Travel Dispatch – Heckfield Place, most U.S. travelers lack a several hundred-year-old charming countryside manor for a weekend escape, the fringes of London are chockablock with choices and we recommend staying at several for various reasons. My travel mantra – each of us has a unique fingerprint and thus the proper hotel or manor house may be suitable for one but not another. We solve the mystery.
An inspired 19th Century estate, Heckfield Place is the very latest in countryside lodgings, albeit fairly close to London, but far enough removed, residing amidst 400 glorious acres of secluded Hampshire grounds. Formal garden terraces and provocatively described ‘pleasure grounds’ truly feel like a private park. The epitome of Georgian excellence, gently evolving for over 250 years, the property consists of walled landscaped gardens, an organic farm and extensive woods. Dig out your wardrobe for country pursuits: wellies and tweeds and your herringbone woolen flat cap. Boots and slickers are available for guest use in the mudroom. Brilliant British countryside at is best, activities include farm and orchard tours, fly fishing, classes, cinema, horseback riding nearby, clay pigeon shooting. Discover the gardens and the hidden historic follies with one of the residential experts.
Every month a selection of courses is offered in the ancient crafts and pursuits of happiness: create and connect to craft, this month it’s rush weaving and paper making. Upcoming essential oils with scent creators; master class in wooden spoon carving; oenophiles offered a tutorial tasting with senior sommelier; speaker events, circuit training; for kids: mud and guts outdoor activities. A plush screening room offers a curated program of films, speaker events a full program called The Assembly, the events are also open to the locals, a lovely gesture, making everyone feel welcome in this grand manor home.
Billionaire owner, Gerald Chan, has filled Heckfield Place with his personal 20th Century British art collection – a stop in your tracks painting around every corner, Persian rugs, original wood burning fireplaces, light flooded morning rooms, long inviting hallways and several casual rooms for reading, scratching away at a crossword puzzle or perhaps catching up on your needlepoint or drum away on your laptop. Needlepoint, yes, there were two guests stitching away in the morning room – I queried if they were ‘props’, but no, a couple of Michigander ladies at leisure! Stop and sit at a round table with an in progress wooden puzzle. Massive works of art pop off of darkly painted lime plaster walls, a dramatic effect adding punch even in hallways. After over 12 years of restoration, nothing was left to chance at Heckfield Place.
The ambience is elegant, yet homey and enormously comfortable, period antiques mixed with contemporary mid-century furnishings. Imagine plush sofas you sink into, corners peppered with comfy wing back chairs and tables set for working or afternoon tea, crackly wood burning fireplaces – a stately historic home rendered comfy for 21st Century guests. My leisurely enchanting morning consisted of views of spring ranunculus just beginning to pop through the soil, perfect fresh mint tea served alongside an orange infused muffin.
Each signature room tells its own story, offering a connection to Heckfield history, a late Georgian Mansion. The rooms are split between the main house and the Corridors, reflecting the flawless design of Ben Thompson, who trained under Ilse Crawford, illustrating the understated brilliance of British interior design. Heckfield Place has 45 bedrooms in total, spread about comfortably in the modern wing aptly named The Corridors and upstairs in the main house. I loved both. The website photos don’t say enough about some of the rooms, including The Long Room. In reality, it is an upstairs apartment with generous terrace and 180-degree views, a fireplace, fully functioning kitchen and dining room – a superb spot for multi-generations to gather.
The emphasis on self-sustainability has been essential to the reimagining of the estate. From the website description: here it begins with the soil. The kitchen garden, greenhouses, and over 700 apple and plum trees in the ancient orchard on the five-acre farm supply vegetables, milk, cheese, fruit, honey, and flowers to two on-site restaurants, Hearth and Marle. The restaurants are at the helm of celebrated chef and culinary director Skye Gyngell. Menus will rotate according to the season’s bounty. At the main restaurant, Marle, Gyngell devises a menu of just five daily-changing main dishes. A light filled room that feels more like an aerie greenhouse provides gorgeous views to augment the divine dining. I swooned over charred calcots withe Romesco and soured cream. We enjoyed Dover sole napped in grilled cucumber and a light Béarnaise sauce, fresh crunchy asparagus and of course, who can resist a custard tart with nutmeg for dessert?
