The hot, fast paced streets of central Bangkok can be a demanding place for the uninitiated and experienced traveler alike. A wonderful cacophony of sights, sounds and smells can have you spinning around in all directions, so to enter the shady courtyard lobby of the Siam is to find genuine sanctuary, where old school meets new world in true sophistication.
Its a hard task to impress us when it comes to hotels, but in all honesty, it’s very difficult not to sound sycophantic when describing this exemplary example of 21st century hospitality. The charismatic hotel manager and ecologist Jason Friedman, working closely with the owners – the Sukosol family, has created a very special combination of attention to detail and sheer good old fashioned service.
Set on the banks of the river in the historic Dusit area filled with Bangkok’s awe-inspiring temples, this is a great base for those wanting to immerse themselves in Thai culture rather than the tourist markets and malls.
But it’s equally a great place to relax and recharge – in the spa and hammam, or working out in the seriously equipped gymnasium, complete with its own Thai boxing ring, perusing the museum-quality antiquities, reading in the art deco library, enjoying one-on-one Thai cookery classes or simply sitting in your very own pool villa.
Design-wise, the hotel hits all the right notes – mixing art deco themes in a colonial style with traditional Thai.
The result is a series of beautiful, airy communal spaces and generously proportioned accommodation. Despite only being a few months old, the Siam feels like it has been around for decades. I don’t think it’s too much to say that the Siam has been created with love and that comes through on every level. From the respectful, but friendly staff, to the liberal use of the owners’ impressive collection of antiques. Due to its limited number of 38 accommodations, the Siam is guaranteed never to feel crowded and retains its home-from-home personal atmosphere. If we were to pick at anything, it would have to be the lack of air conditioning in the main atrium and the number of mosquitos – a very small price to pay and soon forgotten.