Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is arguably the city’s buzziest hotel now

·5-min read

Four Seasons Bangkok opened on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in February 2020 to little fanfare – which comes as no surprise considering the timing. But with travel on everyone’s agenda this year, the luxury address feels new and buzzy, with a scene of fashionable, moneyed locals, well-heeled business globetrotters and stylish families steadily streaming into its sumptuous premises.

Four Seasons Bangkok is part of the Chao Phraya Estate, a multi-million-dollar development that also includes Capella Bangkok and Four Seasons Private Residences. Despite its location at one of the Thai capital’s oldest corners, the two-year-old hotel feels a world away from its gritty surrounds with its grand-yet-intimate interiors by way of renowned Belgian architect Jean-Michel Gathy.

It’s all very modern and sophisticated, but there’s no one uniform look to the 299-room hospitality behemoth. As general manager Lubosh Barta describes, “Four Seasons, like the city of Bangkok, is full of surprises, whether it’s the breathtaking river views, the rich design details, the perfect cocktail or a striking piece of art.” The cavernous marble lobby features high ceilings, glass walls and dramatic art pieces, including two giant slabs of concrete sculpted to look like the fabric of a traditional Thai wrap skirt ​​flanking the entrance. Pools and flowing water throughout the hotel echo the constant movement of the Chao Phraya River and lend tranquility to the expansive public spaces. Each F&B spot in the hotel has its own distinct atmosphere that corresponds to its menu. There’s also a standalone gallery in partnership with MOCA Bangkok that showcases contemporary Thai artists in changing exhibitions.

The dining and drinking establishments at Four Seasons are destinations in themselves. Yu Ting Yuan, helmed by executive Chinese chef Qiu Xiaogui, earned its Michelin star in less than a year after the hotel welcomed its first guests. Also designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, the award-winning Cantonese restaurant is high on style and replete with modern Chinese decor accents, ornate chandelier fixtures and contemporary artwork. Its dim sum lunch, barbecue meats, lobster dumplings and Peking duck book out tables, so reserve early.

Yu Ting Yuan Restaurant
Yu Ting Yuan Restaurant

For contemporary Italian, there’s Riva del Fiume, where guests are spoilt for breakfast options; and lunch is a journey from the north to south of Italy with zingy crudi, silky veal tortellinis and perfectly seared sea bass. At tropical French spot Brasserie Palmier located on the hotel’s riverfront promenade, the menu emphasises seafood prepared with a light hand for Bangkok’s hot and humid climate. Think robust oyster selections, extravagant seafood towers and, of course, savoury and sweet palmiers. Cafe Madeleine, the hotel’s French-themed pastry shop and cafe headed by executive pastry chef Andrea Bonaffini, is where to go for excellent freshly baked croissants, decadent pastries, pretty cakes, premium coffee, Thai iced tea, freshly baked sourdough bread, and of course, perfect madeleines.

Then there’s the sultry, dramatic BKK Social Club, a Buenos Aires-inspired cocktail bar that came in hot at number 10 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list this year. Beverage Manager Philip Bischoff is the man behind the fancy menu, which includes an extensive array of fine grower Champagnes, artisanal spirits, Cuban cigars, as well as our favourite, the cacao-infused Negroni that can be ordered in three-litre bottles.

Rooms and suites have a warm, residential character with modern Thai touches. Ceilings are high with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to the river or the garden, so each place of rest feels airy, bright and open. Bangkok’s poshest address is arguably the 4,800 sq foot Presidential Suite, which boasts two-storey windows framing 10th-floor views of the Chao Phraya River; a large open living area with its own bar complete with recipes and pre-mixes courtesy of BKK Social Club; as well as a catering kitchen; up to three bedrooms and an oversized terrace with private plunge pool.

Raising the bar in wellness hospitality in the city, the partially-opened Urban Wellness Centre is a sprawling, sophisticated haven that may hold you captive for longer than you had initially planned — for good reason — with its array of therapies and programmes designed to better your mind, body and soul. On top of a lavish spa with nine treatment rooms, there’s a massive state-of-the-set gym, a fitness studio for open and private classes, a 30-metre lap pool, a hair salon, a barbershop and a nail salon.

Reluctant as we were to leave Four Seasons Bangkok’s plush confines, the district proved to be a worthy, fruitful jaunt as it’s undergoing a renaissance with street food vendors purveying their specialties alongside hip, progressive restaurants; and traditional handcrafts peddled side-by-side bold contemporary art in the galleries. More eating and shopping can be done at Iconsiam, the city’s newest premium mall with direct access from the hotel’s river dock via the estate’s boat service. Want more insider recommendations on where to go? The concierge team can arrange for guided tours on land and water, customised according to your interest. When you stay at Four Seasons, get ready to see Bangkok in a different light — and fall in love with the Land of Smiles all over again.

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