Traveling to Bangkok could be likened to the transition from black and white to color. The city pops in skylines that undulate between ornate temples to the heavens and the latest rooftop party pads atop design-forward feats of steel and glass. Sidewalks crowd with street peddlers selling plastic amulets blessed by monks and shoppers weighted with branded bags from Prada, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. The smell of incense and spice takes hold and suddenly you are in a swirl of possibility, a Candyland for the senses.
The Siam Experience
And that is where The Siam happens, casting certain spells on what was and what could be in an environment that is quiet and sublime enough to allow guests to take it all in.
As a celebrated urban luxury resort on the Chao Phraya River – Bangkok’s River of Kings – The Siam takes its sense of place, its sense of history and the sense of wonder that is Thailand and puts it all in one eminently experiential package.
With only 39 keys, the Siam offers a certain peaceful intimacy as each room strikes a colonial or literary vision as imagined by socialites of the last century. Those socialites would include silk tycoon/spy Jim Thompson (whose life story crescendos with his final disappearance into the jungles of Malaysia never to be seen again) and his notorious cocktail consort Connie Mangskau, once the toast of Bangkok with parties that attracted the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy, Henry Ford, John Rockefeller and Roger Moore.
The legend lives on in each room and suite filled with worldly antiques and flourishes found in the pages of Architectural Digest. It uses Thai houses initially salvaged by Thompson and Mangskau from the former Thai capital of Ayutthaya. Those historic structures were reconfigured to fit this three-acre space of prime riverfront in the royal Dusit neighborhood (the Royal Palace is around the corner) to form a restaurant, a teaching kitchen and the Siam’s top suite: Connie’s House.
The intriguing design of the Siam, at some $1.5 million per room, includes 16 Siam suites done up in Art Deco décor with interior verandahs for leisurely breakfasts and afternoon teas over the Main Residence atrium. A dozen spacious Mae Nim suites offer views of the river. Then there are the 10 villas that offer private gardens, dipping pools and open-air moon terraces. Upon request, personal butlers cater each suite. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available property-wide.
If plans call for rest and meditation, The Siam’s Opium Spa houses a yoga and meditation center — and a full array of massage and body treatments. A Muay Thai workout is accommodated in the authentic Muay Thai ring in the gym, complemented by instructors for on-the-spot lessons in strength training and weight loss. Guests may also want to immerse themselves in the 2,000-year-old tradition of Sacred Ink or Sak Yant. The Siam offers guests a tattoo retreat that will provide a permanent souvenir of their visit to Thailand.
The Tattoo Studio in The Opium Spa offers one- to three-day tattoo retreats with at Sak Yant master, and includes a visit to Watt Bangphra, a renowned tattooing temple located about an hour outside of Bangkok, where the new tattoo can be blessed by a monk. It is believed these special tattoos are magical and bestow the wearer with mystical powers, protection or good luck.
But most guests will love the lounging at The Siam. The pool and lawn provide an ageless time and place for such musings along with a front-row view of the Chao Phraya, Bangkok’s bustling river highway. The river passes by the Temple of Heaven, the chic scenes to be found at Bangkok’s latest shopping and entertainment phenom: Asiatique, the city’s many historic hotels and colonial properties and a crowded choice of shopping and dining neighborhoods. Riverboats stop at The Siam and passengers ascend the property steps for a leisurely Sunday brunch, or to sip gin & tonics over the riverfront as the sun sets.
Guests retreat to the great room at all hours to ogle antiques of their day, from valuable Lanna kingdom woodcarvings to turn-of-the-century steamer trunks. A library of oversized history, art, design and textile tomes lines the walls. All that is missing is men in white cotton suits and pith hats guiding ladies with feather chapeaus draped in ankle-length dresses.
The Siam is a member of Preferred Hotels Legends Collection and is a part of the Virtuoso collection. Rates start at THB15,223++. The property offers some tempting packages to consider, including a “stay-for-two, pay-for-one” deal for booking two nights in a luxurious, 1,400-square-foot Pool Villa with peaceful internal gardens, a private swimming pool and an open-air roof terrace. The special rate includes daily breakfast for two, butler service, a daily plate of fresh tropical fruits, and longboat shuttles to some of the city’s legendary shopping areas.
