Editor’s note: There is building work being carried out next to the hotel. Whilst disturbance is minimal, noise can be heard intermittently, in particular from the pool area overlooking the Chao Phraya River. Building work ceases between 6pm and 9am.
When it comes to luxury hotels, Bangkok has lots to offer. All the big names are here, and given the red-hot competition, many deliver reasonably priced and outstanding hotel experiences. The art of hotel one-upmanship is well and truly alive in Asia. But here resides one small, somewhat unknown newcomer in a location that – as “royal” as it is – isn’t central. It punches far above its weight in a city heavily laden with “stars”.
This is a true boutique hotel, with 39 rooms and lush gardens all around. Divided into two sections, the main building has three suite categories, Siam, Mae Nam, and River View (the latter being the biggest). Much closer to the riverside are the three villa categories, Villa Courtyard, Villa Riverview, and Connie’s Villa (again, in ascending order). Important to note is that the river views are never dramatic, so my advice is to select a room based on the size you need.
What makes this hotel so special is the Sukosol family’s approach to hospitality and the guest experience. That, and Krissada Sukosol’s incredible attention to detail, eye for design, it must be said, access to the family’s exceptional collection of priceless Asian artefacts, unique memorabilia and museum-quality artwork. The result is an intelligent, thought-provoking, truly personal and luxurious hotel experience.
There’s an unwavering passion here for creating a faultless guest experience, with super-slick management, exceptional staff, high-tech gadgets and a magical Thai atmosphere. The team will do their utmost to make sure your stay is memorable in every way. And that’s what true luxury is about, after all.
On the banks of the Chao Phraya river, the hotel is a 40-minute boat ride from downtown Bangkok. But don’t let this put you off; it’s a true urban oasis in what is a very busy (and often chaotic) city. After a few hours, the suburb of Dusit will have won you over. It’s said that the Crown Prince lives just a few doors down from the hotel; you never know who you’ll run into…
- Daily breakfast for two
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Subject to availability
- Food & Beverage credit
- US$100 or equivalent credit to be used during your stay
- Early check-in / Late check-out
- Subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Exclusive benefits may vary by hotel or hotel group. Exclusive benefits apply when booking the Best Available Rate and are not combinable with any hotel offers or special packages unless stated.
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You can, of course, reach The Siam by car. However, I chose a much more exciting route and avoided the traffic by using the hotel’s luxury riverboat, departing from its downtown pier. I enjoyed viewing the bustling life along the banks of the river as the trip progressed. Arriving at the dock, I was met by the general manager, whose personality matches the exacting and dynamic standards of the hotel.
Rooms and suites
I guess I wasn’t prepared for something so exquisitely wonderful. The Siam, in fact, has only suites – 28 in total. My home for the next few days was a Mae Nam Suite, and from the moment I entered, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the attention to detail.
At 90sq m (969sq ft), the suites are huge. The soaring ceilings add to the feeling of space, and daylight floods in through multiple sets of full-length windows. At the entrance a mirrored hallway leads you into what is essentially a vast space that’s divided into the bathroom/dressing, sleeping and living area. Each section of the room is beautifully and clearly defined with partitions of furniture.
On the traditional side, the floors are stunning polished teak, and there are many gorgeous antique furniture pieces in all the rooms. By way of contrast, there are contemporary items as well, and splashes of sophisticated, bold colours and chic accessories all around. It’s all painstakingly executed. Even the lighting is special: every light fitting in every suite is different.
Not surprisingly, the bed was so large that it could sleep four very comfortably. The living area consisted of a couch, a large coffee table and two comfortable chairs. There was also a mini-bar with an extensive choice of goodies.
In-room technology was excellent, although my only (very small) complaint was that the television (on a pivoting platform so it could serve both the bedroom and living-room area) could have been larger. I love an oversized screen, especially when lying in bed. In this case it was quite a distance away.
One excellent feature of this suite was the air-conditioning. Often in such large, open spaces the a/c doesn’t quite cut it. Not so here, as no matter what part of the suite I was in, the temperature was perfect.
In-room wi-fi speeds were excellent, as throughout the public areas.