The Little Bothy spa offers three spaces for personal training, yoga, and Pilates classes. Offering all-natural products from the Wildsmith Skin range. William Wildsmith, a noted 18th Century horticulturalist created the arboretum on property. A perfect place to unwind and invigorate after a day of exploring the grounds, the lakes and the walled gardens in the Hampshire heartlands. A full-size spa and swimming pool are under construction and will be open this summer.
When the sun sets, follow me to the Moon Bar. Nestled in the center of the mansion, inspired by the lunar phases, Moon Bar Cocktails are unique to Heckfield in concept, presentation and most importantly in flavor. A unique list of handcrafted cocktails uses liquors, tinctures and infusions created with fresh ingredients from the Home Farm and gardens. The spirits range from exceptional classics to incredibly rare small batch discoveries. May I suggest a Peach Leaf Spritz? A pre-dinner cocktail is essential here or in one of the other comfy sitting rooms, really no request is denied for a snack, lunch tea or cocktail in all of the public rooms. I found sipping a bubbly under the enormous sparkling ancient disco ball in the Moon Bar magical.
Best sipped after sunset.
Historic hotel lovers, Jane Austen Junkies, laidback luxury leisure seekers, beauty disciples, wanderers and garden aficionados will all be enchanted at Heckfield Place. The property is barely 40 minutes from Heathrow. Jane Austen did once live down the road in nearby Chawton, the charming bucolic villages that surround the property set the stage for the arrival. Bring a bag of books, or peruse the library shelves, so many comfy quiet rooms for indulgence.
Once is not enough, I will be back to be scrubbed and pampered at the new Summer Spa! Heckfield Place is a trifecta combination of Gerald Chan’s obsession with perfection, GM luminary Olivia Richli (multiple Aman openings over 18 years) and Michelin chef Skye Gyngell. Highly recommend!
Heckfield Place offers the luxury of an elegant estate home without stuffiness, multiple sun dappled rooms for leisurely languid afternoons, a luxurious spa, lakes and tree studded acres for roaming and hiking.
What to do in Bangkok as recommended by The Siam Hotel ! I needed another week to wander the colorful vibrant streets and waterways of Bangkok!
As the only luxury resort to be located in the heart
of Bangkok’s rarely seen palace and historical district, you have the unique
opportunity to explore with us this unknown side of one of the world’s great
From the hotel, you can access either by foot, The
Siam Boat Cruise or a short Tuk-Tuk ride, to some of the Kingdom’s finest
temples, monuments, palaces, museums, restaurants, markets, galleries,
shopping, neighborhoods, and architecture.
Slow travel is the norm here, where the journey is
just as important as the destination.
May we suggest that you: Don’t overload your schedule;
busy schedules can make you miss a new adventure.
mornings and evenings for exploring the neighborhood. The rest of the day is
best spent in The Opium Spa, poolside or perhaps taking a Muay Thai lesson in
Stay out of taxis and avoid traffic; use The Siam Boat Cruise to access points of interest along the river. Our boat runs on a fixed schedule and can drop-off and pick-up anywhere along its route. Once you arrived at The Siam you never need to get into another car until you leave!
you must use a car, The Siam has hotel limousines available 24 hours, 2 hours
advance reservation is required.
Muay Thai Class. Over
the past few years Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) has become one of the most
popular forms of sport for wellness. The Siam has built the first luxury Thai
Kickboxing gym complete with ring and professional trainers. Sign up for a
“trainer” work out. This is truly an authentic Thai experience for the mind,
body and spirit.
AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD by boat, Tuk-Tuk and/ or by foot. Private guide is available upon request. Night Flower Market (Pak Klong Talad) & Old Town. Bangkok comes alive by night. Take the night Siam Boat Cruise to Yodpiman Pier. The flower market is a feast for the senses, an experience unmatched anywhere else in the world, offering Bangkok at its best.
At the end of the market you can arrange Tuk-Tuk which
will take you around the gilded radiance, solitude and beauty of the Grand
Palace by night.
From the Grand Palace, make your way to Banglampoo for
a walk along Phra Athit Road and its many walking street tributaries.
Looking for a bit of a party? Take a stroll down the
festival like Khao San Road, the global epicentre of backpacker hedonism.
Klongs, Grand Palace,
Emerald Buddha, Wat Arun, Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha) Get an early start for this classic
journey through the most famous of Bangkok’s historic sites. Your guide and
longtail boat can depart from The Siam Pier.
Marble Temple & lunch at
Krua Apsorn. Depart from The Siam by Tuk-Tuk to the spectacular
Marble Temple, Wat Benchamabophit. From there walk through the royal neighborhood
back to The Siam for lunch at Chon or to the legendary Krua Apsorn restaurant.
Rambuttri, Khao San &
Phra Athit Roads. Nightlife, markets, walking streets, shopping, cafes,
bars and restaurants. Busy day and night, this backpacker haven has shed its
down- and-dirty image, evolving into a bustling market and nightlife
destination for trendy Thai as well as travelers. By day, you’ll find it great
for all things backpacker such as cheap internet, books and travel deals.
Starting in the evening enjoy walking on Rambuttri
Road for cafes, street side cocktail bars, boutiques and shop for almost
anything imaginable including edible insects and trendy clothes.
The legendary Khao San Road will satisfy your
hedonistic party side with a great array of night clubs and street parties that
never seem to end. All of this just a 15-minute boat ride from the hotel and a
10-minute Tuk-Tuk to get home.
Tour Starting at The Royal Barge Museum and take the trip up Klong
Bangkok Noi and Bangkok Yai to experience the floating market in the heart of
this bustling city. Visit Baan Silapin – Artists’ House for cultural
exploration before stopping by the world-famous Temple of Dawn.
China Town by Night Starting from Ratchawongse Pier, adventure through the bright lights and frenetic action that is Bangkok’s China Town. China Town by Day For those wanting to explore deeper into this fascinating and vibrant neighbourhood, take a walk through the tightly packed alleyways of Sampeng Market.
& DRINKING in the neighborhood Krua
Apsorn – Thai, lunch, The Siam Boat Cruise, Tuk-Tuk or walking. This is
the original homey, award-winning, royally patronized, everyday-Thai-food
restaurant. Expect a clientele made up of fussy families and big-haired,
middle-aged ladies, and a cuisine revolving around full-flavored, largely
seafood and vegetable-heavy central Thai dishes. As one of the most famous
restaurants in Thailand, this is a must for every visitor to The Siam. At a
minimum you must order: Green Curry Fish Balls, Stir-fried Crab Meat with
Yellow Chili and String Beans, Crabmeat Omelette, Fried Giant River Prawns, and
We recommend taking our boat cruise (5 minutes) to Wat
Rachathiwat Pier and walking 5 minutes through a beautiful old Bangkok neighborhood.
Street Food –
Thai, walking. Bangkok is world renowned for its street food. The historical neighborhood
around The Siam is home to universities, medical schools, palaces, and all of
the people that come with such institutions. These students, doctors, palace
guards, teachers, nurses, and military come from all corners of the Kingdom and
they need to eat.
To accommodate this diverse group and their equally
diverse tastes, an army of street food vendors have come from all over the
country, some as far from Laos, to feed these people.
However, because they are in the palace district,
there is a need to maintain the serenity and order of the neighborhood, so all
of these street food chefs and their carts have been designated a single street
that has become the ultimate hub for street food in the district.
