LuxuryThis 101-room outpost wants to put Bangkok’s storied river back on the map again.

First look: Capella brings luxury resort to Chao Phraya River

|
Capella Bangkok has 101 suites and villas, all of which face the river.
Capella Bangkok has 101 suites and villas, all of which face the river.

Opened earlier this week (1 October) following successive delays, Capella Bangkok’s prime waterfront location along Chao Phraya River is touted to be a strong drawcard.

After all, this storied river is Bangkok’s heritage commercial heart and where some of the city’s most iconic luxury hospitality brands the likes of Mandarin Oriental and Peninsula have their flags planted—until the more recent development of the BTS skytrain system drew property investment, and traveller interest towards the downtown areas of Sukhumvit and Sathorn in the past two decades.

But Capella Bangkok’s director of sales and marketing Josephine Png believes that the rejuvenation of the Chao Phraya River in recent years, including the launch of IconSiam luxury mall as a major riverside landmark and the emergence of creative communities and revitalisation of heritage districts, will once again bring attention back to an old part of the Thai capital again.

Sharing the US$1 billion mixed-use Chao Phraya Estate with the 300-room Four Seasons Hotel and 366-key Four Seasons Private Residences—the trio of properties are owned by Country Development Group—will only serve to elevate the property’s location even more, says Png. Not only does the “boutique size” of Capella Bangkok give it a “private club feeling”, it also makes it easier for the 101-room hotel to focus and deliver on personalised guest experience, she adds.

Working in its favour, Png notes, is also the novelty of Singapore-based Capella Hotels and Resorts’ first property in Thailand. “We have received positive response so far, as people are curious about Capella and to see how this property is different from city hotels in Bangkok.”

Launching a luxury hotel during a pandemic clearly is no easy feat though, but Png states that the hotel’s abundance of space and being home to Bangkok’s first riverside villas are enticing factors for the domestic market, especially the high-end segment who are seeking top-notch experiences within the borders at a time when international travel is not possible.

Villas at Capella Bangkok are located by the river’s edge.
Villas at Capella Bangkok are located by the river’s edge.

Regional market high on radar

A key priority for the new hotel in the last quarter is hence to establish Capella’s positioning in the Thai market and create a reputation for the brand as a purveyor of “domestic discovery”, says Png. For instance, Capella Culturists will lead guests through Charoenkrung area—where Bangkok’s oldest road is located—and nearby Yaowarat to seek out disappearing architecture, street food, klongs (canals) and forgotten areas.

On the dining front, Charoenkrung-born Wichian Trirattanavatin—also known as chef Lek—has been appointed to helm the Thai restaurant Phra Nakhon, while Côte will bring a taste of the French and Italian Rivieras to Bangkok’s riverside by way of Argentinean chef Mauro Colagreco, whose three Michelin-starred Mirazur in France took up the top spot in The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2019.

While the current focus is on the domestic market, John Blanco, general manager at Capella Bangkok, affirms that the regional market will remain high on the radar for the luxury resort as he anticipates travellers from Asia-Pacific to make a comeback to Thailand from 2Q 2021 onwards.

“The relationship with [the regional market] is long-term… Currently we are teasing the regional markets by promoting the hotel through our corporate office in Singapore and regional sales offices, and by being part of the Leading Hotels of the World network,” says Blanco.

Besides being actively involved in Tourism Authority of Thailand webinars, Png tells Travel Weekly Asia that Capella Bangkok has organised its own engagement meetings to keep travel agents and meeting planners in overseas markets updated while working with more local DMCs to represent the property.

Capella currently boasts a footprint in Singapore, Ubud, Shanghai, Sanya and Dusseldorf. Capella Hanoi is set to open later this year while upcoming properties are planned for the Maldives, Sydney and Chiang Mai.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI