Anantara has four hotels in its home base of Bangkok, so make sure that you tell the taxi driver: “Anantara Siam.” Mine is still confused, until I say “Four Seasons”, which previously ran the well-known property in the city’s heart before Anantara took it over last year with plans to make it its flagship. Down a short walkway lined by white columns and soothing lily ponds, smiling staff greet me with the “sawadee kah” prayer-hand salute, something that always makes me smile back, even though it’s early in the morning. In the lobby, which has brightly coloured ceiling frescoes and hand-painted silk wall panels, staff at the front desk easily process my early check-in and show me to my room.
In the city’s downtown Ratchaprasong district, the hotel is a short walk from the BTS skytrain, Lumpini Park and Erawan Shrine, which reopened not long after last year’s bombing, and a longer walk to the shops at Siam Paragon.
My junior suite has dark teak walls, brightly coloured silk pillows and a beautiful Thai tapestry headboard, with a view of the greens at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. The bathroom is large, although the fixtures feel a little outdated, and my toiletries are meticulously arranged at turndown. The room is well-equipped with an Illy coffee machine, books on local history, glass-bottled water and a Bose sound system.
Warm, knowledgeable and efficient in all corners; the room service is notably snappy, arriving in 26 minutes, earlier than the estimated half-hour.
The hotel seems popular with Asian couples and families, who pack the place at brunch. If it’s solitude you seek, find a bench in the hotel’s open-air Parichart Court, lined with restaurants and high-end shops, which has a lovely tropical garden and koi pond – good for Instagramming.
Among the wide range of options, including a sushi bar and steakhouse, Spice Market is the most authentic, serving a decent massaman curry with roti (480 Thai baht [Dh50]) and an unmissable dessert of mango with sticky rice and coconut cream (280 baht [Dh29]); my room-service nasi goreng with chicken satay (440 baht [Dh46]) is also a standout. The buffet breakfast at Biscotti has a decent selection of international dishes, but you have to try the Thai breakfast soup and exotic juice combinations such as mango, banana and lychee.
The Bamboo Delight massage, like one using hot rocks except with warmed sticks of bamboo applied like a rolling pin to the knots in your back, tops my list of all-time massage experiences (about 6,000 baht [Dh627]). I also marvel at the clever idea for people without a roaming plan: the room comes with an Android smartphone with a city guide, free internet and unlimited local and international calls to 10 countries.
The sporadic construction noise in the courtyard (the hotel was undergoing refurbishment), which makes the koi pond experience less peaceful.
A reliable base for a business or shopping trip in Bangkok’s city centre. The Bamboo Delight massage alone is worth the stay.
The bottom line
Rooms at the Anantara Siam Bangkok cost from 6,082 baht (Dh635) per night, including taxes.
Source: art & life