For some mamas, heading to a sunny island means instantaneous peace and relaxation, while for those with a cosmopolitan streak in them, checking into an urban destination is where they find their holiday zen. For those of us looking for a quick getaway however, The Siam in Bangkok’s Royal Dusit district may just be the answer. A quick forty minutes from the international airport, you’re in for an absolute treat at this urban resort, as you chill away from Bangkok’s galling crowds and infamous traffic.
With its strategic location juxtaposed between the old and new city, The Siam is a private 39-room luxury retreat set on three acres of verdant frontage along the Chao Praya River. This art deco inspired, Thai antique infused resort is designed by internationally acclaimed architect Bill Bensley, and mamas can find a myriad of antiques scattered throughout the grounds, many of which are part of the owner’s private collection. In fact, with its sprawling gardens and verdant shrubs, one may accidentally think they are in their own private mansion (we certainly did!).
While this aesthetically pleasing boutique hotel might at first glance appeal more to those looking for a romantic getaway… for those who are unable to find someone to babysit their toddlers (just like us!), fret not. We were pleasantly surprised to find a baby cot, baby bath toiletries and a sterilizer all prepared in advance of our arrival, and the spacious rooms (at least 1000sqft) had more than enough room for our little girl to crawl about (although we still had to keep an eye on her of course!). All of that was in addition to the warm hospitality of the Thai staff, who didn’t hesitate to woo and coo at our little one!
The rooms at The Siam come in various sizes, and each room or villa is individually designed with a unique theme that speaks of Thai royal history in its paintings and artifacts. We really liked the super-sized King bed in our River View Suite and the large bathrooms that came with both a tub and a walk-in rain shower. If you prefer more space and privacy or have a slightly bigger family, then definitely check into the private pool villa. At 1400sqft with a private sun deck, it’s got oodles of room for every member of the fam. In addition, unlike most hotels where you need to stand in line and sometimes even jostle with the crowd during peak season, check-ins are all done in your room, where a personal butler is also at your service throughout your stay.
To get away from the crazy traffic of Bangkok, do hop onto the hotel’s complimentary boat shuttle, which runs every hour and is able to drop you off if there is somewhere specific along the route you want to take a peek at — just inform your butler in advance so the arrangements could be made! We made a stop at the charming Phra Athit Road en route to the main city to take a peek around (we spied quaint cafes, cheap massages and bars a plenty!). To get into the city, the boat shuttle stops at the Sheraton Pier from which you can easily hop onto the train. If you prefer to enjoy the scenic tranquility of the river, you can always choose to grab a drink at the hotel instead, before hopping back on the boat to enjoy the majestic Chao Phara sunset view – we did this and enjoyed it immensely.
After spending the day at the “new city”, we came back to the opulent haven of the Opium Spa, nestled away in the basement of the resort. The spa uses chemical free Sodashi products and I gave the spa’s signature Muay Thai Massage a try. It was a blend of Thai and Swedish massage techniques, and was good for giving me the relaxing massage treatment I craved. The spa has a menu for kids and teens too (perfect for a mother and daughter bonding session) while the papas can gear up for a private Muay Thai session in the main hotel.
Film buffs are also in for a treat at this luxe resort. The owner, being an actor himself, has furnished the screening room with original, antique folding wooden French cinema seats to resurrect the luxury of a bygone theatre-heyday. One of our favourite activities was just to enjoy the recreation room with our daughter. The room mirrored one’s private living room with wooden floorings and a grand piano. You can rest assured too that there were no musky smells of smoke lingering, despite it being termed a smoking area!
Do savour some of the authentic Thai cuisine at the resort’s signature Thai Restaurant, “Chon” whilst you’re there mama, or if you prefer to try your hand at some cooking, there is also a cooking school as well. The restaurant sits in a refurbished Thai teak house, formerly owned by Jim Thompson, and gives you a bird’s eye view of the alluring river. We tried some authentic dishes including their yellow curry with jumbo crab and of course the tom yum goong – both were most noteworthy. We ended our dinner with the sticky rice with mango and coconut ice cream, which gave a sweet note to end our evening! If you prefer a more authentic experience and want to soak in a bit of the local culture, there is a food street right across the hotel where you can sample a few plates of chicken rice, phad Thai or grilled skewers.
Surely, spending a weekend in Bangkok may conjure images of the bustling crowd, a shopping paradise and horrendous traffic all rolled into one, but the moment you step into the colonial lobby of The Siam with its tranquil courtyard, you are transported to perhaps one of the most imperturbable places around — the perfect blend of old and new.
Rooms start at THB 12,950++ (SGD 505++) per night for 2 people staying in the Siam Suite (inclusive of breakfast, WiFi, daily tropical fruit and a full butler service).