The Luxe List 2009, Thailand: Ariyasom Villa, Bangkok

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While much of the Thai capital’s historic architecture is being razed, the owners of Ariyasom Villa are using their 1940s peaked-roof house as a centerpiece. Built during WWII, replete with an underground bunker, the property has been extended to include a meditation hall, library, and 25 spacious guest rooms. Thai furnishings throughout show exquisite craftsmanship, from the recycled teak floors to the silk drapes and dainty hand-painted murals. Complementing this are yards of rare fabrics, Pakistani carpets, and Burmese lacquerware collected by the property’s British owner, David Lees. Despite the central location, the gardens here are lush and tranquil; so hushed, in fact, that Thai monks use them for meditation retreats (65 Sukhumvit Soi 1; 66-2/2548-8803; ariyasom.com; doubles from US$110).

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