Jennifer Kester Contributor
Forbes Travel GuideContributor Group
Capella Hotels and Resorts marks its entry into Thailand with the October 1 opening of Capella Bangkok. The property features a restaurant from acclaimed Italian-Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco, an Asian spa, COVID-safe experiences and a coveted riverfront location.
The new hotel resides in Chao Phraya Estate, a development with hotels and residences encompassing more than 14 acres along the city’s major waterway.
“The esteemed location was selected due to its access to the storied Chao Phraya River and Charoenkrung Road — Bangkok’s oldest paved road, where tradition and cultural heritage meets the city’s trendiest cafés, bars and art galleries,” says general manager John Blanco. “The opening of Capella Bangkok is a part of a larger renaissance and revitalization this area of the city is experiencing.”
All 101 guest rooms, suites and villas sport floor-to-ceiling windows facing the water. Accommodations also have a balcony or terrace, but riverside Villas and Verandahs come with the bonus of an alfresco Jacuzzi plunge pool.
“With panoramic views of the majestic Chao Phraya River, Capella Bangkok is a gateway to the eternal beauty of nature, and the urban oasis of the city,” Blanco says. “Capella Bangkok is the only hotel within the city where every guest will have an unobstructed view of the ‘River of Kings,’ creating an unforgettable experience to truly take in the beauty of the city.”
“Both the location and design of the property are really spectacular, and as the property is part of the Capella Hotels & Resorts family, every part of the hotel experience includes a thoughtfulness and attention to detail that is a hallmark of the brand,” he says. It was designed by architects Andy Miller and Richard Scott Wilson of Hamiltons International with interiors by BAMO (whose other projects include Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection and the renovation of Four Seasons Hotel Boston).
Hailed for restaurants Mirazur in the French Riviera and Florie’s at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, Mauro Colagreco debuts a new concept in Bangkok, one of his favorite his favorite foodie cities. Côte by Mauro Colagreco provides modern takes on traditional recipes from the French and Italian rivieras.
Blanco says Côte’s artichoke flower is a must-try. “The idea of the dish came from the desire to give a new body and a different texture to the classical anchoiade, an anchovy, oil and garlic dressing that in our case is presented in mousse form,” he says. “This dish also features artichoke prepared in different ways: pureed, cooked and raw. Using the main ingredients, we add a Mediterranean touch with sea herbs from the coast and the incredible freshness of kaffir lime. All the ingredients come together to re-create an ‘artichoke flower,’ a reinterpretation of the most famous anchovies and artichoke salad.”
Another way that Blanco says the Bangkok hotel stands out among the rest with its service. “As masters in our craft of hospitality, Capella Bangkok seeks to offer the highest level of personalized service available,” he says. “We’ve woven the idea of ‘craftsmanship’ into every detail of the property, handcrafting even the smallest of details to guests inside access to Bangkok’s culture, community and tradition.”
You see this with the Capella Culturists, a group of historians and native explorers who create special Bangkok itineraries. Blanco says that the Culturalists will tailor all experiences to be socially distant, private and safe for guests.
“[Culturists] are always exploring and looking for new hidden gems to share with guests,” he says. “They can coordinate experiences such as walking tours of Bangkok’s eclectic local café culture, private meditation sessions with the head monk of a 250-year-old temple or their recommendations for the best Thai street food.” One unique outing is “One Road, Two Wheels,” where you ride bicycles and boats to get a look at the communities between Charoenkrung and Charoennakorn roads.
The aforementioned amenities may draw most of the attention, but Blanco says not to miss The Living Room in the hotel lobby. “A fixture at all our properties, this is the perfect place to relax, a space to connect from dusk till dawn,” he says. “The Living Room offers majestic views of the Chao Phraya River and is where guests can meet to learn their carefully curated itinerary and Siamese phrases from our property Culturist before exploring the neighborhood.” The space has an adjoining terrace and its own programming, such as practicing mindfulness with a Wat Suthi monk and listening to stories about the history of Charoenkrung Road.
While the spa isn’t ready yet, Blanco says that it will open before the end of the year. “Tailored wellness is at the core of Auriga Wellness, our signature spa sanctuary,” he says. “Whether you seek rebalancing, vitality or an aesthetic revival, your transformation will be holistic and your journey will be unique.”
Expect an array of Asian therapies and ancient Thai treatments that focus on healing, beauty and wellness. Check out tok sen, a massage technique from the Chiang Mai province in northern Thailand that employs a hammer to gently tap your muscles into relaxation (don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt). Treatments incorporate freshly prepared Thai ingredients, such as mung bean, black sesame and rice berry.
Even though Thailand has low COVID-19 numbers (a total of 3,545 confirmed cases), the hotel made some pandemic adaptations. “Working with the owner/developer, we were able to revise the design and extend the outdoor spaces of several of the suites, in some cases by 538 square feet, creating outdoor lounge terraces with sweeping views of the riverfront,” Blanco says.
Plus, the riverside Thai restaurant Phra Nakhon gained additional outdoor dining space, including an open wood-fired grill island, to allow guests to spend more time outdoors in a lush garden. “All restaurants and bars now have sections which can be privatized for ultimate isolation, and the generous public areas allow for quiet contemplation alone or with loved ones,” he says.
While opening during the pandemic isn’t ideal, Blanco remains optimistic. “We hope that our programming and design will inspire visitors to dream of travel once again,” he says. “We look forward to welcoming international visitors to our exuberant and vibrant surroundings, offering encounters that echo the past while being anchored in the present. Especially during these challenging times, we want to encourage learning and exploration, give back to the community, and create emotional connections that stay with guests.”
Originally published by FORBES