A trip to Bangkok usually insinuates a somewhat decadent holiday; the pulsating nightlife, the extensive shopping, it has all the ingredients for a pretty indulgent getaway. But across the Chao Praya River sits a very different aspect of Bangkok, one that allows for a more tranquil experience, presenting a picture of art and culture.
It is there that The Siam is located and like the name suggests the hotel is designed to take you back in time, to a bygone era. Conceived by creative director Krissada Sukosol Clapp, with architect Bill Besner – one of Architectural Digest’s Top 100 Designers and Most Creative People – The Siam is designed to reflect the grandeur of Bangkok under King Rama V but with Art Deco accents.
For frequent travellers, stepping into the hotel is a different experience altogether as one doesn’t get the impression that you are in a hotel but staying at a luxurious property which belongs to an extremely wealthy friend and you just happened to have the good fortune of being invited to spend a couple of nights there.
These aren’t rooms in which you are spending the night but lush suites and villas. Upon arrival, I was escorted to the Mae Nam Suite, just one of six that are available at the hotel. Within the suite, there is no generic décor as antique furniture and original artwork give the room character. The best part of the suites – and it is how I usually judge hotels - was the bathroom. It had a freestanding bathtub as well as walk-in shower amidst a vast space that could pass of a room in itself. It also offered stunning views over the hotel grounds with glimpses of river life.
In total, The Siam has 39 villa and suites spread throughout the property, each with a theme that is derived from historic events. The prized location is, however, said to be Connie’s Cottage. It is said that the century old house was brought by boat to Bangkok from Ayutthaya by antique collector Connie Mangskau and Jim Thompson. Adding to this almost mythical property is the teak restaurant, Chon - once a cluster of 100-year-old private residences that once served the likes of Henry Ford, Jackie Kennedy and Roger Moore.
At The Siam, the river is the centre of all activity. It is through the river boat that one heads to different locations. I initially boarded the boat heading to towards Silom Road, a ride that will take about 20 minutes when the guide pointed the antique “mall” and the flower market as we made our way down to the river, both quite fascinating and different ways to enjoy Bangkok.
But while it seems like it was all quaint and charming, there are also an array of contemporary amenities that complement the old world charm of The Siam. A bar, café, spa, gym, yoga terrace, Muay Thai boxing ring, beauty salon, library/cinema, infinity pool, gift/antiques gallery are just some of what’s available there.
In that environment, a spa treatment is a must and at the Opium Spa, treatment like no other are available. Exclusive Sodashi therapies and spa products that not only regenerate the skin but also impart a profound sense of wellbeing to spirit and mind are used for rejuvenation. Unparalleled in performance and purity, Sodashi employs only the finest ethically-sourced essential oils and plant actives to visibly heal and nurture. That’s what a real holiday should feel like.