The perfect spot to wine, dine and unwind right in the thick of it.
It appears the Four Seasons has once again done it just right.
After the original location’s closure in 2015, the Four Seasons’ presence in Bangkok was revived in 2019 in its brand spanking new location right before the pandemic. Designed by Belgian architect Jean-Michel Gathy, the hotel's comeback has brought a welcome spark of energy to an area of the city still rife with increasingly ageing competition. Sleek silver, beige and white tones carry throughout the lobby and lounges; the space offers grand views from all angles. Sandwiched between the Thai capital’s oldest paved road and the gleaming river, this haven feels grandeur, yet extremely personal.
All imagery courtesy of Eva Piskadlo | CSP Times.
It’s Thailand so the air is alive with the calls of birds and thrum of the undergrowth; it’s an ornithologist’s dream.
Despite being located right in the thick of it, the Four Seasons is part of the exclusive Chao Phraya Estate, a cluster of luxurious properties (including Capella Bangkok) on the side of the water. Being the perfect distance from the airport – a short 40-minute taxi away – and many of the city’s sights, you really can’t get better than this in a city that is notorious for the crazy traffic.
The hotel also offers private jet vacation packages and an hourly river boat shuttle, which takes you to the ICON shopping mall and back on the other side of the river which has access to the BTS Skytrain.
Shopaholics will love this. Staff are strategically positioned at every turn, ready to escort you anywhere (even the lift) and to cater to every whim.
At the Four Seasons, you can always be sure to have stellar service; a battalion of linen-clad staff live up to their job title and shine in delivering intuitive service, from getting your room cleaned while you’re having breakfast, to providing entertainment for children. Smiley pool cleaners wave when you breeze past, and the friendly waiters are always down for a chat.
And when it’s time to leave, a crew of doormen will wave you goodbye until your taxi turns the corner – it really is special. It’s a mixed bag of travellers for those wondering – from Thai weekenders, happy honeymooners, and serious businessmen – hailing from America to Korea, and seemingly everywhere in between.
One of the joys of the hotel is that there is such extraordinary variety. With rooms varying in size and views, there really is something for everyone at every price point. We stayed in the Premier Riverview Room, which is 538 square feet of opulence. Polished wood floors beg you to remain barefoot; a white bed board frames the back of an inviting king-size bed, flanked by a doorway that leads into the bathroom with a freestanding tub.
There is no bad choice, but there are better choices. In the most affordable rooms, you’ll sacrifice a little floorplan and those glittery river views, but given that you get them all throughout breakfast at Riva Del Fiume and by the pool, you never feel deprived.
Stylish artwork and sculptures grace the walls and counters in the light-drenched rooms, all complemented by heavy dark wood furniture and gold accents; all of which create a luxurious ambiance. Amenities are all locally sourced, and the bath comes with a generous serving of bath salts – a great touch for those wanting a quiet glass of wine tub-side whilst gazing at the city.
Perhaps my favourite feature of all was the mini bar. It has become more apparent to me as I galavant through stays at hotels around the globe that – the more personal, the better. The hotel houses BKK Social Club, the 14th best bar in the world. The bar comes with a full set of tonics and mixers alongside crystal glasses and a shaker so you can make and enjoy their signature cocktail ‘Evita’ from the comfort of your own room. This touch, I loved. The room is also fabulously high-tech, with an iPad and Deliveroo-esque room service ordering widget so your meal arrives seamlessly and in a timely manner. Lights can be dimmed and curtains drawn and opened so you can feel regal from the comfort of your covers.
Where does one begin with such an array of world-class choices? Indoor or al fresco, casual or fine-dine, Western or Eastern – the Four Seasons is a one-stop-shop for whatever you’re craving, and has become a dining destination for locals. There is the tropical French Brasserie Palmier for seafood tower galore, one Michelin-star Yu Ting Yuan fusing classic Chinese cooking with contemporary flair, and the world-famous bar BKK Social Club. For the latter, think bespoke cocktails, fine cigars and craft spirits with an ambiance that echoes the golden ages in Buenos Aires. Their signature drink is ‘Evita’, named after the first lady Eva Peron herself. The memories of this bar will most definitely live rent-free in my mind for years to come.
Breakfast can be served from the comfort of your own room or at the hotel’s Italian restaurant Riva del Fiume, a charming space overlooking the pool and river. The buffet has everything your heart desires, with fresh pastries and focaccia baked in their wood-fired oven bellowing in front of the food table, Thai favourites, healthy protein shakes, attractive baristas… I digress. One thing you cannot miss is Riva del Fiume’s breakfast french toast. For those afternoon tea aficionados reading, the FS also delivers in this – do not fret. Created by the talented Andrea Bonaffini, indulge in sweet treats and champagne with a twist in the hotel’s lobby.
The hotel houses two pools; one lounge pool adjacent to the river and BKK Social Club, and the Olympic lap pool above the palm court next to the gym. The gym is one of the main draws for me, it truly has every bell and whistle you could imagine - staff are even at the door to greet you with a towel and bottled water at the entrance. Complimentary meditation, yoga and Thai cooking lessons are also offered, alongside aqua gym sessions.
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With such an incredible array of accoladed restaurants and facilities with that underlying consistent luxury, the Four Seasons Chao Phraya truly reigns as Bangkok’s most accomplished urban hideaway. I was told upon checking in “the only thing you’ll have to think about is enjoying yourself and doing as much or as little as you want. We’ll take care of the rest” – and this remained true from the outset and throughout.