Last updated on September 16th, 2023
Bangkok has no shortage of luxury hotels and it’s always been a city with high competition among the big hotel brands. Pretty much every single major hotel name is represented in the Thai capital, and it can be hard to take your pick out of all the options out here. You really want to be assured that the one you choose goes above and beyond and stands out as a remarkably stellar experience. Capella Bangkok was quite unbeatable and checked all of our boxes and more when we stayed here at the end of our trip in Thailand!
If you’ve visited a number of luxury properties worldwide, you’ll come to know that in Southeast Asia, hotels often far exceed our expectations when it comes to hospitality. Sometimes they even put their North American and European counterparts to shame. A Fairmont, for example, in Asia completely blows the Fairmonts I’ve visited in Canada out of the water.
Being a relatively newer name in the 5-star hotel scene, Capella needs to make an impact to stand out amongst the many big boy names that have been around for decades. With the very first Capella property having just been opened in 2009 – in Singapore no less – it’s a baby brand compared to many others. But every year that goes by, a new Capella hotel or resort pops up in a new destination. Capella Bangkok is number 5 and just opened its doors in the heat of the pandemic in October 2020.
Having spent two nights at the Capella Bangkok this spring, we have much to share about the life of vacationing at this unique city property. From mouthwatering authentic dining experiences to the delightful cocktails at the bar, rejuvenating spa experiences at Auriga Spa to a relaxing time in our own premium riverfront balcony, we were delighted at every moment!
Arrival & Check-In
Pulling up to Capella Bangkok was a treat and a half. The uphill entry of the estate led up the long elegant stone driveway to three different luxury properties. On one estate owned by a single owner are three different luxury properties: Capella Bangkok, Four Seasons Bangkok and Four Seasons Private Residence. Driving up to Capella Bangkok’s quiet and tasteful entrance, we could feel the newness of the property yet also its timelessness.
The Capella hotel staff greeted us with smiles on their faces as they open the doors to our cab and swiftly grabbed our luggage. We walked through the large doors held open by the doormen who were always tending to the entrance. Then immediately after walking in, we were greeted by our hostess who knew our names before we even had to introduce ourselves.
The lobby was absolutely stunning at first sight. We didn’t get much time to gape and awe at it just yet, as our hostess ushered us passed what we thought was the reception desk and into another area completely. We felt like VIP’s as we were led through this frosted glass massive sliding door that could only be opened with key card access.
It turns out that the reception desk in the lobby area is actually the concierge. Check-in is in a whole other private area dedicated just for staying hotel guests.
The Living Room
We were escorted to what is called the Living Room. On the other side of the large sliding door that separates the public hotel lobby from the private entryway to the rooms, suites and elevator lobby, is the entrance to the Living Room. Behind an unassuming classic dark wood door lies a massive room that emulates the comfort of a high end lounge with natural light pouring through the floor-to-ceiling windows covering three sides of the room.
This spacious lounge was the perfect place for us to check-in in peace. It was certainly a unique feature that gives Capella some well deserved brownie points, as very few hotels have a private designated area for relaxation and check-in for hotel guests.
We were welcomed to make ourselves comfortable on any of the comfortable couches while the reception got our documents in order. Our hostess asked us if we would like something to drink, and to our surprise, mentioned options we didn’t expect to be on the list. Coffee, juice, sparkling water or any soft drink I can maybe understand. But a glass of sparkling wine? I definitely felt like I was about to board a flight in first class instead of stay at a hotel. She then came around with a delicious chilled brut, a cold moist towelette, along with a dark chocolate with Capella’s logo on it and a coconut granola cluster. Yum!
The Living Room was quite the executive start to our time with Capella Bangkok. Our early arrival of 10:30am didn’t shock or annoy anyone on the welcome team, and in fact they were very well prepared and even had our room ready! To be fair though, when we went in May, it was in the middle of Thailand’s shoulder season, so they weren’t quite near capacity. We stuck around the Living Room for a little longer after receiving our keys just to soak it all in, before we were led up to our room.
