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Welcome to Amdaeng, a riverside hotel where history is reinterpreted

Meet the creative minds behind Bangkok's newest boutique hotel by the Chao Phraya River

Saranyu Nokkaew/Time Out Bangkok

Amdaeng is an old Thai title reserved for unmarried women. It’s so old that we no longer use it. Many of the younger generation have never even heard of it, that is until it became the name of a new boutique hotel by the Chao Phraya River in one of Bangkok’s most historical neighborhoods.

Amdaeng, however, wasn’t randomly named. The name was given to the hotel to pay respects to the woman who first owned the land the hotel stands on. “Her name was Amdaeng Klee,” explains Passapol “Lek” Limpisirisan, one of the co-owners. “The deed we received is so old—aged, in fact—and in it, it says His Majesty King Chulalongkorn had granted the rights to the land to her. We think it is more cool that we should name the hotel in her honor, a Thai who owned the property before our time. It can also trigger the younger generation in acknowledging what Amdaeng really means.”

 

Lek and his business partner/co-owner, Wiboon “Min” Leepakpreeda, are two successful advertising execs who have always dreamt of having a house by the river. They found this serene piece of riverside land and fell in love with it. But there were a few catches. First, the land was so expensive. Second, how can two families (both Lek and Min are married with two kids) equally share one piece of land? Talks and discussions led to a conclusion: they would build a hotel so both families can reside on the property—and it would also help pay the bills. That was how it all began. Two years later, Amdaeng is now ready to welcome guests.

"We think it is more cool that we should name the hotel in her honor, a Thai who owned the property before our time. It can also trigger the younger generation in acknowledging what Amdaeng really means."

Expect no less than amazing when two people from the advertising industry build a hotel. Amdaeng is no exception. “Creatively Thai” is the main theme of this ten-room hotel. An exclusively-mixed red, similar to cinnabar—the lip color preferred by ancient Thai women—was selected as the hotel’s signature shade. The color was also chosen as a playful reference to the word daeng, which means “red” in Thai. Amdaeng Klee lived during the reign of King Rama V, a time in Thai history best known for an appropriation of all things European into Thai culture. Artistic elements from the era, including Victorian “gingerbread” decorative embellishments that Lek is personally fond of, are seen all throughout the hotel.

 

 

Tall, narrow doors lead to a lobby furnished with old-style dark wooden furniture set off by mirrors and gorgeous flower arrangements. Each of the ten guestrooms is unique on its own, featuring predominantly black and white accents, a four-poster bed, a bathtub and a private balcony for taking in views of the river. On top of it all is a guests-only rooftop “grandstand” where you can enjoy elevated views of the River of Kings. “We’d like each of our visitors to be in awe from the very first step inside,” says Lek. “We would like them to recognize the artistic details that differentiate us from chain hotels. And we are sure half of Bangkokians have never seen views of Chao Phraya from where we are.”

"We’d like each of our visitors to be in awe from the very first step inside."

But you don’t need to be a hotel guest to experience all these. Sitting on the ground floor right by the river is the hotel’s only restaurant, NYE (pronounced “nai,” which is a reference to a title that means “mister” in Thai). “I like the views from NYE. Sitting there, watching the river run—it’s pure happiness,” shares Min. NYE serves up fusion-Thai dishes that focus on combining two typical Thai recipes into a new dish—for example, pork knuckle spring rolls and consommé-style tom yam koong.

Amdaeng has been on soft opening for a few months while its owners, who are always aiming for perfection and customer satisfaction, still put in touch-ups where needed. “If Amdaeng were a woman,” imagines Lek, “she would definitely be the charming, sophisticated one that awaits discovery. She might look strong and cold at first glance, but once you got to know her, you would feel her sensual nature.”

 

 

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