September 05, 2022

Bangkok's Siam@Siam Design Hotel reinvented with no boundaries



There’s something about hotels and I’m always particularly excited to see a major refurbishment or even an old decrepit building transformed into a swank new establishment.

With the covers only just coming off the furniture after the enforced Covid slumber, Bangkok’s lively hospitality scene is gathering pace. Some properties hibernated, while others used the downtime to rejuvenate and reimagine.

One of the more imaginative reworkings is underway at the Siam@Siam Design Hotel. Located at 865 Rama 1 Road, right opposite the National Stadium, in Bangkok's busy shopping and retail precinct. While there are still some finishing touches to complete, the intention is clear.

Opened as a newbuild hotel in 2007 and renovated in 2016, it reopened in May this year after a six-month refurbishment that could easily be termed a “reinvention”. The 221 rooms occupy the 14th to the 24th floors, with the former spa on the 10th reworked as “Heritage” rooms with a distinct “old Siam” feel.

Deluxe Room (supplied)

My room, 2414, while not large at 28m2 was perfectly adequate for my short stay. The king bed was supplemented by a day bed/couch facing a huge, multi-channel, wall-mounted flatscreen TV
and enough desk space to work for a couple of hours at a time. The highlight was the cute retro Marshall amp Bluetooth speaker.

The name is derived jointly from its location and that of the parent company, Siam Motors Group, which has been in operation for 70 years and also has a significant presence in construction and education as well as hospitality.

Now, I know ‘funky’ is an overused term, but it’s the word that comes immediately to mind as soon as you walk through the front doors. This is an unashamedly bold hotel. The more reserved and mild among us might say ‘lurid’ or ‘garish’ but clearly, Siam@Siam doesn’t care. The vivid reworking continues through the ground floor bar and restaurant, Chim Chim (‘chim’ in Thai means to taste), to its innovative mezzanine floor. With upcycled props and pop-art splashes, the feel is ‘vintage beach club’ with a cocktail list that ensures you don’t miss happy hour each evening.

What do Arne Jacobsen’s Swan chairs, bold African wax prints and Thai paper kites have in common? Very little. Yet they find a surprisingly harmonious home at Chim Chim, a polychromatic new restaurant on the ground floor of Bangkok’s Siam@Siam Design Hotel. 
- Chris Schalkx, design-anthology.com

'Polychromatic' Chim Chim on the ground floor of Siam@Siam (Yathip Nuangnitnaraporn)

A creation by local design studio, Munchausen, Chim Chim hails itself as an “art-inspired social diner” which sounds very millennial to this ageing boomer. Be that as it may, the experience is invigorating nonetheless and the sassy breakfast offering will enliven your brain cells as well as your taste buds. For mine, the Chimchim Congee does the trick with egg, bacon, chicken and ginger to excite this otherwise humble Asian dish. Daytime fare includes clever twists on pizza, pasta, sandwiches and burgers.


The rooftop space, 'Paradise Lost' will look like this (supplied)

While the much-anticipated ‘Paradise Lost’ rooftop may still be a couple of weeks away at time of writing, the 25th-floor, Michelin-listed restaurant, TAAN, is in full swing helmed by adventurous chef, Monthep “Thep” Kamolsilp, who is fully prepared to upend your preconceptions about Thai cuisine.


Interior of TAAN restaurant (supplied)

Chef Thep - No boundaries
As we prepare for his signature degustation experience, Chef Thep is at pains to explain his unconventional methods, emphasising his reliance on traditional and regional Thai flavours and seasonal local produce as well as challenging diners with unexpected combinations like tamarind fish sauce and frog legs with grilled sticky rice a la Khon Kaen started with fried bamboo shoots and giant catfish roe with seasonal mushroom sauce.

To be sure, Thep’s creations are not for everyone, but you can be assured of a wild virtual culinary ride around the provinces of Thailand and their most exotic produce and recipes. But relax, those of a more timid persuasion can order a la carte and be reassured with dishes like Surat Thani river prawns in Thai pot omelette or deep-fried braised biodynamic pork belly.

“The PRODE ((which means ‘favourite’ in Thai) menu really showcases TAAN’s favourite ways of conveying local wisdom. We have had some fun reconstructing Thai food through adventurous techniques. There are no boundaries. Each dish is different to before but they still put the emphasis on local ingredients,” says Chef Thep.

Read more about TAAN and the PRODE menu

The PRODE menu (whose name means ‘favourite’ in Thai) invites guests
on a nine-course trip to push the boundaries of modern Thai cuisine. (supplied)

If all this sounds expensive, here is another surprise. You can find keen and competitive pricing either direct with the hotel or via any of your favourite booking platforms like Kayak or booking.com

Details:

Address: Opposite National Stadium 865 Rama I Rd, Wang Mai, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330
Phone: +66 2 217 3000
Website: www.siamatsiam.com
BTS: National Stadium

TAAN
Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 18:00 - 22:30 Hrs.
Website: www.taanbangkok.com

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