In Asia, luxury hotels are generally supersized affairs, where everything from the continental breakfast spread to the dimensions of a bathtub exist on a grand scale. Bangkok, in particular, is home to a number of high-end hotels, each with nearly a thousand immaculately maintained rooms. That’s why the family-owned Eugenia, a restored 19th-century colonial house with only twelve suites, is such a stand-out alternative. Though small in size, there’s nothing especially understated about the lavish interior design, which fuses old-world refinement with a quirky vintage sensibility, in a manner characteristic of some of London’s notoriously hip boutique hotels.
Gleaming antique Jaguars and Mercedes-Benzes shuttle guests from the airport to the palm-tree-framed hotel, centrally located in Bangkok City. The retro vibe continues in the lobby and throughout the ground floor, which is outfitted with eclectic decor ranging from Indian light fixtures and African hunting trophies to a stuffed peacock and carved wooden furniture from British and French Colonial Burma. Guest suites are more simply furnished with four-poster beds topped with white Belgian Flamant linens, copper bathtubs, and old-fashioned chaises longues on dark wood floors.
The Eugenia’s smart, sophisticated character is in its finest form in the hotel’s public spaces, including a cozy library stocked with a first-rate collection of art, cuisine, and design books, an inviting courtyard and pool, and the Zheng He lounge, which offers gourmet coffee and tea service all day and a superb vodka selection at night. The D.B. Bradley Dining Room, named after the first Western physician to travel to Siam as a missionary, is a petite space featuring lovely details like painted gold wallpaper and delicate china. Gourmet staples like parma ham, crab miso, truffles, quail eggs, and pad thai are successfully paired by an attentive chef. In a playful wink to the hotel’s varied cultural influences, the female staff — always smiling, in true Thai fashion — bustle about in French maid costumes.