Chakrabongse Villas, Bangkok

When planning a recent trip to Bangkok, we had been told about a former palace which now has added its own boutique accommodation. With absolute riverfront location this was where Prince Chula Chakrabongse and his family lived in the early 20th century. He had been schooled in England and married an English wife. One of his descendants still lives in the main house and she has been responsible for bringing the family's story to the world with her books (see below).

In 1906, Katya, a Russian, married Prince Chakrabongse Bhuvanoth and they lived here, as it was the ideal location, just a short distance from the Grand Palace and its ceremonies. Their story is told in the book pictured above.

Read a review of Riverside Recipes.

Many of the recipes featured in the book are served in this restaurant on the river's edge. We ate here one evening on the outside deck, as boats plied up and down the river, providing our entertainment, while the lights of Wat Arun across the river glowed and sparkled.

Fragrant rice came under a woven banana leaf cone, fish in a spicy garlic sauce, duck in a basil soup – and much more. The menu was long and eclectic, each dish showing a close attention to detail, and we finished with the creamiest coconut ice cream and tropical fruit platter. No description could do it justice.

A member of the esteemed Secret Retreats group, Chakrabongse Villas' rooms show elegant restraint. As in the homes of more affluent Thais, the walls are Thai teak, the bedspreads, silk. A bathroom, lounge and dressing room completed our River View villa, along with a day bed and outdoor terrace from which to view the passing river entertainment.

Grand estates like Chakrabongse have striped poles, reminiscent of Venice – except here it's a rowdy Venice! By day, those longtail boats, are often driven by lads who manage them like a sports car, accelerating towards each other, then wheeling way, zooming off in a wall of spray. At night, the barges boom deep bass notes, and the sightseeing ferries and dinner cruises pass by sharing their music and commentaries. This river is a lively place, the lifeblood of Bangkok, and where to see it, upclose, than from the terrace in front of your villa?

More details .....  and ......

 

 

 

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