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“Lush, Private Retreat in Bangkok with amazing river views”

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Chakrabongse Villas
Ranked #114 of 1,211 Speciality Lodging in Bangkok
Certificate of Excellence
Oakland, California
Level 3 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Lush, Private Retreat in Bangkok with amazing river views”
Reviewed 13 January 2009

Stayed for 1 night in the Garden Suite just before Christmas and wished we had been able to stay longer. The property is really one of a kind and our stay was perfect in every way. We picked the Villas since we had only one day in Bangkok and wanted to see Wat Po and The Grand Palace. The Villas location was perfect for that...within a 5 minute walk for Wat Po and less than 10 minutes for the Grand Palace. The Villas phone was never answered by someone that spoke English and since we didn't speak Thai I booked through email with Atom, who was very helpful, on the [-]. This was very easy and Atom responds quickly to email. I faxed my credit card info with signature to secure the reservation but the deposit was never charged to my card. I also arranged for airport pickup. At 5am, after 20+ hours traveling it was worth the extra cost to be met at the airport and quickly bundled into a waiting BMW. The Villas were about 40 min from the airport. Immediately on entering the grounds you know this property is special. The lush greenery, multiple water fountains, bird sounds, and beautiful buildings make it seem more like a private estate than a hotel. It is far removed form the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Our room, the Garden Suite was roomy, modern, and comfortable. It had a king size bed, huge bathroom with shower and separate soaking tub, and a mini kitchenette and fairly large fridge. There was a flat screen with DVD player which we didn't use since we had our video ipods with a/v cable as well as an ipod stereo dock. We arranged for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the terrace and the food was incredibly yummy and beautifully presented. For breakfast you can choose eggs any style, toast, coffee, tea, juice, fruits, etc or Thai breakfast with fruits and tea/coffee. Lunch and dinner were a fixed rotating menu so check with Atom to see if you like the menu. The pad thai noodles I had for lunch were excellent. We wanted to steal away their chef. Service was first class for all meals and we had a great view of Wat Arun and the river. Atom can book excursions in the Villa's private boat which we didn't have time to take advantage of. The pool area is lush and private. There is a day bed on the upper deck in the trees overlooking the river that just calls for naps. We picked up some drinks and snacks at a 7-Eleven a few minutes walk making a left out the front gate of the hotel and enjoyed them on the river deck watching the sunset over Wat Arun one evening. If you do this, make sure you use bug spray as there are mosquitos. The other couples had apparently canceled after the political demonstrations so we had the estate to ourselves. We did notice some river noise from the boats but found it to be fairly quiet overall. The Prince's house was open for touring while we were there...it is inside the estate grounds and nice to see. Free for Villa guests. We didn't have time to hit the shopping or nightlife so can't speak to how convenient it would be to take the river taxi down to the main shopping areas. This property is for more for people looking to relax in beautiful surroundings and it's proximity to the major attractions is convenient. The Riverside Villa is above the Garden Suite and has windows facing a deck that is shared with other guests as well as a private veranda. If you're a stickler for privacy then this might not be ideal but the view is incredible. We didn't have a chance to check out the other 2 rooms on the property. All in all, we look forward to returning and staying again at this wonderful location.

  • Liked — Estate grounds, privacy, proximity to Grand Palace and Wat Po, View of Wat Arun
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank bearshark08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
Level 6 Contributor
133 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 March 2008

Between March 9th-14th, 2008 we stayed at the outstanding Chakrabongse Thai Villas in Bangkok, on a Thai prince's private estate near Wat Po and the Tha Thien express boat stop. This estate has four private luxury lodgings set in a "secret garden" with a wonderful private pool that is available 24 hours a day, access to private boats, and a dining pavilion with a splendid view of Wat Arun (temple of dawn), the fort, and the Marble temple. The entire compound sits next to the vibrant Chao Prya river, where you can watch an endless parade of barges, pleasure boats, swallowtale boats, and tourist boats decorated with signs such as "We Love Our King!" perform for you enjoyment at any time of day.

At the Villas, we rented the Thai House, a traditional teak house moved to Bangkok from Ayuttya, an earlier Thai capital. The elegant teak Thai House has been fitted out with a luxurious bath, simple kitchenette with water pot and toaster, comfortable couch, cable television, closet, safe, and huge net shrouded bed. The richly appointed space was very comfortable. The design and layout make use of traditional Thai arts and crafts from the handmade silk pillows and sculpted wood ornaments, to the furniture and rich teak woodwork. Our only complaint was that the beside lights were a bit low voltage for reading.