That street just happens to be right in front of The
Siam. It’s a real treat to go for a walk in the morning to see sights, hear the
sounds and experience the smells and tastes of cuisine from across the Kingdom.
Maggie Choo’s Maggie Choo’s is a
mix of sexiness, mystery, and intrigue and the latest and greatest nightlife
venue to hit Bangkok. This is a hidden gem of a place, situated in the lower
level of the Novotel Silom, once the East India Company underground vault,
where you can enjoy authentic Cantonese food and much, much more. There is a
small dance floor and great live music nightly. The crowd is a mix of upper
class Thais, expats, and tourists from the Silom area.
Sing Sing Theatre Maggie Choo’s
– This bar-cum-club is one of Bangkok’s most creative interior
design concept. Paying homage to far Eastern aesthetics, you can expect
intricate wrought iron patterns, hundreds of lanterns hanging from the ceiling
and plenty of dragon imagery to go with the ‘Muses’ (elegant girls dressed in
Chinese Qipao). There is a big push into concept parties at Sing Sing too, with
themes like Underwater or Carnival being completely immersive experiences and a
whole lot of fun. Much like Maggie Choo, the crowd is a mix of upper class
Thais, expats, and tourist.
THE MICHELIN GUIDE ELEGANT
Gaggan Innovative Indian Dining.
Le Normandie Contemporary
French Dining. 30 minutes by The Siam Boat.
Mezzaluna Innovative European Cuisine. 30 minutes by The
Saneh Jaan Traditional
RUSTIC Bo.Lan Modern
TRADITIONAL Chim by
Siam Wisdom Traditional Thai.
Ginza Sushi Ichi Traditional
& DESIGN Elements French Contemporary.
J’Aime by Jean-Michel Lorain
L’Atelier De Joël Robuchon French
Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin Thai
SIMPLE Upstairs at Mikkeller Innovative European
STREET Jay Fai Home-cooked
EATING & DRINKING via The Siam Boat Cruise Along The River Of Kings Bangkok’s
riverfront was once the domain of derelict shop houses and street-side noodle
joints (still delicious). These days though, cutting-edge restaurants are
swinging open their doors by the shores of the Chao Phraya River. Stay out of
Bangkok’s evening traffic and take The Siam Boat Cruise for an evening out.
Steve Café Thai,
dinner Very local and best to arrive by boat from The Siam
and organize a taxi or Tuk-Tuk with the hotel to return. Stunning views of Rama
8 bridge, this restaurant has local charm, a relaxed feel and great food. Best
enjoyed from sunset through dinner, avoid lunch as the restaurant faces the
western sun and can be hot.
Never Ending Summer Thai,
dinner Located at the Klong San Pier in a compound of
converted old warehouses belonging to celebrity Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag,
this rustic and airy dining room is a sophisticated space to enjoy
well-prepared and beautifully presented classic Thai food, with a new expansion
on the riverfront “Summer House” serving Western food on the same roof.
Take The Siam boat 25 minutes to the Hilton Hotel pier
and walk 2 minutes to the restaurant. Bookings are a must for this hipster
haven on the river. The remaining warehouses make up the Jam Factory compound
complete with bookshops, coffee houses and concept stores. Your butler will
assist you with directions when walking to the restaurant.
Madame Musur Thai,
dinner and drinks Great cocktails and delicious
Northern Thai food are served at this thatched, I’m-in-the-jungle restaurant.
Try the house cocktail named “After the Place” a twist on a Mojito with Thai-
style liquor, lie back in your wicker chair surrounded by greenery and listen
to the gentle pedestrian hum of the street. Whether you are alone, in a pair or
even part of a group this bar and restaurant offers perfect respite from busy
Rambuttri walking street. Super local, the experience makes you reminiscent of
your post-college backpacking days. The proprietor once managed food &
beverage for Four Seasons, making this a great place to eat or drink before
exploring the nightlife of Rambuttri Road and Khao San Road.
