Mods: I think this hotel is very much worthy of it's own thread [verses being merged with the BKK hotels thread] The Siam Hotel, Bangkok Khao, Wachira Phayaban, Dusit, Bangkok 10300, Thailand Pictures can be found here [this review means nothing without seeing what I'm talking about!] I was lucky enough to spend four nights at this property last week, and wow, what a place! I was a bit skeptical going in, as rates are 2x that of the MO BKK here, and I heard a lot of complaints about lighting issues. I thought I was in for a good stay, not a great stay. Ended up being one of the best hotel stays I've EVER had, period. As far as leisure stays go, I can't imagine ever staying elsewhere. For business, I do realize that people need to be near certain locations at certain times. Introduction Bangkok is a city with two faces. On the one hand, Bangkok is a ghastly city: crowded, loud, smoggy, and disorienting. The place can intimidate even the most seasoned traveler. On the other hand, Bangkok is chock full of temples, a dizzying array of street food, and one of the world's greatest cultures. No trip to Thailand is complete without a few nights in sprawling BKK. This contradiction is why, in my mind, it is extremely important to stay at the best hotel possible. Without a oasis to come home to at night, it's easy to see how people miss the charms of the city, falling into the crowd of those who hate Bangkok because they were constantly overwhelmed. Simply put, the Siam is an urban oasis - a complete respite from all the negatives of Bangkok. The Siam turns Bangkok into a city whose charms are easy to access & relatively stress free. In other words, the Siam makes Bangkok living easy. I'm going to be upfront with you: I loved this hotel. Everything about it - and I mean everything - put a smile on my face. It's hotels like these that remind me how important a good hotel is - that hotels aren't just a place to sleep at night [even if you're only in your room for a few hours a day] - how a hotel can shape ones perception of a new place - and how a good hotel can make or break a trip. When its all said and done, I'm convinced that the Siam is the reason I enjoyed Bangkok so much. The Siam is the closest I've ever come to hotel perfection. Because it's obvious where I stand on this hotel, I'll try and keep my commentary to a minimum. Nobody likes to a review that reads like a love letter. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking, and when relevant, I'll point out what needs to be pointed out. Virtuoso The Virtuoso amenities associated with a stay here include: Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests One hour sunset cruise for 2 guests along the River of Kings (Should the boat not be available (weather, maintenance, etc), they will offer a massage in the Opium Spa) - [win/win!] Other Virtuoso properties in the area: Anantara Siam Hotel Bangkok Mandarin Oriental Bangkok The Peninsula Bangkok The Sukhothai Bangkok The St. Regis Bangkok Location Quite possibly the only negative feedback I've ever heard about the Siam? Location. My thoughts on the matter? I don't buy it. Furthermore, anyone coming to Bangkok on leisure who'd rather be near the Mandarin or Peninsula needs to have their priorities checked. Jason Friedman, General Manager of the hotel, said it best [when asked, "aren't you a bit inconveniently located?"]: “For what?” he says, indignantly. “For overcrowding and seediness, well yes, we probably are. But if you want authentic Bangkok neighborhoods, great river views and charming boat rides into the city and the best of old Bangkok within walking distance, then we’re incredibly convenient.” Touch. Another positive side-effect of being up-river? You won't see a single tourist on the streets. The Siam is located in the Dusit neighborhood, one of the key historic and cultural epicenters of Bangkok. So while there is a lot to see in the area, you're more likely to run into the Crown Prince's retinue [the royal son is actually your next door neighbor] or a hordes of nursing school students pecking at dozens of street food vendors. Lobby The Siam's lobby is an open-air atrium that consists of a series of rooms, courtyards, hallways, and walkways. It has all the bells and whistles of your typical hotel lobby - ATM, concierge, gift shop, front desk - but it's organized in a nuanced, meandering way. In other words, the lobby doesn't feel like a lobby; walking around feels like a trip to a world-class arboretum. To those who are a bit sensitive to heat: because you're walking in what is essentially a botanical garden, there is very limited air conditioning in the lobby. And by "very limited" I mean: practically none. This shouldn't be a problem - the white walls, tiled floors, and revolving fans keep the space plenty cool. The Siam does a great job creating a lobby that feels nothing like your typical lobby. Like much of the hotel, it's a space meant for marveling, nothing more. Getting advice from the concierge, using the ATM, or visiting the Curio shop - it's all incidental to the space as a whole. FYI: check-in is done in your room and not at a front desk. Upon arrival you will be whisked away to your room, not before you're given the option for a hotel tour. No matter how jet-lagged you are, take the tour. Trust me... Grounds Gorgeous - like walking around an English garden mixed with an ancient Chinese/Thai