F Return to the riverside - jeepneyjinggoy

Return to the riverside

The legendary Chao Phraya River & the three towers of the Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok.

It would be my second time to spend a couple of nights by the legendary river of Chao Phraya, and I must admit I was looking forward to it. How often does one really get the chance to rise at daylight and watch the river wake up to its daily grind, and bid it goodnight as both—me and the river—call it a day.

This time though, my return to the riverside was different, something more special. It was the day of the Loi Krathong.

Celebrated annually throughout Thailand, Loi Krathong is a festival that originated from an ancient ritual paying respect to the water spirits. On the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, which usually falls in November in the Western calendar, Thais launch their krathong, a decorated floater, on a river or pond as they make their wish.

A krathong floater sold by the Saphan Thaksin Pier

This year, November 6th was the festival date and the day Agoda.com lead me to the 396-room Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok, a 5-star multi-awarded hotel that captivates the charm of the riverside, more especially on this important festival. Luck was on my side.

In festival mood. Chatrium lobby decor.

Yes, lucky. I was zoomed up to the 31st floor and ushered to a tastefully designed corner suite—a Chatrium Grand Suite One-Bedroom that offered a breathtaking view of the river.

I was lead to a suite that opened up to this living area with a balcony that offers a panoramic view of Bangkok & the famed river. Pretty & efficient Varaporn assiting me on my arrival.

A welcome note is always a nice touch.

The view from my 31st floor one-bedroom suite.

Over the 70-sqm of space are the spacious living area, a king-sized bed wrapped in high thread count, crisp white linen, luxurious en-suite bathroom with a separate shower and bathtub (the eco-friendly and bio-degradable bathroom amenities are worth mentioning), a pantry area, a wide balcony and all the other features that are expected of a well-appointed suite. It was much more than what I expected.

The living room area of the Grand Suite One-Bedroom

A corner bedroom with a perfect view.

Shot taken from the bathroom.

Staying at the club floors had its perks. I was given access to the fully serviced Chatrium Club Lounge beside the stunning Silver Waves restaurant (one of the six hotel dining outlets) on the 36th floor. Here at the top floor of the Chatrium tower, I enjoyed sipping freshly brewed coffee, enjoyed a quiet afternoon tea, mingled with other guests over evening cocktails (the Mojitos was fabulous) and superb hors d’oeuvres. All these plus many more privileges are afforded to the club guests.

I was given access to the Executive Lounge

Add caption

The Mojitos in this place is good.

On the lower floors is where much of the activities transpire, a charming restaurant where breakfast with a view is the right place to kick off a good day, a fitness center to burn the extra calories from feasting on the very tasty Thai cuisine, or perhaps do it lapping in the 35-meter infinity pool that stretches out to the river. If not, lazing in the outdoor Jacuzzi or getting pampered at the spa is certainly a good alternative.

Breakfast with a view is the right place to kick off a good day.

Chatrium makes it easy for the leisure and business travelers to move around Bangkok. It starts with an easy access from the airport via a cab or the Airport Link, which connects to the BTS Sky Train. The hotel’s complimentary shuttle boat at the Saphan Thaksin station’s pier will ferry all guests to the hotel along the Chao Phraya River.

The Phaya Thai Station is the terminus of the Airport Link. It connects to the BTS.

The Saphan Thaksin BTS Station stops at the Saphan Thaksin Pier.

Chatrium’s complimentary boat ride shuttle guests to Saphan Thaksin pier, a jump off point to the city’s best shopping, dining & cultural destinations.

It takes about 5 minutes to reach the Chatrium dock from the Saphan Thaksin Pier

The waiting area & the time table of the hotel shuttle boat.

Saphan Thaksin happens to be a jump off point to the city’s rich cultural sights and important destinations. By river taxis from the pier or via the fast overhead mass transit, the preferred point to visit—be it a luxury mall or the temples and palaces— can be accessed conveniently, and most importantly, quickly.

The Spahan Thaksin Pier is a jump off point to Bangkok's must-see destinations. Seen here: the Asiatique complimentary shuttle ride.

Some destinations are best reached on foot. Asiatique The Riverfront, Bangkok’s largest lifestyle shopping and the current hotspot at sundown by the Chao Phraya River, is in the hotel’s neighborhood.

The Asiatique The Riverfront ferris wheel seen from my room is a few minutes walk from the hotel.

But on the appointed festival night, I didn’t stray from the comforts of my own private riverside escape. From the 31st floor of the Chatrium, I got a commanding view of the hotel’s festivity transpiring below, the river slowly getting painted with colorful offerings of krathongs and the magnificent fireworks across the Chao Phraya River that lit up the night sky with vibrant hues of the rainbow.

In festival garb. The women of Chatrium during the Loi Krathong event at the hotel.

Loi Krathong is one of Thailand’s biggest festivals. I watched the magnificent display of fireworks across the river from the comforts of my own private riverside escape.

Oh, did I say I was lucky to be at Chatrium? To be staying at a five-star riverside property on the day of a most important Thai river festival? To say I am lucky is an understatement.

It’s nice to be back. “Living by the river” is always a treat.

Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok is an Agoda partner hotel located at 28 Charoenkrung Soi 70, Bangkholame, Bangkok, Thailand. Visit their website at www.chatrium.com.

For bookings: http://www.agoda.com/chatrium-hotel-riverside-bangkok/hotel/bangkok-th.html


For more travel & lifestyle stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 23, 2014.