Tastes through time
Bangkok has been since the 19th century, a sophisticated melting pot of East and West. This rich cosmopolitanism also heralded a time of modernity and progress. A similar dynamic spirit continues in the present day on Wireless Road at The Athenee Hotel, set in the grounds of the former royal residence of Princess Valaya Alongkorn, Kandhavas Palace. The princess was the daughter of Chulalongkorn, King Rama V (1853 – 1910) and the aunt of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX. An unparalleled tastemaker of her generation, Princess Valaya through her talents in fashion and interior design as well as flower arrangement, forged a style of aesthetics the world has come to recognise as Thai “transitional luxury," one that imprinted a decidedly Siamese signature to popular Western design concepts of the day.
As a respectful nod to Princess Valaya’s legacy and the location’s storied background, the 374-room Athenee Hotel bears classic elements throughout, recreating through the use of design tropes from chess and books – favoured pastimes of the princess – a style of living from a bygone era. Expect palatial interiors in the Vimarn Siam suite, a modern distillation of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V)’s summer abode. At 190 square metres, the two-bedroom suite recalls the 19th century, highlighting murals, carvings, and materials popular during that era. The space also features a dining table that comfortably seats 10.
Similarly, the Ruen Thai suite, also at 190 square metres, celebrates through its traditional design, characteristics of the Ayudhya age. An abundance of well-polished wood furnishings, together with shimmery silk drapery and cushions, presents a sumptuous residential setting. The recently rebranded property is an artful exposition of timeless elegance, and Thailand’s recent past certainly holds a treasure vault of inspirations.