A pool with a river view
The Navalai River Resort offers smart rooms in an enviable riverside location that’s practically on top of Phra Arthit ferry pier. Attentive service and a rooftop pool also help to make it a top pick in the midrange bracket.
After a polite receptionist told us the options in clear English, we took the lift upstairs to check out rooms that are sleek, clean, cushy and spacious, even if they lack the style of nearby Riva Surya’s pricier digs. While the brochure boasts rooms in four different styles, don’t expect major variations in the so-called “colonial-themed” rooms, which represent straight-up quality midrange Thai hotel fare.
You get at least 30 square metres of space including comfortable beds on artificial wood floors, Thai patterned art that weaves modern into the traditional, several lighting options and amenities like safe, fridge, TV, WiFi, desk and cushioned chairs. Tubs come standard in the spacious bathrooms, which have shades covering windows that can be opened for a view of the rest of the room. The brochure calls this feature “sexy.”
Coming without balconies, the cheaper rooms have large windows and some enjoy a view to Baan Chao Phraya, a handsome heritage building located next door. But we suggest splashing out for a room with rattan furniture on a balcony overlooking the river and Rama VIII suspension bridge.
A major bonus is Navalai’s small but perfectly positioned swimming pool set atop the sixth floor. While Riva Surya’s pool is considerably bigger, we almost like Navalai’s better thanks to the higher vantage point near an unexpectedly spacious bar. On the ground floor, the hotel’s Aquatini Restaurant isn’t a bad place to have a beer while waiting for the next river ferry, but the fare is pricey for what you get.
Located near a bunch of excellent Thai eateries and bars on Phra Arthit Road, the Navalai is easy to access thanks to its location next to the pier—the hotel restaurant sits no more than a few steps from the river ferry platform. It’s a 10-minute walk west from here to Khao San Road via Soi Rambuttri.
Directly across the river on the west bank, Baan Wang Lang is also worth considering if you like the cushy modern rooms at Navalai but would prefer to stay amid a bustling market that also has river ferry access. Or you could save a bit of cash by opting for the nearby New Siam Riverside, though it does not have a pool and we feel it’s a bigger step down than the price would imply.
Note that rates at Navalai are nearly always cheaper online than for walk-ins, and they do fluctuate throughout the year.
Address: 45/1 Phra Athit Rd, Banglamphu
T: (02) 280 9955; F: (02) 280 9966
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º29'39.47" E, 13º45'47.28" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 1,500B to 4,000B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room||2,300 baht||3,000 baht|
|Superior double room||2,600 baht||3,300 baht|
|Deluxe double room|
|3,600 baht||4,300 baht|
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
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