Due to the lush park-like setting, a lively array of birds and squirrels are present, leading you to feel as if you were visiting Bangkok in another century. Fish splash in the river and stray bundles of water hyacinthe go floating past. The views from the porch and the dining pavilion are breath taking, as are the lovely views of the estate from under the Thai umbrellas and loungers on the porch. The entire estate is set up for comfort and convenience.

Set right on the river, the facility has an elegant private riverside dining pavilion where you can eat excellent home cooked international breakfasts and Thai multi-course dinners at almost any time that is convenient to you. Although several nearby restaurants such as the Deck, are notred for being good, we so enjoyed dining in the pavilion that we couldn't bear to change to a less sublime experience. The pavilion is hypnotic, with the interplay between light and reflections playing off the nearby temples, boating traffic, and excellent food. The staff make you feel like the Prince himself, having a private dinner in lyour own uxurious private estate.

Staff are particularly thoughtful, attentive, sympathetic, and genuinely eager to assist tired travelers without being in any way too visible. The facility offers all the services of a five star hotel from laundry and drivers, to private boat services for tours, a safe, and help booking services such as tailors and taxis. Most of the services are done silently with a smile or seemingly by invisible hands.

We toured all the Thai Villa facilities and found that the China House was a splendid apartment with two bedrooms and baths and a shared kitchen and living room plus a wonderful large balcony overlooking the pool and able to see the river. This is the newest of the available facilities.

The Riverside suite is a smaller apartment with a very choice view of the river from a private second level balcony and very nice fittings. The Garden House has a particularly grand bedroom and walks out to the general large living room/computer room that all the visitors may use (directly underneath the Thai House) where a personal computer, a library, and a small exhib ition of Thai art are available to all guests, plus a leather couch and seating for reading.

Despite notes in other reviews of this facility, we had no problems with moskitoes. Nor did we find noise a significant problem due to the river traffic. Our only problems with the facility was tearing ourselves away to leave it., even for site seeing at some of the marvelous nearby temples, the amulet market, the museum, and the palaces. Happily we discovered the incredibly inexpensive nearby river express boats, which lured us to travel all over the city for 20 baht a trip just to enjoy the fun of day-to-day life on the river.

We loved the feeling of privacy, history, and the sheer lush greeness oif the grounds and the art and antiquities throughout the villa. The space feels both historic and blessed. The walkway down to the river from the central entrance into the facility is magical at night, light by small golden lights in alcoves and handmade lanterns hanging from trees. The entire garden seems to be in a continuous bloom of exotic flowers. The gentle lapping of th river, the Koi splashing in the pond, and the sounds of animals and birds add to the feeling of being in a secluded paradise in the middle of a busy city.

Aton, the facility manager, knows all the secrets of the area and can be of great assistance. as she was for us. We arrived exhausted and a bit wobbly and left with great reluctance totally renewed after a perfect stay.

Take the time to explore River Books, next door to the facility. This bookstore is run by the staff and owners of the Thai Villas and the books they produce are some of the finest in existence on Southeast Asian art , architecture,and history. The authors who write for the River Book Press are some of the most frequent guests at the Thai Villas.

Please note that currently the prices of the rooms are several years out of date on the Trip Adivor Web site, so google "the Thai Villas Bangkok" to locate current rates and discount booking servuces.

We thoroughly enjoyed the Thai Villas and plan in future to go back and to try their linked northern facility up near the border of Laos. There is nothing boring, generic, or stuffy about this magical historic estate. This is a very uniquely Thai experience that should not be missed by anyone with a taste for Thailand's frich history and culture. Thank you Thai Villas for a perfect stay!

Stayed March 2008
Helpful?
3 Thank DianeVOC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Gatos, Calif.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 September 2007

Staying in this little shangri-la made our trip to Bangkok a special experience. We stayed for 2 weeks and stayed in the Garden View suite and the Riverview Suite. The staff was very helpful (especially Atom, whom spoke excellent English). The villas were beautiful and the complex very private. It was like having your own private villa. They served the breakfast in a beautiful teahouse every morning overlooking the river. If you stay in the Riverview suite, it can be noisy as the boats start going early. There is a beautiful library for the guests to use. If we ever go back to Bangkok, we will definately stay there again.
Los Gatos, California, USA

Stayed August 2007
Helpful?
5 Thank AppleLosGatos_Calif_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, UK
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2007

Having stayed in Bangkok a few times before, I wanted to find somewhere a little different, and was certainly not disappointed here.

