A Boutique Hotel with a difference, Hotel Muse is the inspirational journey of the worldly traveller whose own personal muse is captured elegantly as a symposium of storied artefacts and crafted objects selflessly displayed for the enjoyment of others.
Hotel Muse Bangkok is discreetly located on the affluent Lang Suan road area of central Bangkok within walking distance of Chidlom, in the heart of the city’s prime retail district. Hotel Muse was Accor’s first M Gallery hotel in Bangkok and because of this specialised care was given to its debut. From the outset, it was agreed that the project should challenge the idea of artistic experimentation.
The design brief provided was very simple; Hotel Muse should celebrate Art and History. PIA set their mind to the task of creating a space of sophistication and mystery. While most designers, when faced with Hotel Muse’s compact size, would recommend a sparingly minimalist interior, the mandate that was preferred was to be relentlessly maximalist. By applying layer upon layer of carefully tweaked details, the aim was to create an air of intimacy and opulence. In paying tribute to Accor’s Gallic heritage as well as the locality, the hotel’s design focuses on a specific period in Thai history, while dutifully incorporating historic French artisanal elements.
Hotel Muse encapsulates the social and artistic milieu of fin de siècle Europe and King Rama V-era. As was fashionable at the time, smaller residential summer palaces were constructed in a variety of styles, ranging from the classically inspired Renaissance period, through to Neo-Classical and Art Deco influences. The design team drew on references from these Architectural styles to derive a narrative representing a unique and harmonious blend of different Interior styles and lively discussion points.
Using quality materials and hewing closely to a range of historical styles, the disparity of these elements were leavened by PIA’s skilful ability to fuse non-traditional colours such as browns, blacks, whites and greys, as well as clever touches which aim to blend the services and functions required of a modern luxury hotel.
Classically inspired furniture was ergonomically reinvented and customised to enhance comfort while integrating seamlessly with genuine antiques and artefacts in both public and private spaces. Detailed ironwork and decorative motifs were produced by local Artisans ensuring Thai sensibility as well as timeless elegance.
Based partly on the theme of a stately family home and with particular reference to Phra Ram Ratchaniwet Palace in Phetchaburi Province and Suan Kularb Palace in Bangkok, Le Salon welcomes guests with an inspired take on the sitting room. Modestly residential in scale, the space is enveloped in a series of three centred and two-centred arches to guise and frame the journey from transitional spaces on this floor. Le Salon is deliberately dark and moody with up lighting providing the primary source of illumination as well as an overall sense of intimacy.
Hotel staff wait attentively at their bureaus ready to welcome you on arrival. In this cosy and inviting space, furniture and decorative objects serve to connect different eras. Guests can relax and take in the storied atmosphere in the comfort of plush Chesterfield sofas with Persian rug underfoot, all while their hosts attend to their every need. Meanwhile, the transition from the Lobby to the floor below is one of Hotel Muse’s best-known design statements with decorative wrought ironwork on the landing, lift entry, and stair hall which descends to the Medici Restaurant.
The Medici Restaurant’s location on the basement floor offers guests a novel experience of dining in an exclusive culinary den. Combining the elegance of a fine-dining Italian ristorante with the relaxed informality of a cantina, Medici prides itself on entertaining dining experiences mingled with Mediterranean influences and underpinned thought locally sourced, organic ingredients from the Royal Agricultural Project.
Materials chosen are rustic in appearance, complementing the robust Italian cuisine on offer. With real wood and stylized metal framed barrels lining one entire wall, Medici embraces its industrial appeal. This is a gentle nod to the Industrial Revolution with exposed concrete, antique metal and burnt wood juxtaposed with delicate Italianate iron fretwork. Exposed concrete beams are given a lacy look with dominant iron arches adding a sense of residential proportion to the impressive 5-metre high ceiling volume. To complete the look, tables are set closely together to create a cosy atmosphere.
At Babette’s the Steakhouse Restaurant, intimate old world charm and roaring twenties élan commingle. In contrast to the subdued dark tones prevalent throughout much of the hotel, the venue presents a brighter palette with the ample use of mirrors and pastel geometric wall panels embellished with light grey decorative and accenting materials. Design motifs for the floor, ceiling and even walls were inspired by the coffered ceilings found at Phaya Thai Palace in Bangkok. This panelling encapsulates a collection of ornate wood picture frames which are composed and hung along the walls. Carefully chosen furniture and well worn recycled parquetry flooring provide a sense of domestic comfort.
Located on the 24th and 25th floors, the Speakeasy Rooftop Bar and Restaurant takes its cues from Thailand’s Vimanmek Palace, the world’s largest building made entirely of golden teak. The rooftop consists of a series of cupolas, with one large dome in the centre flanked by four smaller domes used to crown the roof. The Interior combines references from Vimanmek Palace as well as a layout incorporating secret rooms to create a fused prohibition vibe. Thai motifs in the form of wooden filigree feature prominently on the walls and ceilings. Besides its artistic value, the filigree hides exhaust service outlets in the Cigar Room, while custom made ceiling fans are reminiscent of traditional handheld leaf fans in Thai culture.
The 174 Guestrooms exude colonial warmth fused with Asian and European highlights to set the tone of a curated guest living quarters. The rooms are spaciously designed for guests to work or relax in. Full height windows afford natural light and views adding additional warmth to the distressed wooden floors and lacquered wooden wall panelling which wraps around the bed head. At each headboard is a graphic montage of the historical elements which have served to inspire the concept.
Furniture has that vintage feel and is stylized in the form of leather reading chairs, chaise lounge and cabinetry which resembles vintage travel cases. There is an innate feeling of old world charm, but this is afforded all of the modern conveniences you would expect, including a luxurious deep freestanding bathtub for you to immerse yourself in after a long days exploration.
Hotel Muse is a superb blend of cosmopolitan chic with playful elegance. An experiential journey crafted in the opulence of the late 19th and early 20th-century period emerges at every turn. The aesthetic is enhanced by facets of modernity from later design movements leading right up to the present day. Crucial in creating this seductive mixture of Classical and Neo-Classical styles are carefully chosen materials and colours, along with adroitly placed lighting — the result is a dynamic juxtaposition of periods and styles which upturn conventional notions of hotel design.
Project: Hotel Muse Bangkok by M Gallery Collection
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Design Studio: PIA Interior