Capella Riverfront Premier Room
All 101 Capella rooms, suites and villas have a view and the best view that you could ask for. Each and every one of the riverfront accommodations face out to the Chao Phraya River and honestly have one of the best hotel views in town!
Our room was situated on the 7th floor and on the north half of the building facing out to the pool. As we made our way to it, the stretch of hallway had so much natural light coming in which brightened the space even more on top of the light coloured wood and soft carpet palette. The hallway is right up against the east side of the building with floor-to-ceiling glass panes lined the whole way through. So before we even walked into our own room, we got a city view of the Sathon district.
We were staying in the Riverfront Premier Room, which is actually Capella Bangkok’s second most basic room, but it couldn’t be further from basic. What makes the room Riverfront Premier is the fact that our room is between levels 5-10, sitting on a higher floor than the other Riverfront Rooms.
A staggering 61 sqm of space in the Riverfront Premier makes it the largest city hotel room we’ve ever stayed in. And again, this is Capella’s most basic accommodation option!
The entryway feels homey with a decent area of hardwood floor to take off your shoes and place them out of the way. We were pleased that this entrance hall demarcated the separation between the door and the bedroom. There’s a console table against the wall with a key tray and a vase of fresh flowers. It was nice to leave our key cards in the dish as we somehow manage to misplace them! At least we knew where they were and remembered to grab them on our way out since they were now right by the door.
Right beside the entryway is a long dressing room hall. This large, dedicated dressing area is something you seldom see in a non-suite room. I would definitely consider it a walk-in wardrobe with how spacious it is, and it opens on both sides: at the entryway and on the other side leading to the bathroom. With open hanging space on one side with a sizeable dresser, and enclosed closet space as well as a vanity on the other, there is an abundance of space to keep your luggage stored and clothes put away in here. Also, might I add, slow-closing drawers? Very nice touch.
The vanity space is right in the centre between the two wardrobes and I actually had a lot of space to get my face ready with a well lit full length mirror. The drawer of the vanity had some cushioned compartments for jewelry and there was also a lovely jewelry box on the countertop I could house my small accessories.
Hung up on the thick and heavy-duty branded wooden hangers were some soft and light bathrobes for our use. They were sized proportionally to us so we knew which one was mine and which one was my husband’s. There was also a high quality branded tote bag and umbrella for our use during our stay. In the dresser drawers, we could find our ultra soft and fuzzy flip flop slippers – yes, they were actually thong-styled indoor slippers!
We also had everything you could think of when it comes to hotel wardrobe amenities: a full shoe kit as well as large high quality bags for laundry, dry cleaning and pressing.
During your stay, you could get up to five items steamed or pressed on arrival. We had a couple of wrinkled items we wanted to wear for the next evening, so we placed them in the “PRESSING” bag and placed the bag in a special cubby.
In the wardrobe nearest the main door, there’s a valet rail built in. You can put your laundry bag here, press the “service” button and the housekeeping team would pick them up at their earliest convenience. Or, if you have your “do not disturb” light on, the staff will be sure to place your food or items in the compartment and lock the little door on their side of the wall. Since Capella Bangkok opened up in 2020, they installed these two-way cubicles for COVID reasons and it honestly turned out to be a great investment!
Once our clothes were pressed, the housekeeping staff brought them back to our room the next morning in a branded garment cover and luxurious velvet garment bag! Everything is well thought out at Capella.
The bathroom reveals itself with the sliding of wide double wooden doors. It was everything I could ask for and more! A stunning standalone bathtub in the centre of the room, marvellous marble tiling on the walls and floor, privacy glass enclosures for the toilet and for the shower stall, and double vanity sinks with a massive mirror and a full width glass behind it. You could actually see out to your balcony and get a view of the river right from the bathroom! Make sure to make use of the shades though, when your lights are on at night!
The walk-in shower was heavenly and of course had a rainwater shower feature on top of a handheld one. A long wooden bench was placed in the shower stall which is definitely a necessity when the legs are due for a shave. The reusable Etoile de Siam shampoo, conditioner and shower gel bottles were displayed in a built-in shampoo niche which made the interior look even more seamless. In the shampoo niche was abundant space for any additional toiletries we needed to keep in the shower.
