- 1 Mar 2017 1:00 AM
As well as offering an escape from the traffic and congestion of downtown Bangkok, this river-side location is full of fascinating features, including both high-end shopping and quaint markets, local temples and the beautiful Holy Rosary Church, and a whole host of fun activities and authentic eateries throughout the area.
Most of the best attractions in Bangkok are accessible by water, and both local ships and elegant VIP taxi boats provide an amazing perspective on the major landmarks, particularly spectacular by night when the riverside area is all lit up.
The free daily boat service provided by Sheraton deserves highlighting as it conveniently shuttles guests to the nearby BTS Saphan Taksin skytrain station. From that transport hub you can access key attractions and shopping destinations, including MBK Center, Siam Paragon, and Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Also, from the shutle boat drop-off point guests can board a boat at the nearby public piers and discover breath taking sites near the hotel including the Grand Palace, the Temple of Dawn, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
If you fancy a more tranquil, less touristy temple experience, than say at Wat Arun, head by water to Wat Kalayanami (pictured above). It's well worth the trip, as here you can see the famously enormous golden Buddha inside the main temple building.
Open from 6am to 9pm, Wat Kalayanamit is easy to reach by water as it has its own pier. Just hop on one of the local boats that constantly make their way up and down the river, or order a X2 Water Taxi from hotel Reception. The whole hotel concierge team are truly friendly and helpful, so do take a moment to ask them for suggestions linked to your favourite activities.
Michael Schlueter is the new GM of Royal Orchid Sheraton, and has over 30 years of hospitality management experience having worked throughout Europe and Asia. Michael started his career in 1987 at the Sheraton Frankfurt Hotel, and his career has taken him to many top hotels in Germany and also Poland, Russia and Turkey.
Prior to joining the Royal Orchid Sheraton in Bangkok, Thailand, he was Managing Director of The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa and St. Regis Langkawi as well as the Langkawi International Convention Center (LICC), on the Island of Langkawi in Malaysia.
In his current role, with his wealth of international expat experience, he ensures the Royal Orchid Sheraton lives up to the expectations of a modern hotel resort in this special river-side location in Bangkok. Facilities include an outdoor tennis court, family-friendly pools, and lush gardens where you can enjoy relaxing amid the bustling city.
Guest can choose to work up a sweat at the state-of-the-art Sheraton Fitness facility, or swim a few laps in the inviting Terrace Pool, alongside stunning views of the skyline, or can splash and laze around in the tropical Garden Pool area. Pampering and massage treatments are also avalable on-site to renew body and mind.
Complimentary wireless high speed internet access is available in all public areas. Guests can elevate their stay via the Sheraton Club. Every stay in 'the club' includes an upgrade to a preferred guestroom and access to the Club Lounge – the perfect place to plug in or hang out.
According to my expereince it's highly recommended to upgrade and experience special benefits like complimentary evening hors d’oeuvres and drinks on a daily basis. Views from the Club guestrooms are delightful, and really enhance your stay.
Guest can relax at two enticing outdoor pools: the Terrace Pool, with beautiful river and city views, as well as the meandering Garden Pool surrounded by tropical greenery. Once guests get hungry the Royal Orchid tempts taste-buds via four inviting riverside restaurants.
The range of cuisine available here includes Thai, Asian, Italian, and continental fare. Enjoy modern buffets and international à la carte meals amidst warm décor, or experience traditional Thai dining in an exquisite authentic pavilion on Bangkok's famous River of Kings.
From experience I can heartily recommend the Chom Thara set menu at the Thara Thong restaurant - THB 1500 per person, and totally worth it. This flavorsome feast of traditional Thai food includes the following, and many more, local delights: CHOR MALEE (Flower shaped dumpling filled with minced herbal prawns and pork), TOM YUM GOONG (Hot and sour prawns soup), PLA HIMA THOD YUM MA MUANG (Fried snow fish topped with mango salad), GOONG YAI SAM ROD (Jumbo tiger prawn topped with sweet, sour and hot sauce)...
Feast restaurant (pictured above) presents international cuisine at the Royal Orchid Sheraton in a breezy and modern atmosphere with fantastic floor-to-ceiling river views.
