SPAR OR SPA IN BANGKOK

SPAR OR SPA IN THE SIAM HOTEL, BANGKOK

You may not be familiar with the work of Krissada Sukosol Clapp, the Thai-American pop star and actor, most notably of The Adventure of Iron Pussy (no, seriously); you may be more familiar with acclaimed US designer Bill Bensley. Reputations aside, recently launched The Siam in Bangkok, the brain child of this unlikely pairing, is fast being crowned the city’s most exciting boutique hotel.

Imagine that crown as a cloche hat, on the head of a Thai-American princess, dancing the Charleston during the Prohibition, mojito in hand. Bensley has sewn Twenties art deco into The Siam’s contemporary low-rise buildings and heritage Jim Thompson teak houses to seamless effect. Interiors team smart black-and-white tiles with stone, dark wood and sensual water features, organised around a jaw-dropping central courtyard, with vintage posters, gramophones, travel trunks, art and antiques peppered throughout.

In the Main Residence, the light-drenched Riverview Suites offer dreamy Chao Phraya River vistas and a stylish salon for lazy breakfasts. For your own plunge pool, retreat to the separate river-view Pool Villas (a first for Bangkok), which boast lush courtyard gardens and an open-air roof terrace. For extra space, the antique stilted teak house, Connie’s Cottage, has a bedroom upstairs and lavish living area below – it was shipped downriver from ancient capital Ayutthaya by curio collector Connie Mangskau and silk merchant Jim Thompson himself.

Outside, verdant gardens surround the sleek main infinity pool, where the river laps at the sun-loungers, steps from the hotel’s pier. The Bathers Bar beckons beside the pool, nice and handy for refreshing sips while enjoying prime river scoping.

If the George in you is feeling particularly pugnacious, you can let off steam in the Muay Thai boxing ring (the first professionally equipped one in a hotel), with training options for beginners and experienced boxers, although you’ll want to be careful sparring with locals. If you’d rather leave it to the experts, watch the real thing at nearby Ratchadamnoen Stadium. If that all sounds a little gruelling, yoga and t’ai chi classes are more mellow, or there’s a serene gym overlooking a monastery with personal trainers on tap.

Following (or instead of) your workout, The Siam’s intimate Opium Spa by Sodashi is the best way to restore wellness with solo or couple’s suites, saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis and a hammam-influenced Bath House. For serious pampering, take advantage of the comprehensive massage menu, drawing on all-natural products inspired by the earth and sea. Then visit the relaxation space to chill out in style.

Hunger worked up, master the art of Thai cooking. You can create your own Thai food at the charming riverside cooking school under the hotel’s Chon Thai Restaurant, a historic teak house which played host to Jackie Kennedy and Roger Moore back in the day. Here, daily classes (on request) begin by sourcing fresh, local produce during a market tour led by chef Blair Mathieson, followed by gourmet tuition.

Alternatively, settle down to feast at the restaurant itself, which serves Thai delicacies with views over the river. If you like what you see, hop on the complimentary speedboat shuttle down river (The Siam is just north of Bangkok’s sightseeing hub, in the exclusive Dusit royal district) or meander the myriad waterways on a longtail boat excursion. Search for bustling floating markets on the smaller khlongs (canals), where authentic food is sure to tempt.

Wrap up the night with a movie back at the hotel’s airy screening room, followed by cocktails in seductive, jazz-themed Deco Bar & Bistro. Sound exhausting? Choose spa not spar. But Georges do need a good runaround, right?

To book any of Mr & Mrs Smith’s 900+ boutique hotels and holiday houses worldwide visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 1300 896 627, 24-hours a day, five days a week. Smith members get exclusive extras at all stays.

Mr and Mrs Smith : The Siam Hotel
3/2 Thanon Khao Bangkok 10300
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