Between the water closet and shower stall were a second set of bathrobes: the thick and fuzzy ones. You know you’re at a top tier place when they provide not one, but two sets of bathrobes!
The bathtub had all the accessories one would need for a spa-like soak. On the bath tray was a large loofah, shower cap and a tin filled with “bath tea”. Yes, bath tea! As in I was meant to steep along with the tea bag made for my bath. In it were bath salts, oils, dried flowers and tea leaves. The scent was invigorating.
When our host gave us a tour of the room after checking in, they were very adamant about calling housekeeping to draw a bath when we wanted to have one. So I did on our final morning! And it was marvellous. It was a true skill to bring the bubbles to the level they were at. I was completely wrapped in them you couldn’t even see me until they slowly started to subside. Crazy that they didn’t overflow at all either, they just floated and it was incredible.
All in all, this bathroom checked off all my criteria for a luxurious one. The full height mirrors on both sides of the bathroom made the space seem even larger and were of course amazing for functionality. Always gotta make sure you look fine before heading out!
I absolutely loved the vanity space. The dark marble countertop contrasted well against the rest of the room with the lighter stone and wood. It was nice and wide with amenities placed between the two sinks, which included Capella’s complimentary glass water bottles, drinking glasses, liquid soap and a soap bar, a leather tissue box and a leather container filled with cotton, balls and pads. The countertop rectangular sinks were massive and there was plenty of storage underneath in the open shelves and drawer. An electric scale was also placed under the floating cabinets, and the floor space was well lit with lights illuminating from the cabinets.
There were additional bathroom amenities placed in the vanity drawer if you were missing toiletry essentials during your stay. They had everything in these well coordinated boxes that, when put together, created a beautiful vintage photograph of old times Bangkok. All the things you could think of were in here: full travel sized Gillette shaving cream, an emery board, two dental kits, and very high quality wooden hair brush and comb with Capella’s logo. The brush and comb made beautiful keepsakes that we had to take home with us!
Heading to the bedroom, you can already see how open concept it is. There is no divider separating the living space and bar, and the bed is right front and centre of the room and faces out to the iconic view of Chao Phraya River. The living area furniture is all low profile which doesn’t obstruct our view of outside while on the bed.
The king size bed was sublime to sleep in and was essentially Four Seasons level of comfort. It must be that massive and thick mattress but also the softness of the Egyptian cotton bedding. The headboard has an intricate wooden slat pattern that is overlaid on a full wall mirror, as well as a cushioned section that’s high enough to cover the top of your head when you’re sleeping.
On both sides of the bed are control panels to adjust all the electrically powered fixtures in the room. On the left side of the bed, you can only control the lighting, which is still pretty customized. There are options for low light, all lights, and turning on/off the master lighting. Three other icons indicate you can turn on/off your side’s reading light, the lamp or just the “nighttime” setting for times you need to head to the bathroom at night.
On the right side of the bed, you have a lot more control buttons on top of the lighting There are buttons to open and close the day or night sides, and for turning on the lighting and fan on the balcony. On the right side’s night table, you also have an iPad to help you navigate the hotel’s amenities and dining digitally. There are other apps on the iPad that show weather and such that can help you plan things out during your stay.
Al the outlets are international plug-ins which is fantastic if you’re missing an adaptor. They also have dual USB outlets above the night tables so you can easily plug your phones in beside the bed. One thing I absolutely adored about the housekeeping service – on top of already having branded leather coverings for the sanitized TV remote and other room accessories – was that if the housekeeping staff noticed any loose cables of yours in the room, they would wrap them up in a Capella branded suede cord wrap. Much like what we experienced at Four Seasons Oahu! Another cute keepsake you could take home with you if you’d like!
Over to the living space, we’ve got a work desk, a sofa, coffee table and opposing armchair as well as a full bar which I’ll get to in a bit. Both the desk and the sofa face directly towards the bar and TV, which is great for both work and chill purposes. There’s actually an HDMI port in the work desk so you could use the large flatscreen as an additional monitor for work, or use it to mirror your laptop screen for entertainment.
Atop the desk is a leather desk pad that matches the beige tones used for all the leather accessories in the room. The working area was very ergonomic and we actually managed to get a lot of work done editing photos and videos at this desk while having the entire view of the river right beside us through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The power outlets are nicely tucked away in a concealed compartment on the desk that you can pivot open. A second landline phone is located on the work desk for convenience. And the team has also added a frosted glass sanitizing spray – and, you guessed it, it’s Capella branded – for our use.
I couldn’t get enough of the Capella stationery that they provided here! They had such high quality note sheets, letterhead paper and envelopes with their logo gold foiled on each sheet. All of this stationery is tucked away in the desk drawer with the note pad on the desk.
The living area is incredibly homey and I did almost dose off right on this couch our first afternoon at Capella. The muted tones of the furniture and upholstery are right up my alley and so is the white marble round coffee table! I was certainly taking notes for some future home interior design.
Upon arriving, we were welcomed with delicious and beautifully handmade Thai sweets on a glass domed cake stand. We thought these were just provided the first night but no! We had more the next morning after housekeeping came by to make our room. An entire bowl of tropical fruits was also provided. You bet I peeled that dragon fruit first! They just don’t sell them at home like they do in Thailand.
It was refreshing to see the entertainment system being encompassed within the bar. The TV screen is displayed on the wall and enveloped by the bar’s gold accented frame. And a Bluetooth speaker is also added to the entertainment system. The bar countertop, which also acts as a console, has a classic white marble finish, matching the coffee table and feeding my marble obsession. There are some premium hard liquor bottles, along with various cocktail glasses, on display on mirror backed bar shelves.
All other drinks are kept refrigerated in the mini-fridge situated within the flush cabinetry. The fridge isn’t anything fancy, and the addition of a slim wine fridge would be something we would expect from a hotel of this caliber. But you know what’s unique? All non-alcoholic beverages are completely complimentary throughout your stay at Capella Bangkok! That means all the soft drinks, premium sparkling waters and nectar juice bottles that you find in the mini-fridge.
Some of the snacks are complimentary as well which is pretty much never the case. Small cookie jars were replenished daily and paired well with our daily espressos that we got from our in-room Nespresso machine. As Nespresso fans, we’re always delighted to have our own in the room, even though we know there might be better espresso machines out there. Capella stationed a leather-bound Nespresso machine that was neither the Original nor the Vertuo line. It used a different style of flat pods but still got the job done in getting us a smooth espresso when prompted.
The coffee and tea sets were all stored in the bar cabinet in one drawer. Look at that lovely Thai tea pot! The complimentary snack jars were also in here, whereas the remainder of the snack minibar that comes with a price tag is placed in the adjacent drawer along with a cocktail kit.
A gold ice bucket for cold drinks and a kettle for your tea are placed in the bottom drawers below these.
One of my favourite parts of the Riverfront Premier Room is the balcony! This is yet another feature that makes Capella Bangkok’s rooms stand out. All rooms and suites have their own outdoor space, and it isn’t a regular balcony with regular outdoor seating. This one has a cushioned daybed and is the most spacious of balconies we’ve ever had in a city hotel accommodation.
The balcony does have a bit of a cold feel to it what with the stark grey floor tiles, the dark blue wall and the grey palette of the daybed. But this ultimately draws your eyes out to the view where you can see all the greenery of the hotel’s landscaping as well as the Chao Phraya River and the cityscape of Bangkok.
There’s a ceiling fan to keep you cool in the tropical heat and a light if you’re admiring the city view from your balcony at night. Both of which can be controlled by the switches on the right side of the bed I showed above! I think they could add a little more colour and warmth to the balcony, but I took advantage of the daybed tray and our daily Thai sweets to do just that.
We had the opportunity to check out another accommodation type at the hotel: the Verandah. Identical to our Riverfront Premier Room in the interiors, it boasts a very different exterior. The Verandah rooms are all located on the third floor, which may give them a lower vantage point for the view, but they make it up with their generously spacious exterior. At 139 sqm, the Verandah offers more than double the size of the Riverfront Premier via this stunning outdoor space.
