Luxury can be found in the small things, the details and delicate touches. David Trauts recently discovered the renovated Anantara Siam in downtown Bangkok has luxury down to a tee.
The Anantara Siam building has been sited on upmarket Rajadamri Road for over 30 years and occupied at times by Peninsular, the Regent and most recently Four Seasons, before being taking over and reopened as Anantara Siam last March. Thailand’s Anantara hotel group is ready to rebrand this year and Siam is the flagship taking the group up a luxury notch with it. The Anantara Siam is a beautiful example of early nineties, five-star designed elegance, and of course, the kind of hotel we all love to stay in. From the beautiful entrance, the enormous and elegant lobby with a hand-painted silk ceiling and large pillars, to the swimming pool and garden area out the back of the hotel, Anantara Siam is luxury, full stop. The finishing, attention to detail and stylish floor and wall coverings, comfortable furnishings and subtle, efficient service from superbly trained staff make this Anantara a true standout in five-star accommodation.
All Premier and Deluxe rooms were renovated before the hotel was reopened as Anantara Siam last year and are now the perfect example of how a five-star room should be. Every single detail is perfect. It’s not often I would say that anything is perfect, but on this occasion it must be said. The rooms and en-suite bathrooms are plush and elegantly designed and furnished from the finest materials and expert finishing. Flick through the dozens of channels on the enormous TV or call your friends at home and surf the web on the convenient in-house mobile phone, which comes included with the room and can be used anywhere inside and out of the hotel during your stay. The oversized double bed is a pure dream with plush, fluffy pillows and fine cotton bed linen creating one of the best sleeps you will remember. Plush sofas and chairs make up the rest of the room with a large timber desk providing space for your laptop with free Wi-Fi. Heavily draped, double-glazed windows keep the sun and outside street sounds at bay.
There are seven restaurants and cafes in the hotel. Fine dining and more casual options are available with Italian, Japanese, Steakhouse, Mediterranean and Thai cuisines on the menu. All the menus from every signature outlet are also available at the open-air, garden restaurant, Aqua, where I sat down one Sunday evening and ordered one of the Thai set menus – Kannikar (1,100 Baht). It started with a selection of Thai entrée snacks and then a tangy spicy tom yam goong – prawn soup with lemongrass – then an enormous selection of mains presented on a round sectioned dish with accompanying rice. This main is the perfect introduction to Thai cuisine with portions of prawn green curry, wok-fried beef and a pepper sauce, barbequed pork salad and fried beatle fish with a sweet and sour sauce, and deep-fried crab meat with minced pork stuffed in a crab shell. The set menu finished with tubtim krob – ruby water chestnuts, jack fruit, coconut jelly, coconut milk, ice, all of which helped to create yet another food coma on my Bangkok trip. There is plenty of it. As I ordered the waiter gave the option of spicy or not, no doubt mindful of western tastes, and the dishes arrived tasty and sometimes a little fiery – just as I like it. This was washed down with a glass of Australian shiraz, priced at around 580 baht.
The previous late night had been a fast paced excursion of some of Bangkok’s finer nightlife establishments from north to south, and being at the tail end of the New Year’s period I was a little more than frazzled. I booked myself into the hotel’s famed spa for some well-deserved rejuvenation. Maybe not so well-deserved but in this case, well needed.
It was love at first sight as I followed my masseuse into the classy and elegant spa room, which instantly tempered my soul. I was booked for a signature Siam 2482 spa treatment and laid out on the table like a stiff drink coaster from a previous night’s cocktail. The treatment started with a bamboo stick massage to improve circulation, then my masseuse placed warm herbal compresses on chakra points around the body while deep massaging my muscles and limbs. I’m not sure if it was the massage, the hot herbal compress, the gold leaf patches placed on my left arm and chest at the end of the massage, or the previous week of partying, but by the time we finished, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I could hardly move or walk as inertia set in, but I did make it to the Aqua garden restaurant and the Thai set menu, which gave me the final blow. The following ten hours sleep that were demanded from my now exhausted body was a welcomed relief.
Breakfast is a five star affair too at Anantara Siam. I experienced one of those after walking back from Sukhumvit Soi 11 at around 6am – and a much appreciated feed it was, even though I was probably not correctly dressed for the occasion. The next day I was up early for breakfast and, arriving at a more appropriate hour, had the chance to savour again the delicacies on offer. The garden setting of Aqua is ideal for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
In all, what a joy to stay in such an elegant hotel at such a prestigious address in central Bangkok. I’ve stayed in some of the finest five star hotels this region has to offer over the past ten years and the 354-room Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel & Spa, steeped in history and beautifully appointed, is right up there with the best.