Supanniga Eating Room x
Roots Thai, dinner “Supanniga” (Thonglor) is known for its casual
chic locations and reliable Thai food. But if there’s one thing missing from
the restaurants, it’s the view. Naturally making this the riverside Thai
restaurant we have been waiting for! PS They have an amazing selection of
dinner – With Err, you’re far enough from the mother branch’s Michelin- star
aspirations to relax a little but you’ll be getting the same meticulous
research and virtuoso execution as at Bo.lan. Probable the best of both worlds
and just a few piers down from us too.
The Rooftop at Sala
Rattanakosin Drinks The laidback ambiance is
perfect for a pre-dinner drink. You can’t order food up there, so there is also
less chance of your evening being ruined by young families. Our butler can
recommend restaurants nearby for you to continue the night. Be warn! There is
no elevator but it only 4 floors up.
80/ 20 Thai,
dinner Friendly and packed with character, 80/20 is far more creative than any
restaurant in a hostel has a right to be. The setting channels old-school
shop-house charm through retro signage, heavy wooden doors and iron grilles,
but the food is far more forward-thinking. Though the dishes are not typically
Thai, there is an emphasis on the big and bold flavors loved by locals.
Tep Bar Drinks,
dinner Tep Bar joins Chinatown’s new-wave bar scene some
years back. This restored shop-house has plenty of raw appeal, with mood
lighting and simple wooden tables. Here, you’ll find potent cocktails mixed
with Thai fruits, herbs and spices. There’s also a good line of home-infused ya
dong (Thai herbal whiskey) as well as a kitchen specializing in Thai tapas.
Enjoy your night with live traditional Thai music.
Teens of Thailand Drinks,
dinner The team behind ToT features the who’s who of the
local art and nightlife scene. Niks, mixologist and owner of Drink Academy,
changes his drink list daily! They also have a vast collection of gin, from
Hendrick’s and Tanqueray to Ashley Sutton’s Iron Balls and the must-try Hanami
TAILORS The Cotton House OP Place by The Siam Boat Cruise Located at Oriental Place, this is the go-to tailor for copying women’s clothes of the finest quality. Take the Siam Boat to the Oriental Public Pier and walk 5 minutes to Oriental Place Shopping center, first floor on the left, ask for Mrs Reed. Once you have your initial designs done the tailor will be happy to come do your fittings at The Siam.
World Group Tailor Oriental Public Pier by The Siam Boat Cruise Since
1969 their philosophy has been to excel in the art of tailoring to its
perfection. For more than 40 years, they have been serving world renowned
royalties, statesmen, dignitaries as well as their valued long-time patrons who
regard the art of dressing well as a vital part of modern living in style.
Located behind The Oriental Hotel, the shop is a quick
boat trip from The Siam to the Oriental Public Pier.
GALLARY Serindia Gallery by
The Siam Boat Cruise A gallery of fine arts and photography is located in a
60-year old post-colonial style home. Serindia means the silk road between
China and India – a term coined by past archaeologists to designate a vast
stretch of land west of China from Xinjiang all the way west to the Middle East
and down to the Himalayas and northern India. It is a place rich in the
confluence of culture, history and art, and Serindia’s books and arts reflect
these rich cultures and religions. The gallery represents international artists
from Europe, America, and Asia. Works include oil and watercolour paintings,
woodblock prints, and fine art photographs.
ATTA Gallery by
The Siam Boat Cruise The name, ATTA, means “self” in Pali – an
ancient Indian language that is also widely used in the Thai language. ATTA
Gallery works to emphasize the meaning of the Gallery’s name by promoting
self-expression of artists as well as wearers alike.
