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Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, Bangkok 

991/9 Rama 1 Road
Thailand 10330
Tel: 66 2162 9000
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
It could have been another soulless corporate addition to the commercial hotel market, but in spite of its size and block architecture, this contemporary high-rise skillfully evokes an authentic sense of Thailand. A handful of heroics set it apart, including the modern art program, which stocks the hotel with 1,500 paintings, sculptures, and bewitching collages by local artists. All 303 rooms face the courtyard's palm gardens and free-form pools, screening guests from the city's hum. Walls are decorated in padded Thai silk, some with gilded accent panels depicting rural life and lotus flower designs, and rooms are wired for video on demand, Internet radio, and iPod connectivity. The seventh-floor spa is a haven of Asian wellness with natural herbal products, while a well-appointed gym has killer cityscape views. The hotel's crowning glory is the restaurant Sra Bua, by Danish chef Henrik Yde-Andersen, who scored a Michelin star for his molecular Thai cooking in Copenhagen. The dishes are undoubtedly Thai but highly experimental; don't miss the gang dang, a frozen red curry with lobster salad (better than it sounds). The hotel is already popular with the Asian business set, but leisure travelers will be equally well served here, not least for the unbeatable downtown location beside Siam Paragon, the city's finest shopping mall. —2011 Hot List

Which room to book: The least expensive Deluxe rooms are a good value, especially if you request one with a balcony. Cabana rooms have direct pool access.

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