When I was planning my visit to the UNESCO World Heritage temples of Ayutthaya in Thailand, I decided I wanted to stay in this historical city despite being just an hour’s drive from Bangkok in order to beat the crowds and be able to explore early in the morning. It was most fortunate that I found Iudia on the River, one of Ayutthaya’s boutique options, for that one night stay. The town doesn’t have much in terms of chain hotels, and one’s best bet for a pleasurable stay would be with guesthouses or boutique properties that won’t break the bank.
Officially called Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, the town sits in an island and used to be the fortified capital of the Ayutthaya kingdom (Siam). Today, it is a fine example of the old and new. It is a functioning city by every sense of the word, with random temple ruins standing side-by-side modern buildings. Iudia on the River is located at the southern part of the island and separated from the mainland by the Chao Phraya river.
antiques lining the entrance to the lobby
Entering the property for the first time, it’s very apparent how much they take the boutique property to heart. Although it’s officially referred to as a “serviced accommodation,” I found none of the impersonal feel that I usually get in serviced residences. The airy lobby was lined with books and antiques, giving the whole place a refined and scholarly theme. This is no surprise as the owners are writers themselves who have published several books on Thai history and antiquities. I was told that they started Iudia on the River as a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, where they could spend the time to write their books with the inspiring temples of Ayutthaya within view.
open area in the hotel – a nice place to unwind after a tiring day out in the temples
Even the rooms give off a pedagogic feel. 13 rooms of varying styles – each named after a famous explorer – are available here at Iudia on the River. My room key referred to my lodging for the night as the “Sheikh Ahmad” room and I was quickly shown by one of the cheerful staff to my private quarters. On the way, I passed by the swimming pool which dramatically faces one of the temples.
my spacious room!
One of the downsides I often experience with boutique properties is that the rooms are usually on a smaller scale. This was the total opposite at Iudia on the River. My room was humongous! It also had a high ceiling, which complimented the size. The room itself has a good view of one of the temples just across the river which served to heighten the atmosphere of being in Ayutthaya.
modern amenities in an old-world type of setting
In keeping with my room’s name, there was a distinct Middle Eastern vibe in my living quarters. The walls were painted in yellow, there was a hookah on the desk and the entrance featured an arched passageway. There was obviously a lot of work done in the designing of each room and it got me curious to see what the other rooms looked like.
The room had a separate dressing area, where the well-stocked and moderately-priced minibar was found. The property also provided extra amenities such as tea maker, a fine selection of teabags and complimentary 2 bottles of water.
Beyond the dressing area was the bathroom, which had a similar Middle Eastern vibe. There were numerous wall hangers – a good thing as I note that many hotels don’t get this right anymore. My bathroom came with a bathtub and was well-stocked with toiletries.
All stays in Iudia on the River come with breakfast and I had mine in the cafe. The American breakfast was a simple but filling affair consisting of fruits, yogurt, bread, bacon, eggs, sausages and a piece of nugget. It was a great energy booster for a day out in the temples.
The hotel stay also came with free bicycle rentals which I availed of when I explored the nearby temples.
All in all, I tremendously enjoyed my unique stay in Iudia on the River. I must say that I’ve never stayed in a place like this before. This is a one-of-a-kind property in the every sense of the word – from the pool facing the temples to the guest rooms that differed from one another. It’s a great place to stay in if your purpose of coming to Ayutthaya is to leave the fast-paced life in Bangkok and spend some quiet time while exploring the awe-inspiring temples in Ayutthaya.
Iudia on the River
11-12 U-Tong Road, Moo 4, Pratuchai, Ayutthaya 13000 Thailand
Tel : +66 (0) 8 6080 1888, +66 (0) 3532 3208
My stay at Iudia on the River was sponsored by the property. However, all opinions are my own.