When we ring the bell, the doors to Chakrabongse Villas open. We are welcomed by a friendly guarder. The minute I walk in my eyes twinkle. The sound of water fountains, the smell of blossom and all the tropical greens around me make me feel like I entered another world within Bangkok. Built in 1908, Chakrabongse House, as it was formerly called, was the home of Prince Chakrabongse, the second son of King Rama V and Queen Saowabha. The Chakrabongses lived mainly overseas and used the house like a second home when they attended ceremonies in the Grand Palace (just a few blocks down the road). After the Siamese Revolution of 1932 the Prince past the residence down to Prince Chula, and now it belongs to his daughter Narisa. Today the ground has been transformed into a beautiful boutique hotel. It is a dream come true to sleep at this secret retreat in the heart of old Bangkok.
The river view suite
Atom, the hostess of Chakrabongse Villas greets us warmly and leads us to our room, the river view suite. We walk through the garden to our private Thai-style teak apartment set at the riverfront with mesmerizing views on Wat Arun. The luxury suite has a gleaming wooden planked floor and is set up with a mix of antique and design furniture. On the walls hang modern artwork and ancient family pictures. Our large bedroom has a walk-in closet with minibar and a beautiful bathroom with large Jacuzzi and luxurious bathroom amenities. Our private veranda has a wooden canopy bed with soft cushions to dream away after your city walk. Along the Chao Phraya River there are two sun beds to lie down and take in the stunning panoramic views of the city’s architectural heritage. Ferries and sampans full of flowers and souvenirs pass by on the river
When I step out of our room I walk along our private pathway that looks down on the fountain in front of the pavilion. I take the spiral staircase down to enter the botanical garden. I stroll through the green flower tunnel. It leads to the private conservatory attached to the main residence where Narissa lives half of the year. I can spend hours walking around in the flower garden full of jasmines, orchids, Chinese roses, ixora, and floating water lilies. In the back of the garden is a little white teahouse. I imagine the prince sitting there enjoying an afternoon tea with his wife. When the sunset turns the sky bright pink I take a refreshing dive into the ten-meter pool that is surrounded by flowering trees and swaying palms.
An oasis of calm in the heart of Bangkok
Early morning after our yoga session on the veranda there is a delicious breakfast set up on our private table under the shady pavilion. This is definitely my number one breakfast view; looking out over the Chao Phraya River and ancient temples. Chakrabongse Villas is perfectly situated for sight seeing, the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and the flower market are in the neighborhood.
Spending two days in a serene hidden paradise made me almost forget we are actually in the middle of one of the biggest metropolis of the world. I literally felt like a queen staying at the Chakrabongse Villas.