The residentially styled terrace features an intimate poolside furnished seating area, a decked out jacuzzi plunge pool and a roofed daybed. Plunge pools aren’t that uncommon even for city hotels of this caliber, but a full on 78 sqm veranda? This one is one-of-a-kind.
Popular among local staycationers, the Verandahs are almost always at full occupancy. But lucky for us, we got to take a tour of one, take some photos and squeeze in some time relaxing in the plunge pool as the room was vacant for the day!
Dining at Capella
Capella has a number of must-try restaurants, including a one-Michelin-starred restaurant with refined dishes created by a celebrated three-Micheline-starred Argentine chef: Côte by Mauro Colagreco. It’s a sophisticated place with Riviera-inspired food and ambiance, perfect for a Riverfront hotel.
We didn’t get to dine at Côte sadly as it was undergoing some construction while we were staying at the Capella. But we had the pleasure. of trying out the hotel’s other dining spots which I’ll get to in this section! Don’t forget that, since Capella is part of the Chao Phraya Estate, you have access to other esteemed restaurants at the Four Seasons properties! More options (or flags), more fun right?
Phra Nakhon is Capella’s main restaurant, named after Bangkok’s central and historical district. In a sun-kissed conservatory and an extensive outdoor deck on the river-s edge, they serve delicious authentic Thai cuisines made with family recipes handed down. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in this restaurant.
Phra Nakhon Breakfast
As Capella guests, we got to enjoy complimentary breakfast at Phra Nakhon daily. It was most definitely one of the best breakfast spreads we’ve had, even at a top of the line hotel.
They call it a semi-buffet breakfast, but I call it all-you-can-eat à la carte, because it honestly is. You can serve yourself in the buffet area that has an assortment of fresh fruits, yogurts, pastries, breads and gourmet cheeses to name a few that are on display. Here, you can also ask the chefs working in the open kitchen to serve you whatever they’re cooking at their station. There are varieties of curries and Thai dishes and, some hot Thai desserts and a juice bar where one of the chefs is always hard at work.
Truth be told, we didn’t feel the need to ask the chefs to serve us anything because the à la carte menu already had plenty of options we had to try. We only grabbed our fresh fruits, yogurt and pastries here. And the pastries were certainly up to par with what the best European bakeries could offer. The quality and presentation of the food on display was exceptional.
Each morning we would start our breakfast by ordering a coffee and fresh pressed juice. The coffee was delicious – they must have a really great machine and a barista who really knows what they’re doing – and they would have a daily special for the juices that got to try. Our last morning, I opted in for the fresh coconut juice and to my surprise, they brought over a young fresh coconut, completely peeled and intact! Our server said that they have a local supplier who has the proper tools to peel them, but it still amazed me to see this pearl I could drink out of and eat afterwards.
As I mentioned, the food menu had so many incredible options. It was hard to take my pick! But the great thing was that the portions were quite small so I could indulge in more than a few if I wanted to. Jason and I took our pick of the cold items, the hot dishes as well as the Japanese and Thai specialties. The menu pushed the boundaries of your regular eggs Benedict or even noodle soups as is common in Asia. I honestly didn’t fully grasp what each dish was going to be until it arrived in front of me. It definitely gave us room to explore new flavours and aesthetics, which was pleasant as a start-of-the-day experience.
My two favourite savoury dishes were the Unagi Benedict and the Moo Ping Khao Niew. The soft poached onsen egg served with mouthwatering eel, an onigiri rice ball and soba hollandaise really elevated one of my favourite breakfast dishes and perfectly blended the Japanese flavours and ingredients with this originally Western dish. The Moo Ping Khao Niew were some marinated pork skewers served with delectable sticky rice. Knowing my husband, we had to order seconds of the skewers. And I attest that they were delicious!
We often find ourselves stuffing our bellies when it comes to buffet style breakfasts at hotels. But the small portions and the abundance of healthy choices allowed us to leave Phra Nakhon feeling satisfied yet not bloated.
