Rooms: They're large in in-charge. Okay, forgive us for that but they are quite spacious. The Anantara rebranding means the gold-and-red conservative look of Marriott has been kicked out in favor of a more modern green and brown, and the furniture updated to this decade. You'll want to go for the "Deluxe Premier" or "Deluxe Premier Riverview" for the full Anantara treatments. You'll get a private balcony regardless of room type, but we can't imagine missing all the action on the Chao Phraya river just outside.
Location: If you plot the hotel on Google Maps, the location further down on the Thonburi side of the river is at first worrying. But, staying here, you'll learn that the location is actually one of the most unexpected positives; you aren't choked by traffic, the views are excellent, the area is quiet, and the hotel's free and frequent water taxi service to the main Sathorn/Saphan Taksin Pier downtown is far more enjoyable and speedy than taking a taxi from anywhere to anywhere in the city.
And, since the hotel has the space to spread out, it's three low-rise buildings with a traditional Thai style, versus a compact high-rise. And the pool area is massivecan't forget about that.
The outdoors: Speaking of the pool, this Anantara fancies itself an urban resort, so of course it's got to have the amenities of one. That includes the enormous pool (with shallow kiddie end), a large foliage-surrounded hottub, a swim-up pool bar, row after row of chaise lounges on wood decking, and all bordered by lily ponds with pleasantly gurgling fountains.
As for bars, there's a few outdoors, but we specifically recommend the Longtail Bar right at the entrance to the dock. Here you can sit and drink while waiting for the water taxi, or chillax a bit more by taking a table right on the dock itself. The Trader Vic's and Benihana were undergoing renovations while we were there, so unfortunately we can't say anything about them other than we long to return and see how they've been refreshed.
Good Eats: Last but not least are the restaurants, of which there's quite a selection. We've already mentioned Trader Vic's and Benihana, but another wing also offers the Italian spot Brio (with wood-fired oven), Riverside Terrace, The Market, Numero Uno (a little shop selling sweets and gelato), Elephant Bar, and the option to leave solid ground altogether on their Manohra Dinner Cruise. Leaving from the hotel dock at 7:30pm, a traditional Thai rice barge serves a many-course meal as you head upriver past the temples and skyscrapers at dusk.
Get breakfast included if you can, because itserved at Riverside Terraceis more like a breakfast bazaar than anything else. There's everything from a tropical juice station to a waffle/crepe station, and everything in between, including Chinese dim sum and Japanese yakisoba.
So would we return? We're kind of already planning on it, though a word to the wise: while it's perfectly fine to stay here on your own (as we did), we think it'd be far more enjoyable with others, whether that's friends, a significant other, or your whole family. There's just something about it where you want to share it with someone else, and we say this even though we prefer traveling solo most of the time.
The dock and one of the room wings
Disclosure: We stayed on a media rate at the Anantara Riverside when it was still partially Marriott, partially Anantara, but all photos and opinions are of course completely our own.
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for HotelChatter]