On the eastern bank of Bangkok’s mighty Chao Phraya River, the Riva Surya Hotel is a beautiful residence offering understated luxury and spectacular river views in the oldest part of the city. This is where to stay in Bangkok Old Town.
Brown and boiling, the muddy rolling turmoil of the Chao Phraya River cuts Bangkok’s hectic landscape in two. At a certain point, it bends gently north, making for the shimmering gold of the King Rama VIII Bridge.
On the western shore is Thonburi, a part of Bangkok that was once its own kingdom.
To the river’s east is Rattanakosin Island – the genesis district of the City of Angels.
Better known as Bangkok Old Town, Rattanakosin Island is the most revered part of the city. Not an island in a true sense though it is surrounded by water, Old Town is flanked by the Chao Phraya on one side and the canal networks on the other.
But this area is the home of many of the city’s major landmarks, including the Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha, the Royal Palace and the last two remaining forts of the original Bangkok.
Here also you will find the Riva Surya.
Check out our video walkthrough of the hotel here:
Where to stay in Bangkok Old Town – Riva Surya Hotel
I always love how the high-quality Bangkok hotels can ‘unplug’ you from the chaos of the city – a feeling of momentary sanctuary.
It’s a bit like free diving; you come to the surface long enough to take a breath before hastily plunging back into the fascinating world that awaits.
Riva Surya’s long lobby does exactly that. As you walk through the doors, you seem so far from the busy streets of the city. Regal colours, dark furniture and beautiful flower displays calm you and puts you at ease.
Other details like traditional artwork, carved wooden screens and old artefacts on the walls are a clear nod to the heritage of this part of town.
The lobby connects right through to the pool and eventually the river itself, with discrete check-in and concierge desks, lifts and comfortable sofas in between.
Our room was a superior room and the largest type in this hotel. It’s big enough to house an enormous bed, a comfortable lounge and dining table, as well as all the other trappings of a modern hotel.
The balcony is quite large too – and the 2.5-seater sofa doesn’t feel out of place here.
But it’s the view from the balcony that’s the real draw card.
Looking out over the pool, you also get an unhindered vista of the Chao Phraya River all the way up to the single golden spire of the King Rama VIII Bridge.
Back by the door, the room’s bathroom is enclosed within glass partition walls. It doesn’t feel that private to be honest, but it’s ok.
It’s well decorated and appointed, and the glass walls mean there’s plenty of natural light.
Riva Surya Bangkok – hotel facilities
As well as the beautiful saltwater-chlorine pool, guests have a large gym at their disposal.
Poolside, there are also a cabanas and daybeds to recline on and enjoy the riverside sun.
The bar can serve a full selection of cocktails and food while you relax, so you can really enjoy this beautiful spot. There’s even a charcoal barbecue grill that guests can enjoy cooking their own seafood on if they wish.
Breakfast is also on the deck near the river or inside in the formal dining area. As with the rest of the hotel, the restaurant and breakfast rooms are elegantly decorated with so much attention to detail.
Take your stay to the next level – and the level beyond that!
The Riva Surya takes full advantage of its riverside location and has its own jetty. You can either arrive by car at the street entrance or even better, turn up via one of the hotel’s boats.
We explored the Riva Surya’s sister hotel – Riva Arun, which is a little way up stream. This new hotel has incredible views across the water to the stunning temple Wat Arun.
Above Riva, the hotel’s rooftop bar, serves superb cocktails and snacks – highly recommended for sunset, watching the lights come on and the sun sink behind the Temple of Dawn is simply awe-inspiring.
Another boat transfer to Supatra River House – what used to be the hotel owner’s house – is the next stop on a truly memorable night. This formal Thai restaurant serves some of the best traditional Thai dishes you’ll find.
A speedboat back to Riva Surya and a nightcap in one of the poolside cabanas completes your special night – the most memorable way to experience the romance of Bangkok.
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