Best of the Best 2013: Hotels: The Siam

Photo by Igor Prahin/www.southeastasia-images.com

Visitors to Bangkok can escape the city’s notorious traffic and cacophony inside the Siam (+662.206.6999, www.thesiamhotel.com), a colonial-inspired retreat that opened last June along the Chao Phraya River. Designed by the American architect Bill Bensley, the hotel is decorated with the Thai owner’s museum-quality Thai and European antiques. Cloud-like beds, deep soaking tubs, and soaring ceilings highlight the 39 art deco–style suites, which include 10 villas with river-facing rooftop balconies and generous plunge pools. Visitors can also watch royal barges float down the Chao Phraya from the hotel’s restaurant, which occupies a century-old, wing-tipped teak house on the water’s edge. In the Siam’s swanky gym, guests can take Muay Thai traditional boxing lessons from champions of the sport. Unwind and recover with a movie in the private cinema, a proper shave in the old-fashioned barbershop, or an all-natural facial from the Australian cult brand Sodashi in the deeply calming spa. ($550–$1,550)