The Siam Hotel, Bangkok: A magical fairy-tale moment in a concrete jungle
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The Siam Hotel, Bangkok: A magical fairy-tale moment in a concrete jungle

YOU may prefer to stay in the city center when booking a stay in Bangkok. That’s where most of the action is, after all. But even if only for one night, a stay at The Siam Hotel along the Chao Phraya River will turn out to be the treat you didn’t know you needed.

If you want to truly drop everything and feel taken care of in an “urban luxury resort”, The Siam runs the luxury game like a pro. Down to the last detail, it’s an operation that seems to exude an immense display of elegance and grace, even when faced with the national tragedy of the beloved king’s death.

The exterior of the main residence

The hotel is located along the city side of the river, so while it’s secluded from the city buzz, you’re not completely shut off from it either. A trip to the city can be pre-arranged by the hotel via complimentary boat rides, or if you’re in a pinch, a taxi out can also be organized.

But really, once checked in, you’ll find little reason to leave. Yes, the Grand Palace is only 15 minutes away, Krua Apsorn (only one of the best casual restaurants in Bangkok) is a short boat ride away, and the Dusit Zoo is a short drive out, but realistically, you won’t peel away from a property this sumptuous.

The Pool Villa Courtyard room, complete with a private pool and open-air roof terrace

All 39 rooms in the property are suites, and the entry-level Siam Suite is an 80-square-meter space featuring a (tremendously plush) king-sized bed, double wardrobes, separate walk-in showers, an area dedicated to a marble bathtub, stylish his-and-her sinks, and a living room equipped with a couch set and a well-stocked minibar.

One of the best things about The Siam is the compound it sits on, whose landscape is visualized by celebrated architect Bill Bensley. Walls, corners, and walkways are riddled with art deco influences and an incredibly beautiful range of antiques purchased from the owners from their travels the world over.

The hotel’s lobby and communal areas are decked with antiques

Walking from the hotel’s lobby through the long, quixotic hallways is a continuous display of vintage medicine cabinets, ornate console tables, oriental-inspired vases, and dreamy hanging ferns. If you want to bring home a taste of it, the in-house souvenir shop is a treasure trove of unique trinkets and gifts.

The feature I most like is a column of tall palm trees, its large, flat leaves propped majestically upright, and its emerald green stalks reflecting on the still waters below come sunset. It’s rare to come across an indoor plant feature this striking, in a hotel or otherwise.

The majestic palm tree feature

The visual feast continues outdoors with immaculately manicured lawns and park benches, instantly transporting you to the set of a period drama, or a Lewis Carroll adventure. To immerse yourself in the romance, book a night at Connie’s Cottage, a century-old house carried by boat to the compound from the ancient capital of Ayutthaya.

It’s not a review of The Siam without crediting the good folks who run the show – the staff. From the get go, every guest gets a personal butler who will bring you on a mini tour of the compound, offer recommendations, make bookings, rush over with chilled beverages as soon as you’re seen exposed to sun, and print out area maps before you head out.

The infinity pool overlooking the Chao Phraya River

Some hotels are satisfactory in that they tick all the right boxes. Other hotels stick in your mind long after you’ve left, making you yearn to return. The Siam Hotel falls in the latter group.