Bangkok’s historic hotel celebrates 30 years along the river
If you could travel back in time and see Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River 30 years ago, you probably wouldn’t recognize it. Back then there were just a handful of luxury hotel properties dotting either side of the river, and the new kid on the block back in 1986 would have been the Menam Riverside hotel. Fast forward again to 2016 and the city’s riverbanks are now overflowing with 4 and 5 star hotels, premium condo developments, and lifestyle malls. But through it all the Menam remained firmly in place, rebranding itself in November of 2007 as the Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside. And in honour of its pearl anniversary, the hotel is hosting a grand reception in their ballroom on the 14th of September, 2016.
It’s not hard to see why this vacation haven continues to maintain a foothold along what is arguably Bangkok’s most valuable real estate. The hotel features 525 tastefully furnished guest rooms and suites, ranging in size from the 34 sq.m Deluxe rooms, to the two 170 sq.m Presidential Suites. There are also dedicated non-smoking floors, as well as ‘special needs’ accessible guestrooms for the elderly and physically challenged.
On a recent visit I settled into one of the 52 sq.m Executive Plaza Suites, which all come furnished with twin or king-sized beds and include a separate lounge area with sofa and coffee table, a work desk, two flatscreen TVs—one in the lounge and one in the bedroom—and an en suite bathroom that includes both a bathtub and separate shower. And just to remind me of how choice my location truly was, my windows both looked out over the river and the Asiatique The Riverfront community mall and entertainment complex, which is practically the hotel’s next door neighbour.
These Executive Plaza Suites also come with Ramada club privileges, including private check in/out, complimentary city calls, use of the boardroom, shoeshine service, late check-out and more, as well as access to the 15th floor Club Members Lounge where a complimentary afternoon tea is served daily from 2pm till 4pm, and evening cocktails and canapés are on offer during the daily “happy hour” (6pm till 7:30pm). This spacious private lounge is also a great place to have breakfast—especially with the morning sun streaming in through the many large windows—and although the delicious buffet selection is slightly smaller than in the main breakfast area on the ground level, the peace and quiet up on the 15th floor is a welcome bonus to many (especially those of us who love a leisurely read of the morning paper over coffee).
Of course if you prefer your morning meal by the banks of the river then the daily breakfast buffet at [email protected] is where you should steer yourself. The selections here are quite varied—catering to Western, Asian, and even Indian palates—and you can choose to sit either in the air-conditioned main room or out on the riverfront terrace overlooking the passing parade of boats and barges that make their way up and down the Chao Phraya each morning.
Recreational amenities at the hotel include all the things you’d expect from a 5-star property—including spa, fitness room, meeting rooms, and kid’s club—but for many guests the beautiful ground floor swimming pool is the place to congregate and while away the sun drenched afternoons. The pool itself is surrounded by a lush perimeter of jungle greenery, while an ornate wooden Thai-style sala adds the right touch of tropical flavour. I also like that the ceramic tiles that line the pool’s bottom are a deep shade of blue, making it look like real ocean water. Poolside dining is available at the Coconut Terrace, inside at The Waves restaurant, or just order drinks and snacks from the Sala Thai Pool Bar and never leave the comfort of your sun lounger.
Finally, at the end of a hard day of relaxing, don’t miss out on the nightly international dinner buffet served in the [email protected] restaurant. The selection and quality here is both impressive and extensive (don’t pass up the lamb curry or the lemon butter salmon). Of course, fine dining can also be had at the hotel’s elegant Eurasian Grill restaurant, which is re-opened as of last year.
NOTE: During the hotel’s anniversary month they are offering several special promotions, including “spend B1,000 get B1,000” dinner vouchers. And if September 7th
happens to be your birthday as well, you’ll receive a B3,000 voucher which can be used towards room stays or dining in any of the hotel’s F&B outlets.
Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside
2074 Charoenkrung Rd.
Tel: 02 688 1000
Know Before You Go
The Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside has its own shuttle boat service to and from the Sathorn Central Pier (at Saphan Taksin BTS station), which runs regularly till 11pm, as well as complimentary tuk tuk service to nearby Asiatique.