Bangkok is a huge bustling city that houses too many hotels to count and deciding where to stay can be overwhelming. We recently had the chance to be one of the first people to stay at Riva Arun, a new boutique hotel in Bangkok. It opened on August 1 2016 and has 25 rooms, a rooftop restaurant and bar.
Stay here if….
…you only have a couple of days in the city and want to see the main sights
…you want to come back to somewhere tranquil after a long day in Bangkok
…you like a nice soft bed (seriously, most thai hotels, even high end ones, have hard beds)
A friendly bellhop greeted us at the door and the receptionists quickly checked us in while we sipped on house made tea. We found no wait at all (although we did check in on a Tuesday) and our room was ready 2 hours before check in actually started. The lobby is small but lovely with beautiful natural light. There is only one elevator but we didn’t find it to be a problem during our stay.
The layout of the small room was perfect for us. Our bed overlooked the river and beautiful Wat Arun. A bathroom and sink situated directly behind the bed could perhaps be a tight squeeze but we enjoyed the use of the space. Floor to ceiling blackout curtains made sure we had amazing sleep, and the balcony made for a perfect place to take in the sounds and sights of the busy river.
Lets be real – when you are traveling one of the most important things you need in your room is fast reliable wifi. No complaints here: the wifi constantly worked to browse, write emails, send texts and stream videos (even Netflix).
Everywhere we looked in the room were small touches that made for a perfect stay. All of the plugs installed in the rooms are converters so you don’t have to worry about rummaging through your luggage to find your travel plug. A small compartment on top of the desk reveals plugs to attach your computer or device to the TV - great for watching Netflix as you fall asleep. A vanity set including toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, q-tips and more are delicately arranged next to the sink.
Wow is the best word to describe it. From the moment we stepped foot onto the roof top restaurant our jaws dropped. The view of the river and Wat Arun behind it is simply breathtaking. The décor is simple with a clean color palate of whites and greys. There are about 10 tables for dinner service. A small lounge area, a bar and a couple of high top tables are available as well if you just want to enjoy a drink.
The food was spectacular and reasonably priced (mains $15-20). A complimentary amuse-bouche starts your meal (ours was a wheat cone of tomatoes and cheese) along with a breadbasket that includes 4 types of bread and 2 house made butters. The seafood salad we shared was impressive but the main courses were the stars of the show. Shrimp and calamari risotto cooked in bamboo and a lamb shank with truffled mash potatoes and veggies. The staff were a perfect mix of accommodating and respectful. Downstairs in the lobby there are small sitting areas and a long table to enjoy their breakfast/lunch menu.
We found the area to be perfect for first timers in Bangkok. If you are doing a short stay in the city and want to see the main sights with few worries then I can confidently say this is a great hotel for you. The top 2 attractions, Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, are both walking distance from the hotel. The Tian Market, full of clothes, trinkets and street food is right down the street and easy to reach by foot. There is a 7-11 right on the corner for any thing you might need. China town starts just a couple of blocks away and the night flower market is something you shouldn’t miss.
Food outside the hotel
We also found that the food options around the hotel were easy to reach and exceeded expectation. We ate at Baan Tha Tien Café and would highly recommend it for a quick bite. Also in a couple block radius is Amorosa (lively rooftop bar), The Deck by the River (fantastic restaurant on the river with great reviews), Err Urban Rustic Thai (cool and stylish thai food), and Vivi Coffee Place (excellent coffee with river side seats).
Riva Arun was probably one of the most enjoyable hotel stays either of us have ever had. I love the humor that came along with the hotel – fresh water bottles are deposited in your room each day with the words “House Vodka (Just Kidding)” along the side. The hotel guide book explains the TV plugs using the term “Netflix and Chill”. In a city with a ridiculous amount of hotel options I find the little things along with the great hospitality are what make this hotel stand out.