sliding doors is the sizeable balcony with another two chairs and a small table, making this a great spot for enjoying a snack or drink while soaking in the view.
Beyond the living room you’ll find the bathroom, which features a separate shower (regular and rainfall)…
…as well as the toilet on one side, and the sink and mirror on the other. Amenities are as you’d expect – soap bar, dental kit, moisturiser, etc.
Finally beyond that you come to the bedroom, which features a large king-size bed on one side…
…and a long work desk and TV screen on the other.
Both bed and desk are orientated to face the corner floor-to-ceiling windows, and again the views here are stunning.
Generally my gripes are very few and far between. International sockets are a little sparse, especially by the bed, and instead the hotel has opted to provide rooms with an extension box with two universal sockets and two USB ports on the desk. Functionally this is fine, though it isn’t the most glamorous solution.
I also found that the air conditioning unit above the doorway leading to the bedroom was a bit drippy, meaning I occasionally found myself walking through a small puddle when going between the bedroom and bathroom. It wasn’t bothersome enough to warrant my calling downstairs about it though, and hopefully this issue will be sorted with the renovations.
Speaking of which, the revamped rooms are largely unchanged aside from an aesthetic upgrade – but I don’t mean this in a negative way. The older rooms are already thoroughly comfortable and spacious, so a slight facelift arguably is the best upgrade to give the rooms. Here are a couple of photos of the revamped rooms.
The Chatrium Club Lounge is located up on the 36th floor. I had breakfast here on my second morning at the hotel and was impressed by the selection, though guests will certainly find a more comprehensive spread at the main restaurant. What the lounge offers plenty of is calm and privacy – in my multiple visits, I only ever encountered a handful of other guests, making it a great place to have a meeting and get some work done.
It’s not the largest lounge I’ve ever visited, but it’s not small. The space is certainly helped by the incredibly high ceilings and natural light that pour in through the windows. The lounge also has plenty of character, with Thai ornaments on the walls that give the space a distinctly residential aesthetic.
Along with breakfast, and all-day coffee, tea, drinks and cookies, the lounge also offers an afternoon tea service that I highly recommend as well as cocktails and canapes from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Laundry services, complimentary two-hour use of the meeting room, and wifi are also available.
Food and drink
The hotel’s main restaurant, River Barge, is huge. Space is ample within the brightly lit ground-floor eatery, which offers an extensive all-day buffet option covering Thai and international cuisine – along with plenty of live cooking and carving stations.
However, there’s even more to be had outdoors at the adjacent Pier 28 (more of an outdoor seating section of River Barge than its own eatery) where guests can enjoy their meal next to the Chao Phraya River. This is especially good at dinner, which is complemented by live outdoor music performances – as well as ample karaoke that can be heard blaring out from the many “party boats” that head out over the river at night.
Up on the 36th floor is the hotel’s second major restaurant, Silver Waves Chinese Restaurant, located adjacent to the Chatrium Club Lounge. While I didn’t get a chance to sample the food, if it is able to match the views the restaurant commands it will be worth a visit.
Guests can also get high tea and other dishes at the Lobby Lounge on the ground floor, snacks and drinks at the Pool Bar on Level 6, and baked goods at Treats Gourmet, also on the ground floor.
The hotel’s gym is located on Level 4 and is open from 6am to 10pm – good hours for those looking to get a workout in at the beginning or end of their work day. The selection of machines and free weights are good, and I didn’t feel I had to wait around for any stations to open up during my stay. You do get a view of some trees while running on the treadmills, though it’s nothing to write home about.
Up on Level 6 is the outdoor infinity pool, which is visually impressive with its views of the city. The pool has a definite resort feel about it – there are also plenty of lounge chairs for relaxing by the pool, though its 35-metre length does make it a good choice for guests looking to do some laps. Sadly it is only open from 6am to 8pm, and with the hotel being quite popular with families it may be better to try and go during the morning.
Down on the ground floor, guests can use the Nemita Spa, open from 10am to 10pm with last bookings at 8pm.
Along with its seven smaller meeting rooms, Chatrium Riverside has a 630-sqm Chatrium Ballroom that can accommodate up to 700 people.
A thoroughly pleasant surprise. The size of the rooms alone is enough to recommend the property above much of the competition in Bangkok, and the wide selection of facilities, strong F&B offerings and overall relaxed charm make the hotel’s lack of a big international brand name all but irrelevant.
- Best for… huge, well-equipped rooms in a quiet neighbourhood
- Don’t miss… al fresco dining by the Chao Phraya River at Pier 28
- Price Online rates for a Chatrium Club Suite One Bedroom River View in mid-August start at THB4,061 (US$127.3) per night.
- Contact chatrium.com