Whether onboard or on land the Far East has a well-deserved reputation for unsurpassed levels of service across the luxury travel industry, and the Thai capital of Bangkok has long been singled out for special praise.
It has some of the most sumptuous hotels on the Asian continent. Think of the old-world charm of its Grande Dame ‘The Oriental’ – now the Mandarin Oriental. Or what is perhaps the world’s most spectacular bar, ‘Vertigo’ on the roof of the Banyan Tree in the city’s central business district.
This month CNN International’s luxury travel programme ‘In 24 Hours’ experiences these highlights, all while looking at the city with a fresh eye. Today, Bangkok has a new player on its hotel scene, which has upended the market and staked a rightful claim as the new height of luxury. All this in a city where it was already present in abundance.
The Siam Hotel is the passion project of Thai music legend and actor Krissada Sukosol Clapp. The popular star, known in Thailand simply as ‘Noi’, stepped into the family hotel business and has created a property that truly deserves the moniker ‘one of a kind’.
An avid antique collector himself, Clapp has spent literally decades collecting treasures from across the country and around the globe. He’s then spent years more, meticulously curating the collection, all while finessing the vision for his thirty-nine-suite hotel.
‘In my heart I feel like I was born at the wrong time’ he explains. ‘I wish I was born a hundred years ago in the 1910s or 1920s’. Each room is inspired by an element of the country’s storied history, and lavishly decorated with irreplaceable pieces and artworks from the period. Guests are invited to truly indulge in another world. ‘It’s all about the soul and the meaning behind every object. It’s no different when you build a hotel or you write a song or you make a movie. How do you give it soul…the intangible?’ he asks
The soul of this hotel comes in its reflection of a simpler time. High white ceilings with colonial style fans meet old wooden floorboards. A private cinema room sits on one floor, an LP listening room on another while two thousand year old Buddha statues sit in the hallway. Clapp is known to return to the hotel near weekly, with armfuls of new treasures to quietly arrange about the property. It’s a constantly changing historical kaleidoscope.
Not surprisingly, the hotel has since become the go-to destination for international actors and musicians on tour, who often seek out the pool villas. As the hotel itself is the only one in the city to offer these private pools, it now also has the correspondingly highest room rates in Bangkok. Prices for their popular villas start at 1080 USD per night, while suites begin at 475 USD.
But forget about price… the real achievement here is the creation of something that’s totally new and entirely unique. Something that you know is special from the first moment you set foot on the property. The Siam is a rare beast. Luxury with heart.
The Bangkok episode of ‘In 24 Hours’ is now airing on CNN International.
Wednesday 7th June at 16:30 Bangkok time
Saturday 10th June at 12:30 Bangkok time
Sunday 11th June at 18:30 Bangkok time
Saturday 17th at 18:30 Bangkok time
Sunday 18th June at 12:30 Bangkok time
or simply watch online cnn.com/in24hours