ATTA Gallery exhibits pieces of wearable art made by
jewelry artists/ designers – both established and new talents, local and
Chatuchak Weekend Market (JJ
Market) Originally a flea market started in the 1950’s by a
former prime minister who wanted to put a flea market into every town in
Thailand, Chatuchak, more affectionately known as JJ Market, is now the largest
market in Thailand. Only open on the
weekends, with over 5000 stalls, selling everything from clothing to pets,
antiques, plants, amulets, and plenty of food and drink. The market is now a
highly touristy affair, hot, crowded, and no longer dirt cheap, yet it is still
a great place to people watch, find something you don’t have to buy, and the
latest addition of impromptu cafes for sipping a cappuccino or having a cold
beer and watching the world go by make it worth an afternoon visit.
JJ Green Bangkok
up and coming night market. Think a yard sale that comes fully equipped with
local food stalls and hipster bars. If you are looking for genuine retro items
such as vinyl CDs, old car models, artwork, antiques and collectables this is
definitely a place for you. Accessories, hats, jeans are a few among the
fashionable items you can also find here.
CREATIVE SPACES Warehouse 30
by The Siam Boat Cruise The 4,000 sqm space of abandoned World War
II Era Warehouses got some love from Jam Factory’s owner, “starchitect”
Duangrit Bunnag. Warehouse 30 is a web of stores, restaurants, art spaces as
well as other creative endeavors. The indoor market showcases everything from
chairs to bags and accessories from local designers, and vintage WWII military
products. F&B options include quality salads, sandwiches, soups,
locally-sourced fruits, vegetables and superfoods.
Lhong 1919 By
The Siam Boat Cruise Lhong 1919 has
reclaimed a bunch of old warehouses and a Chinese shrine dating back to King
Rama IV (1851-1868) for its 6,800 sqm of co-working space, eateries and art and
design shops spotlighting the work of young artists. The riverfront mixed-used project is a new
destination for anoyone hankering for an outdoor venue at which to spend money
on design products from eight locally-owned shops.
Not in the mood to shop? There are quite a few dining
options available there as well; Rong Si serves up Thai standards, as does Thai
cafe and restaurant Ploenwan Panich. Karmakamet’s also has an eatery here.
City Shopping Centre by The Siam Boat Cruise River City
is a four story antique mall overlooking the Chao Phraya River. It specializes
in antiques, collectibles and a good range of fashion and jeweler shops. A
well-known landmark on the Chao Phraya riverbank, River City has been around
since 1984. Many antique shop owners here are pioneers of the trade and can
offer expert advice on their products, whether they’re genuine antiques or
The Mask: Ask for Khun May, located on the 3rd floor. They have the best SE
Asian collection of objects d’art. The Verandah and Beyond: Wood masks,
lacquer, silver and stone jewelry, wood figures and Buddhist decorative items
from Burma, Laos and Thailand (3rd floor). The
Old Time Antiques: Imagine what the estate sales of old aristocratic Thai
mansions would be like and this shop on the 4th floor is it. Ask for Khun
Vichai and give yourself a few hours. Be advised that it is
illegal to remove any image of the Buddha from Thailand without a permit from
the fine arts department. We recommend not trying to
export antique Buddha icons out of the country as it could be very difficult,
expensive and time consuming.
Thai Home Industries by The Siam Boat Cruise. On the street between The Oriental Hotel and OP Place is an old wooden warehouse. Dark and dusty and full of charm this is Thai Home Industries. For the best in rustic cutlery, bowls and hand-made metal work this is the place to go; shopping here is so much fun. The children of the owners are educated in California so communication is a breeze.
ANTIQUE HUNT Artisans at Silom Village Silom Road Ask for the owner Khun Kae. One of the best collections of SE Asian antiques and objects to be found anywhere. Located in the middle of the ground floor on the left side, it looks like an old cluttered curio shop.
House of Chao Soi
Decho between Silom & Surawong Roads This is where some of The Siam’s
collection of furniture has come from. The butlers will be happy to arrange a
private showing with the Madame of the House, Khun Chao.