Afternoon spa packages are also available and provide the perfect day of r&r following a long trip. The package includes a 50-minute session with a personal trainer, a 60-minute massage treatment of choice, plus a Thai Set Lunch or The Siam Afternoon Tea Set for Two. The afternoon can be booked for THB6,765++ for one person or THN9,573++ for two.
The capital of Thailand is a city of amazement whether exploring the many temples and traditions in Thai massage, meditation and cooking, or its many malls.
As the only luxury resort to be located in the heart of Bangkok’s rarely seen palace and historic district Guests of The Siam can access most points of interest by foot, Siam Boat or short tuk-tuk ride. Bangkok’s Old Town, Historic District and Riverside have some of the Kingdoms finest temples, monuments, museums, restaurants, markets, galleries, shopping, temples, neighborhoods and architecture. Slow travel, is the norm here where the journey is just as important as the destination.
The Siam General Manager’s Picks:
Night Flower Market (Pak Klong Talaat) and Old Town
Bangkok comes alive by night. This is my favorite night time stroll, I go at least ONCE per week. Take the night Siam River Boat to the Memorial Phra Pokklao Bridge. Stroll through a local night market on your way to the Flower Market, a short 5-minute walk. The flower market is a feast for the senses, an experience unmatched anywhere else in the world and truly Bangkok at its best. At the end of the market your pre-arranged Tuk-Tuk can take you around the gilded radiance, solitude and beauty of the Grand Palace by night to Jae Fai restaurant to enjoy the kingdoms finest street food. From Jae Fai make your way to Banglampoo for a walk along Phra Athit road and its many walking street tributaries. Looking for a bit of a party? Take a stroll down the festival like Khao San Road, the global epicenter of backpacker hedonism. Shorts and t-shirt attire recommended.
China Town by Night
Starting from the Memorial Phra Pokklao Bridge, adventure through the bright lights and frenetic action that is Bangkok’s China Town. From the bridge walk up Chakraphet Road and then left on Yaowarat Road ending at The China Gate – Odeon Circle.
China Town by Day
For those wanting to explore deeper into this fascinating and vibrant neighborhood take a walk through the tightly packed alleyways of the Sampeng Market. Visit Klongs, Grand Palace, Emerald Buddha, Wat Arun, Wat Po (Reclining Buddha) and a floating market (weekends only).
Get an early start for this classic journey through the most famous of Bangkok’s historic sites. Your guide and long tail boat will depart from The Siam Pier at 9am.
Marble Temple, Vimanmek Teak Palace, Dusit Throne Hall and lunch at Krua Apsorn
Get an early start from The Siam by Tuk Tuk to the spectacular Marble Temple, Wat Benchamabophit. Its then just a short walk to the Dusit Throne Hall, which houses a beautiful collection of art commissioned by the Palace. Set within these park-like grounds is the Vimanmek teak palace, one of the few palaces that you can walk around in. From there walk through the royal neighborhood back to The Siam for lunch at Chon or to the legendary Krua Apsorn restaurant.
Rambutree Street, Khao San Road and Phra Athit Road
For nightlife, markets, walking streets, shopping, cafes, bars and restaurants this area is full of fun. This backpacker haven has evolved into a bustling market and nightlife destination for trendy Thai locals as well as travelers. By day, you’ll still find it great for all things backpacker, such as cheap internet, books and travel deals. Starting in the evening enjoy walking on Rambutree Street for cafes, street side cocktail bars, boutiques and shop for almost anything imaginable — including edible insects and trendy clothes. The legendary Khao San Road will satisfy the party side with an array of nightclubs and street parties that never seem to end. All of this is just a 10-minute boat ride from The Siam and a 5-minute tuk tuk to get home.
GM Tips for Guests of The Siam
- Don’t overload your schedule.
- Mornings and evenings are best for exploring the neighborhood and the middle of the day is best spent in The Opium Spa, poolside or perhaps taking Muay Thai lessons in The Siam’s kick boxing gym .
- Stay out of taxis and use The Siam River Boat to access points of interest along the river. The boat runs on a fixed schedule and can drop off and pick-up guests anywhere along its route. Once you arrive at The Siam you never need to get into a car until you leave The Siam.
Ask questions: most people don’t know about the riches of Old Bangkok so let us help you plan. That’s what we are here for.
Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.
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