We felt so great that we took our server on his advice to try the Shibuya Toast as it’s such a popular item on the menu and we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It was delicious and was one of the better French toasts I’ve had, don’t get me wrong. But it was also a bit anticlimactic as people were hyping it up and we didn’t understand what made it “Shibuya”. I would think there’s gotta be some Tokyo street food elements to this dish but I couldn’t find them.
All in all, both mornings we had a wonderful riverside breakfast with great service and deliciously innovative food that kept us satisfied and ready to take on the day.
Phra Nakhon Dinner
We thought breakfast was off the charts but dinner at Phra Nakhon was even more so. We shared the Sam Rub 11-course dinner for two which was a journey of discovery for our taste buds. Truly authentic Thai dishes that originated from specific regions, with dearly kept recipes handed down generations, were at the forefront of this meal. Every single dish we had was made with love, in our opinion. And our server was so eager to elaborate on the history and the ingredients that were central to each course.
With our Sam Rub dinner, we had a bit of everything. Different kinds of prawns, crab meat as well as chicken salad, beef cheek, fish, crispy pork belly, all kinds of native vegetables and of course an iconic Thai dessert. Once we got seated and were served complimentary bread/crackers, our server confirmed with us in person whether we had any dietary restrictions and our comfort level for spice. We ordered a couple of drinks to start and were ready for our grand meal.
Each of the 11 courses, apart from the seasonal fruits (pol la mai) and our beloved mango sticky rice (kao niew ma muang itim gati), were completely new to us. We’ve had the Tom Yum soup a number of times but not the way it was made here with the river prawns and mushrooms.
Out of all the dishes, the Gaeng Kee Lek Gaem Wua Toon, as in the Thai Chin style beef cheek, was most phenomenal. It was akin to the Indonesian style beef rendang which we absolutely loved when we stayed at the Jumeirah Bali! This was also my husband’s first time trying mango sticky rice in Thailand and he was on cloud 9! He still goes on about it and we can’t seem to find a place that does the sticky rice like they did at Phra Nakhon.
If you can’t fully visualize the dishes prior to ordering, what I love is that the restaurant’s menu does an amazing job of showing that off for you! The descriptions of each Thai dish are helpful but the professional images are even more so. It certainly gets your mouth watering just looking at the menu without even ordering yet!
Poolside Pinto Lunch
Capella Bangkok’s pool is very serene, and during the sunny afternoon it makes for a perfectly quiet place to enjoy the sun and cool off simultaneously. Of course, we often get pretty hungry during those hours and would like to dine in between dips at the pool. Fortunately, you can order from an exclusive poolside menu that is extensively well thought out.
This was yet another place in which Capella stood out for us. Most poolside menus offer casual style foods like burgers and simple dishes, even at five-star hotels. But this one went above and beyond to curate something special. Yes, you can find your Western handhelds as well as Thai favourites with vegetarian options as well. But the selections and presentation was a mark of craft for Capella’s poolside.
The Pinto menu offered six different meal sets served in traditional Thai pinto boxes. These pinto boxes are gorgeous ceramic bowls that could be placed on top of each other for ease of transport much like Japanese bento boxes. The six pinto sets included: two Thai sets, a Japanese katsu set, a beef burger set, a panini set and an Italian vegetarian set featuring burrata. All six varied in main dishes, side dishes and appetizers as well as desserts.
There was also the option of ordered off the Pinto’s à la carte menu for both Thai and Western cuisine, but we opted for the two Thai pinto sets as they were the most eye-catching and satisfied our desire to try more authentic Thai food.
The Kaprao and Pad Sen sets were phenomenal. We pretty much scarfed it all down without hesitation. Mind you, it was pretty hot out in the Bangkok spring heat! We shared them both so we could try all eight dishes. Both of the sets had a focus on seafood with just one dish featuring chicken in the Pad Kaprao Gai Kai Daow. And the desserts were delectable! Our favourite mango sticky rice with roasted mung bean and housemade coconut ice cream as well as preserved Thai fruits in palm sugar and som za syrup (Loy Kaew)!
When they brought out the food, one of the pool attendants set up the dishes on a low profile daybed table for us to enjoy our lunch right from our chaise lounge chairs. It was honestly the best poolside meal I’ve ever had.