More a private spa than a bathroom, this serene space is very relaxing. Again, the owner’s exceptional attention to detail shines through. There are all the usual, luxury items one expects, such as twin basins, a large vanity, a huge walk-in shower and a separate WC. But what really grabbed me was the sheer space and the myriad detail. There was an egg-shaped bathtub floating on the polished wooden floor, hand-beaten chrome basins and fittings that shone like a small galaxy of stars. Even the artwork in the bathroom was interesting and unique. I seemed always to be making up excuses for yet another shower, or a long soak in the tub.
Toiletries (in large pump bottles) were the hotel’s own brand and, like everything else in these suites, the best there is.
The hotel’s Chon Thai Restaurant is in an open-air building (there is also an indoor part for those who cannot live without air-conditioning) and serves food that will take you to another dimension. Chef Damri Muksombat is quite the culinary genius, taking what is essentially Thai home cooking and turning the volume way up. His contemporary twist on traditional dishes, combined with his unique pairings of ingredients will, quite simply, send your taste buds into orbit, for all the right reasons.
My starters of spicy, deep-fried sea bass and a lemongrass salad with fresh chillies and mint were delicious and moreish. To follow, I went with the heavenly slow-cooked Australian beef short ribs, cooked for eight hours and served with grilled pineapple and a tamarind sauce. Frankly, I suspect you can’t go wrong with any choice on this menu, so perfect are these dishes.
Other restaurant options
Unfortunately, I struck out on some of the eating and drinking options in the hotel. The very popular Café Cha was undergoing a facelift during my stay, so I had to pass on the renowned cakes and snacks (probably a good thing). I did, however, peek into the stunning Deco Bar – again, an incredibly eclectic collection of art and artefacts are displayed here, courtesy of the owner’s family collection. Sadly, however, a taste test of the cocktail offerings wasn’t to be, as the country was celebrating a religious holiday that meant serving alcohol was prohibited for two days – very bad timing on my part. I could, luckily, have a drink in my room.
If, after all the exceptional Thai food on offer, you have room for breakfast, a rather wonderful spread is served in the Deco Bistro each morning, accompanied by very friendly service.
Spa and wellness
The intoxicatingly named Opium Spa is one of the many jewels in The Siam’s glittering crown. For spa aficionados, this place borders on nirvana. Occupying (along with the gym and a Thai boxing ring) what appears to be most of the ground floor of the hotel, the stunningly designed space will impress. With many treatment rooms, the spa features an exclusive range of Sodashi therapies and a wide range of massages, body treatments and facials. Splash out and sign up for a multi-day spa package individually designed for your specific needs – the ultimate indulgence.
The Siam has a full-on boxing ring and specialises in the Thai national sport of Muay Thai (Thai boxing). You can even sign up for a full-day tailored programme with the hotel’s coach – not for the faint-hearted.
Pool and beach
Set amid contemporary landscaping right on the banks of the river, the hotel’s ever-so-chic lap pool is the perfect place to swim and soak up some rays. Super-comfortable sun loungers are set up on a grassy area, where pool service, like everything else in this hotel, borders on faultless.
Of course, almost every hotel quite understandably welcomes families, with greater or lesser success. Although this is ‘grown-up’ territory, I witnessed the staff going out of their way to entertain and engage the few kids who were staying. They literally took over in several instances.
So bring your children; there’s no club or special activities but after a day packed with sightseeing and an hour or two playing in the pool, they won’t need one. In case of rain there’s a movie theatre that can be booked with a nanny service. And babysitting is readily available, as are meals for all ages, to suit all tastes.
Staff and service
Almost without exception, there is a gentleness and sweetness to the service that is unique to Thailand. And here at The Siam it comes combined with professionalism and text-book efficiency. Kudos to the management for the excellent training, but more importantly for inspiring the team to deliver exceptional service.
My fellow guests were a United Nations of culture vultures, fashionistas, musicians, global nomads and stylish, local couples on a weekend break. In the evenings, on the hotel’s candlelit floating pier, could be heard a soft mosaic of various languages.
An early-morning flight departure meant that my butler wasn’t at work, but as I emerged from my suite, a hotel security guard was quietly waiting to give me a hand. Smiling, he took my suitcase and had it stowed in my waiting car while I settled the bill.
How to get here
40 minutes by road transfer from Bangkok International Airport
39 Rooms & Suites