Giorgio's presents Italian dishes in a romantic and modern atmosphere with river views. Riverside Grill is a chic and comfortable Tapas & Grill dining bar.
Also good to know is that the Lobby Lounge serves cocktails and snacks, and that service in each and every one of the hotels F&B options is truly exceptional, a real service with a huge smile culture blossoms here.
After eating it's really uplifting to be able to walk or cruise along the nearby river. While nowhere near as busy as they used to be 100 years ago when locals relied on boat travel as their main way to get around the city, Bangkok’s intricate series of connected waterways (or ‘klongs’) still offer visitors an exciting sightseeing activity.
Private tour companies will take you around the klongs in traditional longtail boats, or you can hop on one of the bigger public boats that make their way along the narrow canals, as well as the main Chao Phraya River. My favourite way to enjoy the waterways is on the elegant X2 River Boat.
The X2 River Boat is a 30 foot Italian designed, Italian made piece of art. Inspired by the Venetian taxi boat, it is a luxury river cruiser featuring a leather interior, air conditioning, and a sliding targa style roof for open air sight seeing. It's powered by an Alfa Romeo turbo engine, providing quiet yet powerful water transport to any or all the riverside attractions.
This luxury river boat provides tour and also taxi services via a single priced ticket, with all day “On Call” water limo services. No advance booking is required (but of course boat is subject to availability). Hotel guests can buy tickets at Reception, and the taxi boat will collect you from the resort, it really couldn't be more convenient or enjoyable.
After sightseeing, nothing beats a little bit of rest and relaxation quite like a Thai massage. Available seemingly on every little soi across the city, choosing a place for a massage does need a bit of care. First of all, always visit a place where the staff wear uniforms, as this is a good sign of quality. Afraid it will hurt? Then don’t hesitate to tell your masseuse to go a little softer.
Certainly you'll be in safe hands at the Royal Orchid's Mandara Spa, which from experience I can confirm is a soothing oasis. Here you can really relax and indulge in a wide array of wellness and traditional relaxation treatments. This quality option provides sublime state-of-the-art spa treatments, and features four decadent double treatment rooms and three suites, each with exquisite views of the Chao Phraya River and Bangkok's vibrant cityscape.
Spa suites also feature an oversized aromatherapy floral bath for two, a steam and shower room, and a private changing room. Additional suites include a luxury garden suite, which offers rooftop access to an enclosed garden and riverfront Thai sala for relaxing private treatments alongside river views.
It's interesting to note that the name Mandara comes from an ancient Sanskrit legend about a god’s quest to find the elixir of immortality. This ancient legend has been embraced by Mandara Spa and is reflected in the unique and exotic spa treatments that replicate the beauty, spirit, soul and cultural traditions of those ancient times.
Whilst the hotel itself, even with all it's impressive facilities, cannot promise immortality, a stay here practically guarantees a life enhancing experience. Not just the spa but every part of my stay at the Royal Orchid Sheraton left me feeling revitalised. There is something special about this property, perhaps some of the legendary magic in the ethos of the hotel spa runs through the whole resort, certainly the superb location by the truly facinating Bangkok riverside adds a magical touch.
Bang Rak, the district around the hotel has gone through various eras, resulting in a hotbed of historical buildings. To just name a few there's 1 Captain Bush Lane, the first villa to have a postal address, the first office of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC), and a European embassy with the Portuguese, French, Dutch and British Embassies built in the locale.
Whist at the Sheraton I met David Robinson the GM of Bangkok River, who shared the above information along with many more interesting insights into the local area. Follow that link to read a full interview with him, here's an example answer to appropriately close this review:
My advice is to stay on the river, travel on the river, and explore the riverside... The home of the Chakra Dynasty, temples, shrines, churches and mosques sit happily side by side, as do palaces and wet markets. To the south of Rattanakosin is one of the oldest Chinatowns in the world...The hustle and bustle here is magnetic. Then wander the streets and lanes of the old European Quarter, from Bang Rak to Yannawa and then onto the night market of Asiatique... There is always something to peak your interest - by Bankgok river.
Visit Royal Orchid Sheraton online
2 Charoen Krung Road Soi 30
(Captain Bush Lane),
+66 (2) 266 0123