museum. Accommodations The Siam is comprised of 39 suites & villas. That's right: the hotel only has suites and villas. Suites: Siam Suite [16 suites; 860 s.f.] The Siam Suites are the hotels entry-level category, all of which are housed in the main building. Like every room, each is individually decorated with turn of the century, authentic Thai memorabilia. While these rooms are just as much of a visual stunner as the Mae Nam and Riverview Suites, these are my least favorite category for no other reason than the lack of a view. Because there is no view, and the sides of the hotel are surrounded by foliage, I'd worry about the lack of light. Mae Nam Suite [6 suites; 970 s.f.] My four night stay was spent in the following room [one of six Mae Nam Suites]. I booked this room with some trepidation, mainly due to complaints about a lack of in-room light. My fears were unfounded - I found lighting [or the lack thereof] to be a nonissue. Otherwise, the room was beautifully put together, with lots of open floor space, beautiful hardwood floors, and well-curated walls. The dark furniture was a nice touch, and the purple couches - which don't sound appealing - worked out quite well. While the Mae Nam Suite was perfect for a couple, I do think a young family [2 adults & 1 small child] could comfortably fit in this space. Riverview Suite [6 suites; 1100 s.f.] The Riverview Suite looks almost identical to the Mae Name Suite. Besides the obvious difference [curation], there are a few noticable changes between the two suite categories: Floor [the Riverview Suites are on the highest floor] View [River views vs. courtyard views] Space [970 s.f. vs 1100 s.f.] I would recommend a Riverview Suite for those who want that extra bit of space and/or those who truly value a better view. Otherwise, I'd be happy in either room. Villas: Both villas [river view & courtyard view] are nearly identical in layout. There are only two major differences: Decor View Pool Villa Courtyard [6 villas; 1400 s.f.] & Pool Villa Riverview [4 villas; 1400 s.f.] Connie's Cottage [1 cottage; 1800 s.f.] Connie's is - without a doubt - the most exclusive room at the Siam. Frankly, it may be the most interesting accommodation in all of Bangkok: "Set within a cluster of three, century-old Thai teakwood houses which were once part of antique dealer and OSS agent Connie Mangksau’s home, this hallowed venue entertained global glitterati the likes of Jackie Kennedy, John Rockerfeller, Roger Moore, William Holden and Henry Ford to name but a few. [Connie's] was brought by boat downriver to Bangkok from the ancient capital of Ayutthaya by curio collector, Connie Mangskau, and her dear friend the silk merchant, Jim Thompson." How's that for a unique room? A few factoids:  Connie's has the largest private pool on property; and  despite it's 1800 s.f. of space, Connie's max occupancy is for two people. Food & Beverage Long story short: the Siam dishes out some outrageously good Thai food at a number of dining outlets. Deco Bar & Bistro: Deco is the go-to dining spot, regardless of the time of day. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon, dinner, and drinks - it all happens here. It's hard to imagine a restaurant whose design could fit so many different purposes, but it works. As far as breakfast goes, the Deco has a solid continental spread, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. It's good, but it's not great. The real reason I wouldn't recommend the continental: there are too many delicious a la carte options, and you'd be a fool to pass up the "Thai Kitchen" specialties. Chon's Restaurant: Street food culture is awesome, but eating out of plastic bags - while standing in 100+ degree heat - can really get the best of you. So while I'm normally not a fan of eating at hotels, sitting down for a meal at Chon's was a nice respite from days of eating street food. The Thai food here was unbelievably good ["unbelievably" isn't hyperbole - I was genuinely surprised at the quality of the hotel food]. Cafe Cha: Cafe Cha is the in-house coffee shop [replete with fresh baked pastries]. While I never found the time to try it, I've heard great things about their afternoon tea + champagne sets. Spa & Wellness Spa: The Opium Spa is widely regarded as "Bangkok's best spa" - and after having a treatment here, it comes as no surprise. An architectural stunner, the decor, atmosphere, and service is mind-numbingly* good. *Emphasis on the 'mind-numbing' - both my wife & I fell asleep during our hour-long massages. Worth noting: it's hard to overstate how good the service was here, and the employees were the best spa staff I've ever experienced. Fitness Center: Fitness center? Didn't use it - surprise surprise. This isn't your average hotel gym, as the Siam has Bangkok's first fully-equipped luxury Muay Thai boxing ring. For those interested in getting involved, the hotel has a variety of training programs - led by professional Muay Thai trainers - to suit your needs. Pool: The pool, otherwise known as "the ultimate jet lag cure," is gorgeous. Pictures are a bit self-explanatory, no? Service Service at the Siam is incredible, and it's all because of the people. The staff is so friendly, so easy-going, so accommodating, that you can't help smile every time you see them. [Sappy, but true.] Conclusion The Siam is as close to hotel perfection as I've ever experienced. Need I say more?