Mary Gostelow experiences luxury river life

Girlahead gets immersed in Bangkok's Chao Phraya River

Riva, Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River

Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River epitomises cultural lifestyle. What was originally going to be a walkway from the main building down to the river, all of a six-metre total drop, has been turned into a 400 sqm white infinity Art Space. In partnership with Bangkok’s MOMA, it hosts changing exhibitions of contemporary Thai art. For the next three months be fascinated by such video originals showing a young female artist slowly moving back and forth as she lies strapped to a seesaw board.

The hotel’s setting, on four hectares of meticulously arranged private riverfront land, is equally magical. Discreetly set behind manicured hedges at one end of 200 metres of river bank are two golden temples. One bears presents for the land, the other has gifts, including cut fruit, for ancestors. Add to this stage the interior flair of Belgian designer Jean-Michel Gathy.

Choa Phraya River View

Looking out of the all-glass walls of even the smallest of the 299 bedrooms – 50 sqm – offers the make-believe that you too are part of the river scene, under a hundred metres away. There are continual convoys of barges, four end-to-end and pulled by up to five colourful side-by-side tugs. Criss-crossing these cumbersome processions are busy-as-anything small passenger vessels, set routes linking both river banks.

For even more local atmosphere, head five minutes, by car, to the ramshackle Talad Noi district, fast become gentrified with galleries, boutiques and eatertainment from the likes of David Thompson, and Melburnian Sareen Rojanamatin. Or stay home – for that is what Four Seasons feels like – for Chinese, perhaps, that is booked over a month ahead. But don’t miss Social Club, an indoor-outdoor bar with many bijou niches, AvroKO’s interpretation of Buenos Aires’ past glory.

Four Seasons Executive Suite - Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River

Social Club was conceived by the hotel’s creative GM, Lubosh Barta and it’s run by would-be gaucho and former Berlin banker, mixology magician Philip Bischoff. At his Saturday tasting classes, free to hotel guests, four lucky lifestyle students drink, and learn about, Evita, as in Peron. They move on to Hand of God, another of the tasting flight’s cocktails that highlights Diego Maradona’s significant 1996 goal.

Want to eat Italian? Riva del Fiume, so close to the river you can almost hear the current, is directed by Andrea Accordi, a Shakespearean gentleman from Verona. Try his Crudi di Mare, and perhaps chocolate-fed Wagyu, paired with Pietradolce 2020 Etna Rosso Pinot Noir. Whatever, continue titillating the tastebuds with tiramisu and limoncello.

Lubosh Barta, General Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River
Riva del Fiume, Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River

And in the morning wake up to that river view. Breakfast is all any foodie could dream about, Chinese, Thai or Western, or more. Accordi, who directs the play from day-break on, is especially proud of his Pizza-egg – his own invention, a small pizza topped with back bacon and a poached egg (and this from the Verona wizard who starts every day with a single espresso, nothing more). Experiences leap out continually at this hotel, a main player in local cognoscenti belief that the river is, once again, the heart of Bangkok. You want to stay longer, if not forever.

Mary Gostelow publishes the daily and a unique weekly 15-minute industry Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast, both part of Almont Global.

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