Taking up a prime three acres on the Chao Praya River, The Siam Hotel is located in the royal district of Dusit, which is also the cultural and spiritual hub of Bangkok. Part of family-run Sukosol Hotels group, the land on which The Siam is built has been in the family’s possession for almost 50 years. When the lease of the previous seafood restaurant tenant ended, Krissada Sukosol Klapp (Founder & Director) set out to create the Siam with acclaimed architect and interior/landscape designer Bill Bensley at his side, at the drawing board eight years ago.
What they have crafted is a lush and visually stunning retreat that invokes the soft grandeur of King Rama V’s reign (1853-1910). Once you walk up the steps and pass through the main entrance, the most eye-catching feature in the lobby is the lotus-like fountain set in a small courtyard with patio furniture and accented with green leafy ferns. The elegant combination of a muted colour scheme of black, white, cream, grey and neutrals, and natural textures like wood, weave, leather and stone, follows throughout the property, as we noticed on the way to the Mae Nam Suite on the second floor of the Private Residence.
With just 39 rooms over six categories – the smallest being the Siam Suite at 80 square metres (860 square feet) – The Siam is definitely no large tourist trap. The doors to the rooms might require some finagling to get used to it (there’s a lot of counter intuitive pushing and pulling on our art), but if you stand fast, you’ll be rewarded with a lovely nest featuring high ceilings, a super-sized king bed, and an aesthetic inspired by turn of the century oriental artwork and antiquities.
The passageway into the suite futures wooden flooring and a black grid of mirrors, creating a slightly psychedelic effect – not in a bad way, because it seemed to be transporting us into yet another world. Sporting a view of the hotel’s verdant gardens, the Mae Nam Suite is a rectangular space of 90 square metres (970 square feet). The bedroom is bookended by an airy, light-filled living space that makes you want to curl up with a good book and a spacious bathroom boasting a double vanity, a tub big enough for two, and separate shower and toilet facilities.
The folks at The Siam rightly put the complimentary tea and coffee facilities by the living room, while those who enjoy their hot showers can be assured that the shower in the black-and-white Art Deco tiled bathroom has decent pressure. The spacious bathroom makes getting ready in the morning a pleasure, not something I can say of many hotels that I’ve stayed at.
Regrettably, we only had one night in that restorative bed and one soak in that curative tub, so we spent most of our time enjoying the room as well as absorbing the atmosphere of the small garden and the interesting sitting room with a piano on the third floor.
All stays at The Siam includes complimentary boat service between the hotel and Saphan Takin pier, hotel-wide Wi-Fi (it works well enough), butler service (which we didn’t get to use with a less than 24-hour stay) and breakfast at Deco Bar & Bistro. As people who love food, a good breakfast is definitely a huge incentive for us to return,
Though small, the continental buffet set up in the restaurant covers all bases and the main plates cooked a la minute, also run the gamut of western breakfast classics to Thai staples and innovative fusion dishes. The pork rice porridge was savoury but not over spiced and harbouring tender minced meat – each spoonful was a delight. The idea behind the Chon Omelette was good on paper: white prawns, crab meat, corn and coriander enveloped in egg. Served with bacon, spinach and tomatoes, the white prawns didn’t have a crunch the omelette badly needed and the morsels of crab lacked flavour, but the egg itself did have a lovely, fluffy texture.
If you want the best of both worlds in Bangkok – the vibrant cosmopolitan city vibes and a tranquil space that doesn’t compromise on style and offers you a private pier for a stroll – you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more suitable hotel than The Siam. What’s more, if you’re a history geek with money to spend, why not spend the night in Connie’s Cottage, a century-oil traditional Thai teak house from the Jim Thompson estate that the owners painstakingly broke down and rebuilt at The Siam? More stories await.
The Siam Hotel is located at Khao Rd, Khwaeng Wachira Phayaban, Khet Dusit, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10300, Thailand, +66 2 206 6999.