Ayutthaya is a stunning historical city with a spiritual richness that is now preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Just a 30-minute drive northwest of Bangkok, you can visit Ayutthaya for a quick afternoon excursion, but an overnight stay is recommended. Sala Ayutthaya is one of the most stunning hotels in the city.
The small, design-oriented boutique property has only 24 rooms and is located at the Chaophaya River, opposite the old monastery Wat Putthaisawan. The minimalist architecture is a merging of the brick-wall style of the ancient city with modern Thai elements. Throughout the hotel, guests can explore unique designs such as handmade bricks or hand-stitched bronze metal panels with red tread.
The intimate reception area is a welcoming respite from the glaring baking sun and features a rose-gold mirrored glass desk in front of weathered almost-black, bronze metal walls. Dark patina wood ceilings seem reminiscent of the ancient ceilings at a larger wat across the river. From the lobby you transition into a large serene whitewashed gallery space with contemporary Thai art.
Take a right turn inside the gallery to make your way outdoors along a striking walkway with dramatic brick walls lining each side. Guestrooms sit on either side of the walkway, discreetly tucked away within the buildings.
Deluxe River View rooms are located on the second floor and offer breathtaking views across the river, especially at night when the lights of Prapang and Chedis are lit up. The room is spacious with a center, glass-enclosed structure holding the circular bathtub. Concrete floors, white painted walls and an accent brick wall, the décor is simple yet elegant. In the evenings, take advantage of the large tub chairs on the balcony and watch the sun set over the city.
Sala only has one restaurant on property and during the weekends is very popular with Thai families enjoying afternoon tea or dinner. So make sure to book a table in the morning or the day before, especially on warm days when you’d rather bask in the cool air-conditioning than sit outside. Outdoors, the eatery looks out onto the Chao Phraya River and wat Phutthaisawan. The menu is filled with international dishes and a selection of traditional Thai fare. In the mornings, the hotel offers complimentary à la carte breakfast.
When exploring the city, consider traveling by bike to tour the area. It’s one of the best ways to see the archeological sites and local culture, but keep in mind it can get pretty hot most of the year. The hotel offers complimentary bicycles for your use on a first come, first served basis. But should you wish to save your energy, ask the concierge to hire you a local Tuk Tuk driver for the afternoon. Ayutthaya is a blueprint for today's modern floating market and its Chao Phrom Market still retains much of its traditional appeal. Visit the bazaar for local goods and fresh fare.
The hotel can also set up adventure tours such as paintball, elephant trekking, ATV excursions and kayaking. For six months out of the year, the city boasts festivals such as the World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony, Songkran Festival and the Ayutthaya World Heritage Fair in December. If you’re around during one of these events, they’re a great way to get a better understanding of Thai culture and traditional cuisine.