Heaven on the River

Maybe its the large, tastefully-decorated suite with the 180 degree views, the infinity pool that disappears into the river, or the all-you-can eat dim sum lunch, but I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven.

DSCN0318The change of scenery, a decided improvement in scenery at that, also helps. This hotel bears little resemblance to the accommodations and neighborhood at the university where I have been staying for the last 11 nights.

Before I go further, let me make this clear. I have paid for this four night stay at the relatively new 5 star Chatrium Hotel myself, so whatever biases I may have are well in check. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about this place if they put me on the payroll. If I could live at the hotel I might even consider an offer (just kidding, I love Venice Beach and Los Angeles).

The hotel is easy to get to, unless you decide to take the “easy” way and hail a taxi, which I did. At some point near the end of the ride when the driver’s confusion became apparent, he handed me his Blackberry with the GPS function open and asked me (via gestures since he spoke very little English) to punch in the name of our destination. Since our destination was the river pier at the Saphon Taksin stop on the BTS Skytrain, I thought that there could not possibly be any confusion. I even showed him where it was on the city map and the Skytrain map. Besides, my fingers are way to fat to punch out a name in Thai on a Blackberry in a bouncing cab. After a number of U turns and frequent furtive glances at the GPS, we finally made it.

My advise, forget the taxi and take the Skytrain, even if you haven’t used the Skytrain before. Or if you take a taxi go right to the hotel, using the street address. I wanted the full hotel-on-the-river experience where you wait on the pier for the hotel’s quaint water shuttle to pick you up and after a short but atmospheric ride drop you off at the hotel pier. Its a much better gateway experience, I think, then pulling up to the entryway to the lobby in a taxi. DSCN0242DSCN0259Of course, if you’re coming from the airport, especially after a long international flight, you’ll want to take a taxi. Or better yet, for the full-on luxury experience and to get a taste of the pampering that awaits you, arrange a limo pick up through the hotel.

And just in case you’re wondering how this fits in with the theme, “Living Like a Local in Bangkok,” this hotel is popular with well-off locals looking for a convenient “staycation. In fact the hotel does have a popular promotion for local residents and expats and from checking out the other guests, it looks as if many locals have taken advantage of the promotion for this long holiday weekend.

I’ll have more to say about the hotel and my experiences here over the next few days, but I have to prepare for my afternoon meeting with Thip in the lobby┬á lounge. Yes, this is not a vacation, I’m still working. But what a way to work!

In the meantime enjoy a few photos of the hotel, my room and the view.

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