Confidante: Beautiful Branded Hotels

The SiamHotel Marques de RiscalNew York, New York—Reported by Mary Gostelow for Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

Winery owners who name hotels after their vintage labels are few and far between. The Frank Gehry-designed Hotel Marques de Riscal in the heart of Rioja is one example, and Bernard Arnault’s Cheval Blanc in Courchevel, France is another. When will we see a Grange Hermitage or Opus One hotel? Come to think of it, how about The Macallan as a hotel brand?

The Macallan has already cleverly infiltrated luxury hospitality with the 10 Pound bar at Montage Beverly Hills. The hotel’s general manager, Hermann Elger, had a chat with Macallan brand ambassador Eden Algie, and the result, named for the Scottish £10 note that features The Macallan distillery’s copper stills, is wildly successful, thanks in part to habitués like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The greatest accolade, however, is the title of 2012 best bar worldwide from travel agent consortium Virtuoso.

Awards will surely flood in for The Siam, Bangkok’s newest hotel, which opened on June 11. It was the idea of Krissada Sukosol Clapp, an American-Thai citizen, actor, indie-rock band lead vocalist and winner of MTV Asia’s favorite Thai artist award. Deemed the family’s creative director, Kriss was tasked with transforming a family plot on Bangkok’s Chao Praya river.

The Sukosols’ mass-market hotels in Pattaya have financed Kriss’s creation of the 39-key Siam. His friend Bill Bensley has devised a black and white palette, with acres of shiny marble and dark teak, offset by the bright green of, say, real palms in the ornamental pool that nearly fills the ground floor of a three-floor open atrium based on the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. A two-floor mirrored wall along one side of the restaurant reflects the terracotta roofs of four ancient Thai houses, one of which is the top suite, named Connie’s Cottage for one-time owner Connie Mangskau, a secret agent and confidante of Jim Thompson.

The Siam has one of the few hotel boxing rings available to guests. Another ring, popular with
Russian oligarchs, is in the mammoth subterranean gym of the Radisson Royal Hotel in Moscow, a transformation of the Stalin-era Ukrainian “wedding cake” building. For sheer sublimity, book the hotel’s restaurant-for-two. Your lady is blindfolded with satin and led up winding stairs where you await her in an aerie filled with flowers, real butterflies, a violinist and champagne.