Setting the scene: Opened in 2020 in Bangkok’s revitalised Charoenkrung district, the modern Capella Bangkok lives and breathes local heritage. Poised within the esteemed Chao Phraya Estate, a 10-minute walk from the city’s historic district, it’s framed by lush gardens that overlook the storied Chao Phraya River. The slick retreat evokes a boutique style and pied-à-terre sentiment that’s setting a new benchmark for urban luxury in a city known for its five-star hotels. As the hotel which has opened within the two-year judging period and lands in the list in the highest position, Capella Bangkok is the winner of the Nikka Best New Hotel Award 2023.
A gastronomic heart: It starts at the riverside pool, where guests watch elongated barges idle by laden with rice and sugar from the country’s agricultural heartlands, just as they have for centuries. Follow Thailand’s culinary past at restaurant Phra Nakhon or delve into authentic flavour on a street-food tour with Chef Kannika, who goes off the beaten track to introduce you to the food of her childhood. For something more refined, there’s Côte by Mauro Colagreco – the man behind Mirazur, No.1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 – with a menu of modern interpretations of French Riviera dishes. Opulent Stella rounds things off with an alchemy of cocktails crafted in front of your eyes to suit your palate, mood and even outfit.
Design notes: Architects Andy Miller and Richard Scott Wilson are behind the dramatic, layered architecture, which sees all rooms face the water, while design cognoscenti BAMO have crafted cocoon-like interiors across the sophisticated rooms. Each come with floor-to-ceiling windows with a balcony or terrace so guests can soak up the spectacle of the river below, while riverside villas and Verandah Suites also include their own private plunge pool. Soft hues, natural materials, local artwork and marble bathrooms are emblematic.
What to do: Want to discover the city’s most dynamic neighbourhoods by boat or bike? Perhaps you’d rather to try your hand at Muay Thai or monk-guided mediation? Or maybe it’s a coveted seat at award-winning hawker shophouse Raan Jay Fai you’re after? Capella Culturalists – a sort of personal butler with a direct line to the city’s finest activities – are on hand during stays to help guests get under the skin of the destination. On site, there’s also the top-notch Auriga spa, an enclave of relaxation for more languid days.
The Best New Hotel Award goes to the property featured in the highest-ranked position on the list that has opened during the two-year voting window: May 2021 – May 2023.