The setting by the river, in beatiful gardens, and with only three guest rooms, is luxurious and relaxing. I stayed in the Thai Villa, which meant there was no view, but it is an independent building, affording even more privacy. It was a delight to be woken each morning by the sound of the table on the private terrace being laid for breakfast, before emerging into the sunlight and taking in the full beauty of the day.

Night-time was a little of a problem - as another reviewer has noted, some of the local nightlife can be amazingly noisy for its size. Light sleepers beware.

As location goes, I found this ideal for visiting the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, just a few minutes away via some interesting local streets and markets. Having dinner in the wooden pavillion at the edge of the river, overlooking Wat Arun, was amazing. Even more so on nights when there were no other guests, it was hard to believe you were in the middle of such a large bustling city.

I would not recommend this as the best location for a first or "once only" trip to Bangkok. I stayed here for the first few nights of a trip to the region, then returned to Bangkok for some more nights at the end of my visit, when I stayed in a more "mainstream" location, more easily accessible to the more popular places in the city. But as a real change from the norm, and a chance to stay in a truly special location, this can't be beaten.

  • Liked — Spacious
  • Disliked — Noisy wildlife at night
  • Stayed June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank simonbg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 January 2007

We stayed in the Thai House, which was perfect and the grounds were gorgeous, but at night there were extremely loud frogs that kept us awake all night (even with earplugs). Call ahead to make sure the frogs won't be loud! Breakfast is served right on the river looking at Wat Arun, beautiful. Another problem is the boats stop at 7pm so being on the river in this spot makes it hard to get from the sky train to the hotel via public transport. Taxis are so cheap, as long as traffic is ok, then there really isn't a big problem. It does take a while to take a boat to the sky train and then get into the central areas. I would stay near a sky train station - it makes everything much more efficient.

  • Stayed January 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank JSFain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bedford, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
195 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2006

I chose Chakrabongse I having read a write-up in Wanderlust travel magazine. Admittedly I can't be certain this is the best place to stay in Bangkok (having never been to the city before!) but find it hard to believe that there is anywhere as peaceful, as well situated, as nicely decorated or with such helpful staff. Of course if you have a preference for large hotels then Chakrabongse isn't for you.

Atom in particular was extremely helpful, and her English was good (essential since my wife and I know no Thai). On our second night she recommended and arranged an excellent dinner cruise on the Chao Phrya river for us.

The villas (there are only three) are situated within a hundred yards or so of Wat Po, but once you are off the road and in the grounds your feel completely apart from the chaos of Bangkok. Wanderlust said in their article, and I would completely agree, that "as a visitor, you feel privileged to share such beautiful accommodation with so few people". If we had wanted to we could have had the swimming pool to ourselves for all three days of our stay (but we chose instead to wander around Bangkok).

We stayed in the River View Villa, which is the most expensive but still felt like a bargain. The highlight of our stay - and indeed of our whole two weeks in Thailand - was the evening meal cooked for us and served in the sala overlooking Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) which is on the opposite side of the river. Breakfasts were also excellent.

We also used Chakrabongse's own boat (700 baht an hour) to spend a couple of hours cruising through the backwaters.

As for Bangkok itself, it also impressed us. Jim Thompson's house is worth visiting alongside, of course, the main temples and the Grand Palace. Chinatown and Banglampu both have fascinating markets. We also recommend the Vientiane Kitchen for an evening meal with real character.

  • Liked — food, location, friendliness, cleanliness
  • Disliked — hard mattress
  • Tips/Secrets — if there are 6 of you it's worth considering booking the whole place
  • Stayed August 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Steve R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, CA
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 June 2006

I spent two weeks in Thailand and this was by far the most welcoming, beautiful setting. I stayed in the Garden Suite, and was very impressed. The setting is magnificent on the Chao Praya River, and the staff and accommodations are top-notch.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank xoxotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Chakrabongse Villas

Property: Chakrabongse Villas
Address: 396 Maharaj Road | Tatien, behind Wat Pho and near the Grand Palace, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Bangkok > Banglamphu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #114 of 1,211 Speciality Lodging in Bangkok
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Chakrabongse Villas 5*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bangkok's best kept secret ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chakrabongse Villas Hotel Bangkok

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