Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.
I recently enjoyed a phenomenal holiday in Singapore & Thailand. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Swiss Boeing 777 Business Class from Zürich to Singapore
- Review: Fullerton Bay Hotel, Singapore
- Review: Six Senses Duxton & Maxwell, Singapore
- Review: Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 Business Class from Singapore to Phuket
- Review: Keemala Resort Phuket, Thailand
- Review: Rosewood Phuket, Thailand
- Review: Thai Airways Boeing 747 First Class from Phuket to Bangkok
- Review: The Siam Hotel Bangkok, Thailand (today)
- Review: Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Thailand
- Review: AMAZING Soneva Kiri, Thailand
- Review: Asia’s largest holiday villa at Soneva Kiri, Thailand
- Review: Eva Air Boeing 777 Business Class from Bangkok to London
Today (March 11, 2020): Review of The Siam Hotel, Bangkok (Thailand).
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: The Siam Hotel, Bangkok
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
Set on three acres of verdant frontage along the Chao Phraya River, The Siam is a private 39-room luxury retreat located in Bangkok’s royal Dusit district. Designed by internationally acclaimed architect Bill Bensley, the Art Deco inspired, Thai antique infused masterpiece is the kingdom’s premier urban resort. Guests have an array of superlative amenities at their fingertips: restaurants, cooking school, bar, café, spa, gym yoga terrace, Muay Thai boxing ring, beauty salon, library, cinema, infinity pool, gift & antiques gallery, conservatory and traditional Thai houses.
The Siam Hotel Bangkok also features in my top 10 lists of the best hotels in Bangkok, the best hotels in Thailand, the world’s best city hotels and the world’s best urban resorts.
Have you ever stayed at The Siam Hotel Bangkok? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- The Siam enjoys a picturesque location on the Bangkok side of the Chao Praya River, at the base of Krung Thon Bridge in the historical Dusit district. Widely known as one of Bangkok’s most coveted areas, this area is home to all of the city’s must-see cultural sights (e.g. temples, museums, royal palace, and zoo). Hotel guests can get just about anywhere in the area by making use of the hotel’s complimentary river boat shuttle (which doubles as a luxury cruise and goes as far as the BTS Skytrain at Saphan Taksin Bridge, just 30 minutes away). Suvarnabhumi International Airport is reached in a smooth 45-minute limousine ride.
- The Siam was conceived by celebrity Krissada Sukosol Clapp, together with globally acclaimed architect Bill Bensley. When Krissada inherited a piece of prime riverside land, he instantly wanted to build a hotel there to house his collection of antiques. Knowing the property had to stand out, he brought Bill Bensley on board. The stunning design reflects the period of Bangkok’s greatest grandeur, under King Rama V (circa 1853-1910), with Art Deco accents. A muted colour scheme of black, white, cream, grey and neutrals has been combined with natural textures such as wood, weave, leather and stone, not to mention sprawling gardens and verdant shrubs throughout.
- Located under a glass pyramid, the hotel’s stunning courtyard lobby has a fountain at its heart and features black & white marble checkered floors as well as an exquisite collection of museum worthy antiques. The galleries surrounding the fountain house the reception area, a curio shop, and a lovely cafe with outdoor terrace. From the reception, a light-filled indoor bridge leads a breathtaking, three stories high atrium with water pond, filled with soaring banana palms and hanging ferns. This atrium houses most suites, a retro cinema room, a library full of wonders, a gym with it’s own boxing ring, and an excellent spa in the basement (more on that below).
- The individually designed suites at the Siam are amongst the largest in city, all outfitted with plush furnishings and lofty ceilings. During my holiday, I stayed in a suite in the main atrium building, which featured an art deco salon, a separate bedroom with supersized king bed, and an opulent bathroom equipped with his & her vanities, shower & toilet cubicles, and a gorgeous stand alone bathtub. The room was decorated with original turn of the century oriental artwork, heavy dark wood furniture and giant bronze ceiling fan. Note that higher room categories also come with colonial verandahs and/or river views.
- Besides 28 suites, The Siam also features 10 intimately private pool villas which bask in either Thai, Chinese or Colonial surrounds. Every villa is awash with lush internal gardens and represents an oasis within a sanctuary, with a private swimming pool and open-air roof terrace. Inside, these villas feature art-deco inspired bedrooms most amazing bathrooms. The property’s most unique (and expensive) accommodation is Connie’s Cottage, a century-old traditional Thai teak house (chosen by the well known American Silk tycoon, Jim Thompson for his best friend, Connie Mangskau) that has been transformed into a rustic pool cottage.
- Even though The Siam is located right in the city, it is a tranquil retreat that feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. This is especially true for the property’s serene riverside garden, of which one part is reserved for the hotel’s dining venue (more on that below) and the other part for the beautiful pool area. To energize after a day of exhausting business meetings or to simply refresh after sightseeing and shopping, guests can take a dip in the 22 x 3,5 m (72 x 11 ft) infinity pool, which overlooks the Chao Phraya, River of Kings. There’s also a small bar along the pool that serves drinks and fingerfoods.
