The Eugenia: The Charm of Old World Siam
I do not get a chance to come home to Thailand often due to my work commitments in London, but every time I do, I try to visit as many unique and inspiring places as possible. Over the years, I manage to find several hideaways which I frequently visit every time I am in town… some evokes the simplicity of modern Thai lifestyle, others transport me back to the old Siam [Siam is the old name for Thailand], a charming old world which is fast disappearing. One example of the latter can be found at The Eugenia on 31 Soi Sukhumvit in Bangkok downtown.
The Eugenia is one of the very few surviving old Thai houses, which has been converted into a small boutique hotel and spa. Its design and construction is of late 19th century era where Thailand starts to receive some western architectural influence. Previously owned by Mr. Eugene, a Taiwanese interior designer who moved to Bangkok in 1998, the house is beautifully preserved, full of eclectic artefacts from all over the world which are collected by Mr. Eugene from his travels especially from Africa, Europe and Asia, all of which reflect his love for art and travel. The relics range from old colonial antique furniture from Asia, European antiques, his father’s collection of traditional Chinese furniture to African tribal textiles and prints. I love coming here because of its sense of tranquillity right in the middle of the city. It feels like I have time travelled back one hundred year, and this is my home away from home.
The Eugenia houses only 12 guestrooms, a small spa facility, a swimming pool courtyard, D.B.Bradley Dining Room – a colonial inspired dining room named after Dan Beach Bradley, a missionary settling in Thailand as his new home; and last but not least, my favourite hideaway, Zheng He Lounge – a library lounge named after the Great Chinese Voyager, Zheng He, where one can dine and lounge in a cosy and homely atmosphere. I particularly recommend their afternoon tea because it is a fusion between English afternoon tea and Thai street snacks, which is unique to The Eugenia. During the day, the house is very quiet, and it is this serene atmosphere that is perfect for brainstorming, or quiet reflection, or simply for relaxation, which is very rare to find in the middle of Bangkok where everything is an absolute chaos and life moves at a speed of light, which is very overwhelming for someone who is used to English pace like me.
So if you are ever happen to be in Bangkok, I highly recommend that you visit The Eugenia, even just for a drink, and look around the house because a glimpse of Thailand’s past and its tradition are something that is very hard to find in modern Thailand, especially in Bangkok where everything is demolished instead of conservation or refurbishment to make way for quick commercial gain.