Gorgeous Riverside Hotel in Thailand’s Historic Former Capital

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Sala Ayutthaya takes its name from its location, Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand. Built at the seat of the city’s historic architecture and natural beauty, the boutique hotel overlooks the Wat Phutthaisawan monastery and the Chao Phraya River. Much of the surrounding architecture dates back to the original Ayutthaya Kingdom, which reigned from 1351 to 1767, and the ancient city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just a short trip from Bangkok, Ayutthaya is a must for travelers looking to take a break from the buzz of the modern metropolis.

The primely located Sala Ayutthaya is a destination in and of itself. A 26-room, 5-star hotel, the building was designed by the Bangkok-based architects Onion. In the front, the design is rather concealed from the road, but it offers an unobstructed rear view of the river, so that guests will feel as though they have slipped away to a resort. There are a variety of rooms available, including a two-level waterside duplex and one-bedroom suites outfitted with private plunge pools. Split into two wings, the lodgings are arranged around a tall brick corridor. Handmade by local artisans, the curved passageway serves as a stunning yet quiet entrance and privacy wall.

On either side of the division, the rooms are painted white to contrast with the red clay and dark, naturally finished wood detailing. The spaces include luxury details such as free-standing bathtubs and crisp white linens. They also feature large windows, which let in light and views of the river and the courtyard pool. Inspired by the Chand Baori Step Well, the marble pools are graded so that one can slowly and delicately step into the water. Surrounded by open rooms and geometric niches, the common pools are carefully framed so that they can be enjoyed to the fullest.

Sala Ayutthaya’s other communal attraction, the restaurant, faces the river, giving guests a clear view whether they sit outside on the wood-lined dining patio or indoors under the custom-made granite lighting. The eatery several hearty breakfast options, including a blue crab omelet, and a large all-day menu of Thai and international cuisine such as stir-fried pumpkin, curries made with local prawns, and Australian steaks. At the restaurant bar, one can find a wine list with more options that one can try, including a Syrah-Voignier red from the Asoke Valley of Thailand, plus beer and cocktails.

Beyond the restaurant, visitors will find a spa and an art gallery on-site. Additionally, the hotel offers customizable tours, crafting interest-driven experiences of the city. Outside of the hotel, one can tip-toe down the stairs to the river and simply walk around or venture further afoot. Throughout the year, one may take in a cultural festival, kayak on the river, ride an elephant, and explore local leisure at the salons and golf courses. Whatever one chooses, the activity is enriched by the architecture and landscape of both the contemporary hotel and the historic city it calls home.

Photography by Wison Tungthunya



Holly is a poet from Kentucky. She grew up first in a Sears house, then on a farm. She studied English and Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College and moved to Manhattan for love. As an occasional jewelry-maker and museum patron, Holly favors wearable and functional design but is eager to see work that challenges her aesthetics. Read more and connect by visiting her blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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