The sublime Siam

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Bangkok is often referred to as a low-budget destination. Unless you decide to stay at The Siam, which certainly has to be one of Asia’s most superlative hotels. This magnificent urban retreat is located on the city side of the Chao Phraya River in the royal neighbourhood of Dusit, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Bangkok.

The Siam Hotel was purpose-built three years to house the priceless antiques and artefacts collected by the Sukosols, a famous and benevolent Thai family, who had collected them over numerous generations.

Bill Bensley, the internationally renowned architect and designer, who has been named as one of the world’s top 100 most creative people, was appointed to manage the project. Inspiration for The Siam was primarily drawn from the Paris Musée d’Orsay, while also reflecting the period of Bangkok’s greatest grandeur under Kin Ram V.

On entering The Siam, you feel the warmth of a private residence with a modest entrance and smallish understated reception area. However, once exploring deeper inside the property, you are confronted by a hugely impressive atrium, filled with gargantuan palm trees imported from Madagascar, which form the most unique greenhouse atmosphere that leaves you gazing in sheer wonderment.

There are 120 immaculately mannered and presented staff servicing only 39 guest rooms, including some of the largest available in Bangkok, and the city’s only available pool villas. Attending to every whim of its guests is the ethos of this establishment, with guests being assigned a butler on arrival to help them with everything they may need during their stay.

There is an art-deco theme in neutral tones and natural textures running through The Siam, creating an organic ambience, fusing with the magnificent landscaping both to the interior and exterior of the property.
Guest rooms are magnificently and tastefully decorated, incorporating a lounge area, a stunning master suite with a super king sized bed and the highest ceilings imaginable, and a luxuriously equipped bathroom with a roll top bath, a separate shower room and individual sink areas.

The Siam’s general manager, Jason Friedman, has written a terrifically informative Bangkok guide, which lists places of interest, sharing insider information on places of interest that are frequented by the locals. Numerous restaurants listed are local to the hotel and are of a particularly high standard without being touristy or over-priced.

The hugely impressive range of facilities at The Siam Hotel includes a library filled with rare books, a 1920’s style cinema room, a cookery school, a Thai boxing ring, an art gallery, and a tattoo studio. The former Buddhist monk, Arjan Boo, practises the ancient art of creating Thai religious tattoos for guests requesting the service.

The infinity pool and the surrounding pool area are sublime. The extra long pool runs parallel with the Chao Phraya River, providing beautiful riverside views which you can admire while swimming lengths in the warm water. And as you emerge from the pool, an observant member of staff will be waiting with a towel and a glass of iced water in hand.

The Executive Chef, Damri Muksombat, is able to create a dinner menu to suit your culinary preferences, personally selecting the most perfect, fresh and delicious ingredients in the market and then creating the most awesome feast imaginable, with everything explained between each course.

Eateries at The Siam include the Deco Bar and Bistro, which is the main all-day restaurant; Chun, an authentic Thai restaurant serving typical local dishes; and Café Cha, the coffee shop at the front of the hotel which is open to non-residents.

The Siam runs a complimentary boat shuttle along the Chao Phraya River, dropping off and picking up guests at different points across the different districts off Bangkok. But this is no ordinary boat shuttle – it’s more of a luxury speedboat, with beautiful leather trimmed seating and the shiniest walnut veneer trim.

And indeed this is no ordinary hotel. As a luxury urban retreat, The Siam is as good as it gets and is most certainly worth blowing the budget for.

by Amanda Bernstein

The Siam 3/2 Thanon Khao, Vachirapayabal, Dusit, Bangkok 10300, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2206-6999 Fax: +66 (0) 2206-6998

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Glass Travel Editor

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