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The Siam, Bangkok

THE SIAM, BANGKOK

Up to now many of the best Bangkok hotels have been vast, corporate luxury hotels. And while they might be among the best in the world at what they do, sometimes you want something a bit more intimate. To that end, you could do much, much worse than the Siam Hotel, a family-owned, Bill Bensley–designed luxury boutique that comprises just 39 suites and villas right on the banks of the Chao Praya river.

The family in question isn’t just any family of hospitality newbies, it’s the Sukosols, a multi-generational group of musicians and entertainers who somehow find time to run some excellent hotels as a collaborative effort. They’re clearly no strangers to high-end hospitality, and what they’ve learned on their travels is very much on display here.

To wit: they’re well aware that physical comfort is one thing, but character is paramount. The Siam is a throwback to Bangkok’s Art Deco period, a richly detailed reconstruction full of vintage and antique furniture and copious references to the colonial era. It’s all about texture these days, as the minimalist hotel trend has truly run its course.

And when they do turn their eye to comfort, they hit the mark. Here the entry-level suite spans some 80 square meters and is lavishly outfitted with overstuffed furnishings and indulgent bathrooms, and come complete with butler service. From there the bigger suites grow almost comically large, and the villas — to say nothing of Connie’s Cottage, the century-old flagship residence — are as extravagant as anything you’ll find in town.

The location, too, marks the Siam as something of an outlier. This riverside spot is quiet, and just a touch isolated — but that, presumably, is why you’re here. The hotel’s own riverboat connects guests with the city center, and there’s more than enough to do in-house, if you can’t be bothered to roust yourself; offerings include a handful of fine bars and restaurants, the Opium Spa, and what’s billed as the first Muay Thai kickboxing gym in the city (and thus, probably, the world). The Siam, Bangkok is 44 minutes away (30.9 Kms) from Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok under Standard Traffic conditions.

Numbers of Rooms: 39