My old standby in Bangkok was always The Eugenia – but then owner Eugene Yeh, the Taiwanese designer, went and sold it. I found a new hotel to love for the stopover this spring, in the form of 39-room The Siam (www.thesiamhotel.com; from $540; Bathers Bar pictured), which hits the sweet spot between the boutique chic of The Eugenia and the stately services of, say, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.
Sure, the location is off-centre – in the royal Dusit district, a 20-minute boat ride from the Oriental – but its genteel sleepiness suits The Siam’s more resort-ish sensibility. The restaurant (three antique teak houses relocated riverside) is stuffed with colonial chairs and sepia photographs. Tang horses, a Muay Thai boxing ring and the whisper of bamboo leave you in no doubt as to where in the world you’re staying, while the service and Sodashi Spa deliver a flawless luxury experience.