Unencumbered Luxury: Avani Riverside Bangkok Hotel

Avani’s flagship Riverside Bangkok Hotel is on the same stretch of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River as many of the city’s most posh properties and right next door to its sister, the five-star Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort

The most striking thing about Avani Riverside Bangkok Hotel’s slim silhouette is how unencumbered it is, with no other high-rise buildings around it, which means sweeping views and the pleasurable and somewhat surreal sensation of floating between the sky and the river. Also striking is the fact that all 245 rooms and suites are river-facing, and the higher up you go the better the views, with the ne plus ultra from the 26th-floor Attitude Rooftop Bar and Restaurant and the dramatic infinity pool.  

Although Avani is not in the heart of Bangkok, we discovered how easy it is to get into the central business and shopping districts via the river and the elevated BTS sky train. Bangkok is a sprawling megalopolis and has some of the world’s worst traffic jams, but it took just 15 minutes on the hotel’s complimentary river shuttle boat to the Saphan Taksin station, and then a quick ride on the spotlessly clean air-conditioned BTS to be left smack in the center, with easy access to all the most important tourist attractions and sophisticated shopping.

The reception on the 11th floor has the property’s signature ultra-high ceilings and windows and an abundant use of pale warm wood, conveying a light-drenched stylish luxury. We reckoned it has to be around 100 meters from one end to the other — and there are no divisions — from the all-day restaurant, Skyline, through the lobby, past the deli-style Pantry at Avani, the Long Bar and the well-spaced clusters of comfortable casual seating. 

The Avani River View Three Bedroom Suite is on the 25th floor and comes with a dining and lounge area.  

The same fresh color palette is reprised in the contemporary guestrooms, which, needless to say, have soaring windows, fab views and bathrooms with sliding doors, making them private or part of the room. The 20 Junior Suites are 667 square feet each. The two River View Two Bedroom Suites have a separate living area, two bathrooms with showers and a full-size tub. Sleeping up to five, they are eminently family-friendly, although Sumitra Chimpiboon ([email protected]; 011-662-431-9100, Ext. 2500), director of rooms, says many families also like the 49 connecting rooms. The Avani River View Three Bedroom Suite on the 25th floor can accommodate up to seven. It has a living/dining area and a full kitchen; butler service can be arranged. 

For VIP needs, reach out to Nikolaus Priesnitz ([email protected]; 011-662-476-0022, Ext. 1900), area general manager North Thailand. Chief Concierge Napussawan (Tina) Suwansukhum ([email protected]) can advise on specialty luxury yacht and antique rice barge cruises on the river or the ancient archeological site of Ayutthaya, as well as point guests to the best shopping, art galleries and restaurants. Tina also arranges transfers in the Mercedes-Benz E 300 Hybrid from Suvarnabhumi Airport or from Don Mueang Airport, an international private jets airport. Tip: Guests should not miss the Manohra Cruise by Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort with a sumptuous Royal Thai dinner and great views of Bangkok’s skyline at night. 

The AvaniSpa has just two treatments rooms, of which one is a double suite, so advance reservations are a must through Spa Director Jingjai Wongarmart ([email protected]; 011-662-476-0022, Ext. 1563). We enjoyed the Gentle Rhythm Calming Massage, and can highly recommend therapist Sunee Akaravakul, who understood just how much pressure we like. Good to know: Sporting types will enjoy the tennis court and lessons in the Muay Thai Boxing Ring.

A visit to the next-door gardens of the Anantara Riverside Resort, and to Bangkok’s first designer-tented Tea Salon, is a must for tea worshippers. We relaxed in the atmosphere of the “days of the Raj” with an indulgent afternoon tea comprising finger sandwiches, fruit tarts, Victoria sponge cake, English scones and a seriously good cup of Assam tea from the extensive tea menu.  

Avani RiversIde Bangkok has an infinity pool with daybeds on the top floor.

Attitude, one of Bangkok’s hotspot rooftop bars, has a great vibe and attracts a trendy jet-setting crowd from cocktail hour until late into the night. We ate outside, but there is also a smart indoor restaurant, counter seating at the open kitchen and an intimate sunken area with daybeds beside the infinity pool. From the extensive cocktail menu we chose the luscious Moulin Rouge with Absolut Raspberri, passion fruit and Prosecco, and from the Asian-inspired, molecular tapas-style starters we settled for the Smoking Caramel Duck, which arrived in a smoke-filled glass dome. Although we were tempted by the rib of 150-day grain-fed Angus beef, we went for prawn curry and finished it off with the Xtra Virgin, a refreshing apple mousse and sorbet, sitting on apple “hay.”

Director of Marketing and Communications Elizabeth Dass-Brown ([email protected]; 011-662-476-0022, Ext. 1915) told us advance reservations are recommended for Attitude and can be made through the Restaurant Reservations Desk (011-662-476-0022). She also said the most difficult times to book the hotel are November to February, and certain blackout dates such as Chinese New Year and Easter Weekend.

Shopaholics are well served in the area with the Riverside Plaza featuring 68 luxury and eatery brands and located on the first to third floors of the hotel building, while across the river, and just 10 minutes by river shuttle, there is Asiatique The Riverfront. This mall-cum-bazaar is open from 5 p.m. until late, and has covered and outdoor areas with 1,500 boutiques and shops selling artisan products, fashions and souvenirs, and 40 restaurants, many of which are on the riverside. We learned that this riverside area will get a major retail boost when the enormous new Icon Siam Shopping Mall, which has been called the “Mother of all Malls,” opens this year. With 500 shops and a hundred restaurants, it is beside the Saphan Taksin station and will bring dazzling design and luxury big-brand shopping to this side of the river. 

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