- Located in the basement of the main building, the award-winning Opium Spa provides a haven for relaxation of the body and mind. Guests can choose massage therapies using chemical-free Sodashi products or indulge in tailored multi-day spa packages that are supervised by internationally renowned wellness experts. Guests can also receive a ‘sak yant’ at the spa – a sacred Thai tattoo steeped in Buddhist and Hindu traditions. One floor above, on the lobby level, there’s a fully equipped gym, featuring state-of-the-art fitness equipment and a Muay Thai boxing ring, alongside vintage sports posters and leather punching bags.
- The Siam offers an excellent culinary experience in a serene riverfront setting. Guests can choose from several restaurants, bars and cafes;
- Chon Thai Restaurant is set by the banks of the Chao Praya within a cluster of three, century-old Thai teakwood houses. It serves traditional, home-cooked Thai cuisine (guests can also select meals from the western restaurant, cf below).
- Deco Bar & Bistro is located directly behind Chon Thai Restaurant, and offers a great selection of international comfort cuisine, inspired by the jazzy ambiance and Art Deco interiors. Breakfast is also served at this venue, and comprises a rather modest buffet, complemented by an extensive menu with eggs, waffles, pancakes, and local dishes.
- The hotel’s beautiful, fixed wooden deck and floating pontoon is the best location for a pre-dinner cocktail (weather permitting).
- Just off the lobby, Café Chao is a perfect spot to sneak a delicious pastry or cake, together with a pot of tea or a freshly brewed coffee.
- The Siam offers a wide range of experiences and encourages its guests to explore the neighborhood accompanied by staff members. The hotel’s signature experience is a sunset cruise or a romantic private dinner aboard its historical golden teak rice barge, The Golden Naga. The Naga barges were originally used to transport rice from the provinces to the key cities of Thailand via the Chao Phraya River, the ancient lifeline of the Kingdom. The Golden Naga has been refurbished with cruising comfort in mind. The boat is available for private sunset charters for dinner or just for cocktails and canapés (seating is limited to 8 passengers.)
- All guests are greeted at The Siam with a very warm welcome, in keeping with the exceptional level of service provided by the hotel’s amazing staff. In fact, the service at The Siam was some of the best I’ve ever experienced at any hotel during all my years of traveling across the globe. All stays at The Siam include 24/7 butler service, besides daily breakfast at the restaurant, complimentary high speed Wi-Fi (property wide), 4G enabled mobile with complimentary data, all local & international calls, and shuttle boat service between the hotel and Bangkok’s central Sathorn pier (according to a fixed time schedule).
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
The Siam is a stunning urban oasis, offering a tranquil riverside location, an incredible design, beautiful rooms & suites, and world-class amenities (e.g. spa, restaurants). There’s very little to say against the hotel, but you may want to know the following when considering a stay here:
- While the river location is nice, there’s not much of interest within walking distance of The Siam. The property is also a long way from downtown shopping, restaurants and nightlife, but for those who want to explore Bangkok’s riverside tourist attractions, it’s perfect.
- The lower category rooms lack natural light. For example, I stayed in a Siam suite, which only featured an outside window in the bathroom. Also keep in mind that some of the lower category room have unappealing views.
- The Siam is the most expensive hotel in town. It is more expensive than its high end-competitors like the Mandarin Oriental, the Banyan Tree, or the Park Hyatt, although The Siam is in a league of its own when it comes to exclusivity.
- Athough it’s well signposted from the street, The Siam can be tricky to find if you arrive by taxi, as I experienced myself (since other hotels in Bangkok als have Siam in their name). I advise you to write down the address of the hotel for your taxi driver.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 10/10
- Pool: 9/10
- Rooms: 9/10
- Food: 9/10
- Breakfast: 8/10
- Spa: 9/10
- Service: 9/10
- Value for money: 9/10
- Overall experience: exceptional 9/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like The Siam Hotel Bangkok (and/or receive many free perks).
- Room tip: splurge on one of the higher end rooms if you want a room with natural light and a view.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The weather in Bangkok is dominated by a tropical monsoon climate which means there are three main seasons: a cool, dry season between November and February (which is the best period to visit the city); a hot, dry season from March to June, and a rainy season from July to October. As Bangkok holds claim to being the hottest city in the world, expect daytime temperatures to be in excess of 30 °C (86°F) throughout the year (with the possible exception of late December and early January). The two periods April to May and September to October are characterised by high, almost untolerable humidity. The southwest monsoons arrive between May and October bringing unsettled, cloudy conditions and, for many, this is a welcome respite.
HOW TO GET THERE
Bangkok is served by 2 airports:
- Suvarnabhumi International Airport is located 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of downtown Bangkok and is a major hub in Asia. Check the Wikipedia page of Suvarnabhumi International Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to this airport. The hotel is located 35 km (22 mi) from the main Bangkok airport. Travel by car, van or hotel limousine takes between 45 and 60 minutes, depending on traffic.
- Don Mueang Airport is Bangkok’s regional commuter flight hub and the de facto low-cost airline hub. Check the Wikipedia page of Don Mueang Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to this airport. Don Mueang Airport is located 28 km (17 mi) from the hotel. Travel by car, van or hotel limousine takes between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on traffic.
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