The Kingdom of Ayutthaya, once the capital of Thailand, is world-known for its time-worn Sukhothai and Khymer-influenced temples, palaces and stupas. Dozens of breathtaking ruins are strewn across the modern city, telling of its rich history, thriving trade and art. The city flourished from the 14th to the 18th centuries, becoming one of the world’s largest urban areas.
Ayutthaya is located on an island surrounded by the Chao Phraya, Pa Sak and Lopburi rivers which connect the city to the sea. In 1767, the Burmese army burned the city to the ground forcing its inhabitants to flee. The city was never restored, and the capital was moved some 80 kilometres south to become the vibrant city of Bangkok. UNESCO has granted the remaining restored ruins protection and World Heritage status.
The city resembles a miniature Angkor Wat with its Khmer-style stupas or prangs adorned with statues of the legendary bird-like god, Garuda, towering over ruined temples and courtyards of chedis once used by Thailand’s royalty and courtiers. A sense of magic and romance encircles the city, making it idyllic for starry-eyed soirees.
Nestled on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Sala Ayutthaya is an intimate oasis that showcases Thailand’s rich history and cultural heritage. The intimate and contemporary boutique hotel overlooks the world-recognised Wat Phutthaisawan, which lies at the very heart of the enchanting UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. The hotel is postcard-worthy and ideal for small-scale weddings with just 27 rooms and suites and Eatery, a romantically exquisite riverside restaurant and bar.
Dine al fresco on the terrace with delicious plates handcrafted by award-winning chefs using seasonal local produce. River-to-table dishes include yam som-o with Ayutthaya river prawns, local pomelo, sweetcorn, crispy Thai shallots and toasted coconut or local Ayutthaya catfish with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and hot basil. Ingredients are sourced from local farmers to ensure freshness and support their livelihoods.
Sala Ayutthaya has an inimitable range of wedding offerings, including Thai pouring or monk ceremonies. The traditional ceremonies are befitting of the breathtaking location. Adventurous parties can peacefully explore the meandering network of rivers cocooning the city before returning to the hotel for a lavish wedding breakfast and after-party celebration.
Most rooms and suites afford guests views across the hotel’s manicured gardens and the river. The thoughtful interiors are simple, giving centre stage to the views; white walls and exposed brick, deliciously soft bedding and private decks, terraces or pools afford guests the ultimate comfort.
Sala Ayutthaya is part of the Sala Hospitality Group. The company continuously develops new environmental initiatives to minimise their ecological impact with core values of sustainability, local sensibility and boutique luxury experiences. The hotels strive to replace all single-use plastic bottles and straws with sustainable and ethical alternatives. Sala Ayutthaya has adopted energy-saving efficiencies such as inverter air-conditioning, LED lighting, and strict recycling policies. Sala Ayutthaya forms part of Sala Boutique, a collection of small, intimate residences with fresh, uncomplicated and warm Thai hospitality, enticing local culinary creations and attractive, comfortable sleeping accommodation.
Katie Hollamby is a well-travelled public relations specialist turned writer for various international publications, tourism boards and ethical brands. Originally from the UK, she’s worked around the world, lived in and explored North America, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Maldives and now Thailand. She’s passionate about the welfare of animals and sustainability. For more adventures, you can follow her on Instagram @thekatybooks.