Enjoy the Wat Arun views
One of the first boutique hotels to pop up in the heritage neighbourhood near Wat Pho, the Arun Residence remains a romantic choice boasting terrific views across the river to Wat Arun’s porcelain spires.
Set at the end of a side street on land owned by Wat Pho (the temple’s renowned Thai massage school is a neighbour), Arun Residence occupies a three-storey wood-and-cement house built in the 1920s. Decor in common spaces captures an old Bangkok feeling by way of framed century-old maps, antique rocking horses and teak floors. Olive green paint between flashes of warm orange and violet induces relaxation.
Each of the seven rooms were individually decorated with abstract or classical Thai art to compliment Thai silk and antique furnishings. The three cheaper rooms are split into two floors connected by spiral staircases. In these, small but well-equipped bathrooms and tables are located on the lower floors, with soft mattress and small seating areas set beside the upstairs windows. Expect only partial river views and minimal space if considering these.
Each designed for couples, three suites boast sofas or long cushioned daybeds, private terraces and bathrooms with mosaic-tile surfaces, ceramic basin sinks and rain showers. Every room is equipped with flatscreen TV, WiFi, minibar, safe and coffee/tea facilities. After dark, oil lamps cast a soft glow over potted plants and wooden chairs out on the suite balconies, where you can gaze straight across the river to Wat Arun.
Families can go for the “Arun Haveli” suite, which features two bedrooms, a kitchen, dining area, bathtub, private entrance and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Wat Arun. It’s the only room situated on the ground floor—be aware that the water splashing beneath the wood floors is audible inside.
Arun Residence is also home to The Deck, an open-air restaurant serving pricey dishes like rack of lamb and frog legs on a terrace with Wat Arun views. Atop the third floor is Amorosa, one of the most atmospheric spots in the old town for a sunset cocktail. On our visits, the fluent English-speaking receptionist has always been very polite but also relaxed and approachable.
The location is a quick stroll to several of Bangkok’s biggest attractions as well as Tha Tien river ferry pier, though you’ll need to head down a quiet lane to reach the hotel itself. Few taxi drivers will know Soi Pratu Nokyung by name, but it’s immediately across from the southwestern corner of Wat Pho, which virtually everyone in Bangkok knows. A handful of inviting cafes dot the area, with tuk tuks and regular taxis constantly available.
Located a short walk north of Arun Residence is a sister property, Sala Arun, which has very similar decor, rates and its own river-view rooms along with another riverside restaurant and bar. The same group also runs the nearby Chetuphon Gate, a cheaper hotel with tight split-floor rooms in the flashpacker range. While we felt the value was better at The Royal Thatien Village than Chetuphon Gate, Sala Arun is well worth a look.
If you’d prefer a more modern look to go with your Wat Arun views, check out the nearby Inn a Day, Sala Rattanakosin and Riva Arun—all three occupy converted old warehouses (Inn a Day would be our top pick out of the trio). For a full-on splurge in the old town, the rooms at Chakrabongse Villas start at around 10,000 baht but are set in a former 19th-century palace overlooking the river.
Address: 36-38 Soi Pratu Nokyung (off Maharat Rd), Bangkok
T: (02) 219 158-9; F: (02) 214 493
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º29'28.42" E, 13º44'41.04" N
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Room rates: 1,500B to 4,000B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Superior double room||2,800 baht||4,000 baht|
|Suite||4,640 baht||6,150 baht|
|Family room||6,400 baht||7,500 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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