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Wednesday 27 April 2016

An oasis in which to escape the bustle of Bangkok

It struck me that the Anantara Riverside Bangkok was a little familiar. Then the penny dropped. I'd stayed here a decade ago when it was a Marriott property - and had reviewed it favourably. 

It has, of course, been impressively tarted up by Anantara but it remains what it was back then; a delightful oasis on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, a real resort in the city. 

Bangkok is one of Asia's most vibrant cities; a sprawling, bustling metropolis that's always on the move. It is a kaleidoscope of sounds, sights and aromas, day and night. 

But Bangkok can sometimes be just a little bit too full on, which is why it can be great to escape from the bedlam to somewhere that is cool and gracious.

It's just a 15-minute river transfer by the resort's quick and efficient river ferry to the Skytrain, which gets you downtown within minutes. 

If you are on a stopover you may choose not to leave the resort at all. It is fun to sit back and watch the barges and longtail boats go by. The pool is a typical resort affair (you could easily be in Phuket or Koh Samui) and there is a delightful torch-lighting ceremony each night. 

There are myriad dining options, too, from long-time favourite Trader Vic's with its Pan-Asian cuisine to Japanese steakhouse Benihana (part eatery/part theatre); Tuscan cuisine in Brio, a world buffet at the Riverside Terrace and buffet breakfasts in The Market, which is just too big and sprawling to be much fun (you feel like you've walked a marathon by the time your get back to your table with your toast).

There is also an impressive range of bars from the clubby Elephant Bar to the Longtail Bar by the river; Loy Nam for poolside drinks and snacks and Numero Uno for morning coffees and pastries.

There is a range of Manohra cruises departing from the hotel's own jetty - including dinner cruises - and the on-site attractions range from the lovely Anantara Spa (with a bewildering array of treatments) and Silver Spoons cooking school to the hotel's own Muay Thai kickboxing school. 

As this is an Anantara, the service is spectacularly good; seamless, multilingual and understated. The free wi-fi works and there is a business centre with helpful staff, along with a fitness centre and kids' club.

The rooms (try to get one overlooking the river) are extremely well equipped and come with a nifty smart phone that includes free local calls and wi-fi and can be used throughout your stay. There is a brand new shopping centre that's part of new Avani Riverside property next door.   

This is a grown-up sort of place; the perfect destination to enjoy the tropics for a few days. 

Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort, 2571-3 Charoennakorn Road, Thonburi, Bangkok. +66 2 476 0022.

1 comment:

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