I ARISE to a view of Bangkok’s morning skyline from the 14th floor of a hotel. Below, the trickle of traffic glides with ease. It isn’t a dream nor a vision impaired by a hangover.
This is the same city notorious for congestion but I am located beside the calm Chao Phraya River, a world away from downtown’s traffic-clogged roads and unyielding crowds.
Finding an oasis of peace in the high octane capital of Thailand is thought impossible until I arrive at Avani Riverside Bangkok.
This sophisticated, stylish hotel with a young, urbane flair is the sister brand to the highly-acclaimed Anantara group. Opened last September, this flagship hotel for the Avani brand draws on the desire by millennials for an upbeat venue, combining urban verve and elegance, where party, play and business mingle.
OPEN, BORDERLESS STYLE
Guests are greeted on arrival at the sleek ground floor “welcome lobby”, as it is called, before being ushered to the 11th floor where the reception desk sits inconspicuously amid an opulent setting in polished contemporary chic decor. In the backdrop is an arresting panorama of the river scene and cityscape through ceiling high glass windows.
Employing an open plan design, the expansive, rectangular floor space melds reception, lounge, meeting and dining areas into borderless yet intimate enclaves filled with furnishings of impeccable craftsmanship. Tactile, contemporary fittings juxtaposed with old world elements (wicker furniture, antiques, brass installations) are themselves art pieces, inviting guests to linger and savour.
I don’t mind being cocooned in such a classy, convivial atmosphere.
Contemporary minimalist designed guest rooms offer wall-to-wall windows for uninterrupted city and river views. The open layout affords free flowing spaciousness but when privacy is required, a sliding screen shields the bathroom from the living area.
HONEST TO GOODNESS DINING
The rooftop extends on one end with an infinity pool section flowing seamlessly into a club-like lounge area with a retractable roof. This morphs into an ultra-trendy restaurant and bar appropriately named Attitude, boasting a DJ booth, open show kitchen and wine wall. Expertly crafted tapas-style fusion dishes include the amazing Madras prawns marinated with cumin, pepper and lime (succulent at the first bite) and skewered mix of fish and beef deliver enticing bursts of flavours from wolf berries, bay leaf, lemongrass, among others.
When night falls, a dazzling display of lights from riverboats and the shore, matched by the glitter of tiny lights emanating from the dining floor, make for a delightful spectacle.
Skyline restaurant offers a hearty but finely curated breakfast spread of Asian and western fare.
The Pantry serves deli snacks around the clock. Next to it the Long Bar extends into a more private area aptly called The Corner, awash in cosy brown tones and burnished metal trimmings, rekindling the mood of a traditional English drawing room but with modern elements.
Culinary offerings are driven by the hotel’s concept of “honest food”, creating imaginative dishes from an onsite hydroponic farm and locally- and sustainably-sourced ingredients. For executive chef Ashley Coleman, “by going the honest route, we are going the natural route.”
CONVENIENCE AT THE DOORSTEP
Tearing yourself from the comfortable confines of the hotel is particularly hard but if some retail relaxation is required, there is the adjoining Riverside Plaza. It offers 60 retail and food outlets including my all-time favourite steamboat restaurant chain MK, as well as Thai Express, S&P Restaurant and other international chains.
Guests can also enjoy the impressive amenities of two hotels combined (Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort lies across the driveway from Avani).
Getting out and about is easy as commuting is a breeze at the riverside.
AVANI RIVERSIDE BANGKOK HOTEL
257 Charoennakorn Road, Thonburi, Bangkok
TEL: +66 2431 9100
245 rooms, including suites, two- and three-bedroom options.
Rooftop restaurant Attitude serves Asian tapas. Skyline offers Thai and international buffet spreads. Pantry is a deli-style grab-and-go.
The riverside area is bustling with new shopping and dining options. Old Bangkok sights such as temples, canals and Chinatown are well connected by boats on the congestion-free Chao Phraya River.
New hotel with a young, modern vibe. Free river shuttle to the BTS Skytrain, Saphan Taksin pier and night market, Asiatique. The adjoining Riverside Plaza is convenient for retail and food outlets.
Guests have to pass through its sister hotel for river taxis.