Ratchaprasong’s rebranded regal retreat
Amidst the endless construction of glass towers stretching toward the sky in central Bangkok, the Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel remains as stately and sophisticated as ever. The structure itself has occupied the same tract of land on Ratchadamri Road for 33 years, and when it was built, its nine floors must have made it a veritable high-rise. Now, however, its charm is that it is distinctly not a high-rise, but rather a landmark of class and character. Despite having changed names a few times over three decades (it was formerly the Four Seasons up until March of 2015), the heart and soul of the hotel is still intact. The vibrant mural of classic Thai imagery, painted on the wall behind the marble staircase, still greets guests upon arrival. So do the frescoed ceilings, another stately touch of high-society Thailand looking over the modern furniture and fittings in the lobby.
Quiet, carpeted halls cushion the way toward the guestrooms, of which there are 354, each spacious and sophisticated. The Premier View Rooms come with a plush king-sized bed, as well as fabric armchairs and long sofas. While the look and feel of the furniture may seem dated in an era of high glitz and technology, by incorporating brightly coloured throw pillows and silk accessories, the rooms instead become captivating bastions of comfort and grace. Yet the hotel doesn’t shirk the advent of technology, either. Each room comes with its own handy phone—a truly special amenity that allows for free calls to 10 different countries, provides travel itineraries and tips, and even offers social media.
Of all the rooms, the most spectacular might just belong to the Kasara Premier View category. Located on the exclusive ‘Kasara’ floor, the rooms enjoy views of rolling green golf course at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, a rare sight in a city of concrete. What’s more, they include access to the Kasara Lounge, a peaceful den filled out with books and classic art, where guests can enjoy complimentary food and drinks throughout the day, as well as the aid of a dedicated concierge and special business services.
Distinguishing Anantara Siam even further is the diversity of facilities—not to mention the many little perks that come with them. The hotel boasts a roomy half-Olympic-sized pool, with plenty of deck space and loungers to boot. During the day, it’s a perfect place to unwind with a good book in hand. As the sun sets over the surrounding towers, the poolside deck provides another perk as it becomes a haven where guests can sip on cocktails in peace.
The Anantara Spa on the second floor, near the entrance to the pool, evokes the spirit of Thai heritage through well thought-out architectural choices, from the archways to the panelling. There is a true variety of treatments from which to choose, and the signature choices are a good bet. The 90-minute Siam 2482 Signature Massage combines practices from Myanmar, Laos, China, and Thailand, incorporating a hot compress and even a sturdy cut of bamboo into the massage therapy. The treatment relieves tired minds as much as achy bodies, but it would be hard to find fault with the Anantara Signature massage, either, which benefits from the use of reflexology. If you prefer self-defined forms of relaxation, try the saunas or whirlpools in the gym locker rooms.
For dining, there is no shortage of options. On weekends, the “East Meets West” afternoon tea in the lobby lounge is highly recommended. Not only does it include a variety of savoury snacks and lavish, bite-sized desserts designed by the hotel’s pastry chef, it also comes with a choice of high-end teas from Mariage Freres, three of which are blends that were specially created for Anantara Siam. For dinner, head to Spice Market, Shintaro, or the flagship Madison—one of the city’s best steakhouses—where wagyu is the main order of business. Choose from ribeye, tenderloin, or tomahawk, the Australian cattle grain-fed for 150 or 300 days, and have it served to a silky medium-rare and accompanied by decadent garlic mashed potatoes. While meat may rule the day, the seafood options are just as deserving of praise. The prices are reasonable, at roughly B3,000 per person with appetizers and wine, especially when considering the quality of the ingredients on offer.
But for a true splurge, and one that almost merits fasting beforehand, try the champagne Sunday brunch. Widely popular among locals, the four-hour feast features immaculately prepared specialties from around the world—Indian curries, Peking duck, sushi and sashimi, a range of foie gras treats, super-fresh oysters and crabs and fish, falafel and stuffed grape leaves with a garlic paste so savoury it’s hard to write about it without salivating, and more excellent desserts than anyone without self-control would ever want to see in one place. Plus, if you opt for champagne, you get free-flow Billecart bubbly for B3,450 per person.
As the city evolves around it, this timeless property nevertheless seems destined for many more decades of achievement, thanks to a dedication to Thai heritage enhanced by the most indulgent of modern amenities, sterling service, and some of the finest facilities in town.
Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel
155 Rajadamri Road,
Tel: 02 126 8866