Capella Hotels can be a bit attention seeking. But the Capella Bangkok, on the hip but historic Charoenkrung Road, lets its location, low-key opulence and impeccable service do all the talking.
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Some bubbles float across the bar in front of an elegant white peacock perched on a branch beneath a chandelier. Two bartenders from Maybe Sammy – the Sydney drinking establishment that’s been called Australia’s most famous cocktail bar, and that’s featured on the World’s 50 Best Bars list for the last four years – are spraying the bubbles from a bubble gun they’ve brought along. One pops on Maybe Sammy bartender Hunter Gregory’s pristine pink linen jacket hinting at the wild evening ahead as their one-night-only guest shift at Capella Bangkok’s Stella Bar begins. While Maybe Sammy are just dropping by, the peacock is a permanent fixture.
The Capella Bangkok is like that. A hotel full of bold juxtapositions.
A Living Room Instead Of A Reception Desk
But hours before the guest shift began, you’ve entered through two big brown doors and are ushered towards the Capella Bangkok’s Living Room – a homely kind of lounge instead of a cold reception desk – which is ensconced in a reverent hush. The only noise is gentle music, some quiet chatter, and the rattling of glasses on the champagne trolley being wheeled around in welcome.
Looking out through the windows you can see (but not hear) the cacophony of the Chao Phraya River.
While The Other Capella’s Wave For Attention This One Is Low Key
This is the 6th hotel in the Capella brand’s portfolio. And while the Capella Hanoi and the Capella Ubud wave at you for attention – the Capella Hanoi with its gleaming gold doors and theatrical red-carpeted staircase, and the Capella Ubud with its steampunk bathtub pool – here, the Capella Bangkok seems to be intent on maintaining its low profile. There’s the grand driveway up into the Chao Phraya Estate that ends with those two modest brown doors flanked by two equestrian statues.
The Capella Bangkok, after all, is in thrall to a higher power – the imposing Chao Phraya River. They built the hotel on its banks. And three Thai capitals were built there too, Ayutthaya, Thonburi, and then, in 1782, Bangkok.
As a mark of reverence, through the brown doors of the Capella Bangkok – which opened in August 2020 – all of the rooms and outlets obediently face the river.
Hip But Historic Charoenkrung Road Spurred The Capella Bangkok To Even Greater Heights
Behind you, there’s a Bangkok that’s gridlocked; a city groaning and grinding through another day. The Capella Bangkok is on historic Charoenkrung Road, the first paved road in the city when it was completed in 1864. Although, in the intervening years, commerce shifted towards Silom and Sukhumvit, the area’s seen a resurgence – there’s the Thailand Creative & Design Center, hip neighborhood restaurants like 80/20, David Thompson’s Aksorn, and Charmgang, and Asia 50 Best Bars like Tropic City and, more upscale, the Mandarin Oriental’s Bamboo Bar.
It’s like the area spurred the Capella Bangkok on to even greater heights – there’s the Capella’s Côte by Mauro Colagreco, for example, a restaurant fronted by one of the world’s best chefs (The World’s 50 Best Restaurants gave his Mirazur #1 in 2019 ahead of Noma and Asador Etxebarri, the same year he was named chef of the year), where he serves indelible Mirazur signatures like his beetroot and caviar cream. Understandably, right now due to public demand, they’re expanding the kitchen.
The Rooms Offer Up The Energy Of The Chao Phraya In Widescreen
Anyway, you’ve checked in. The room (obediently looking out to the river too, of course), one of 101 suites and villas at the Capella Bangkok, offers up the energy of the Chao Phraya in widescreen floor-to-ceiling windows. Below at the pool and an ambient track, ‘HIDHFOA’ by The Orb, throbs from the poolside speaker as the water ripples baby blue. Past the trees that line the riverfront, in front of Capella Bangkok’s row of villas, a tugboat coughs past on the brown expanse of the Chao Phraya River.
Anticipating the regal blue trimmed sun umbrella might not be providing enough shade, one of Capella Bangkok’s pool attendants sets a complimentary bottle of sunblock down on the table. Half an hour later, as the sun reaches the intensity of mid-day, they’re back again with a pair of colorful woven bamboo hand fans.
Then Dinner At The Capella Bangkok’s Phra Nakhon
By the time you’ve peeled yourself away, it’s almost time for dinner. Around at Phra Nakhon, the Capella Bangkok’s riverfront restaurant backed by an airy conservatory space, it’s as if the sepia picture of the Chao Phraya River that you see everywhere at Capella Bangkok was brought to life only in stronger shades of brown and gray.
There’s an a la cart and a tasting menu – like the Samrub two-person set that, in its 11-courses, skips between seasonal pomelo and kaffir lime leaf salad, braised beef cheek with coconut cream, and, to finish, the classic Thai sticky rice and mango dessert.
Inside, at Capella Bangkok’s Stella Bar, Maybe Sammy’s Hunter Gregory and Sarah Proietti have started their guest shift – and Hunter is firing a first salvo of bubbles from the bubble gun.