Newly opened riverside gem in Bangkok’s historic Old Town
After four successful years, the boutique hotel Riva Surya—located on Phra Athit Road—has well established its position amongst Bangkok’s riverside accommodations. Not surprisingly, the owners have decided to expand their brand and recently opened Riva Arun, a second property, just a few boat stops down the city’s Chao Phraya river. The proximity of both hotels to the water is no coincidence, considering the owners’ family history. Almost 100 years ago they started a small rowing boat business, which turned into one of Bangkok’s most iconic means of public transport—the Chao Phraya Express Boat, which carries up to 40,000 passengers up and down the river each day.
As the hotel’s name suggests, this brand new boutique property is located across the river from Wat Arun (or the Temple of Dawn), one of Bangkok’s most famous historic landmarks. The design of the 4-storey building is sleek and modern, yet features traditional Thai elements, including carved wooden wall panels and ornate ironwork. The small hotel offers 25 elegantly designed rooms, all of which are laid out differently and include a balcony.
We settled into one of the 62 sq.m. Grand Deluxe Jacuzzi rooms which—same as the hotel—is decorated in a white and cream colour scheme, with deep green and golden highlights. The centrepiece is a king size bed, and at the foot of the bed sits a cream coloured sofa and an antique wooden box serving as a coffee table. The open concept bathroom features a large sink to the right of the bed, while the shower and toilet are hidden behind floor-to-ceiling mirrored wardrobe doors. The room itself is rather compact in size, but comes with a large balcony facing the river, complete with a private Jacuzzi. In addition to the standard room facilities such as a TV, minibar and Wi-Fi, we loved having different coffee options—both an espresso and French press machine were available—as well as the fragrant shower gels by the luxury skin care brand Erb.
For dinner we headed to the hotel’s bar and restaurant Above Riva, located on the rooftop terrace and boasting a stunning view of Wat Arun to the west, and the Old Town and Wat Pho to the east. The menu offers a selection of international dishes with a ‘Twist of Thai Cuisine’. As a starter, we shared the pepper beef tataki, featuring thin slices of melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu beef, truffle mashed potatoes, and stir fried leek—all drizzled with a sweet soy butter sauce. This was followed by a plate of spicy chorizo spaghetti topped with pepperoni and pulled pork, and a green curry duck confit (which turned out to be our absolute favourite). This must-try dish is slow cooked for three hours and served with avocado and roti.
The atmospheric rooftop also makes a romantic setting to watch the sun go down, especially while sipping one of the restaurant’s delicious signature cocktails. Recommendable are both the Arun Mojito, spiced up with fresh ginger, and the Sweet Lagoon, a fruity, gin based concoction with lychee.
Having a weakness for panoramic views, we were glad to hear that breakfast was also served on the rooftop. In the morning guests are presented with an assortment of cold cuts and cheeses, bread and pastries, as well as an
à la carte menu. While watching the sun rise high above the Old Town, we were preparing ourselves to be tourists for a day and explore this beautiful part of the city. Many of the surrounding old shophouses have been converted into quaint guesthouses, cafés and galleries, and some of the city’s must-see attractions, including Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, and The Grand Palace, as well as the Flower Market, are all within easy walking distance.
Note: An à la carte breakfast and dinner is also served in the hotel lobby for both in-house and outside guests. In addition, plans for the near future are to open Riva Café, an all-day riverside restaurant in front of the hotel, offering Western comfort food, Thai street food, and take away options. The best way to reach the hotel is by boat, which stops at nearby Tha Tien Pier and connects to the BTS station Saphan Taksin at Sathorn Central Pier.
392/25 Maharaj Rd. | Tel: 02 221 1188 | www.rivaarunbangkok.com