Built on 26 acres of Sra Paduma Palace gardens in the 1960's, the Siam Intercontinental Hotel was a well-know Thai landmark. It won an award from the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment for its environmental protection work in 1999. However, when the hotel's 30-year lease expired, it was torn down to make way for another shopping center. The 26-acre gardens will be reduced to a few acres.
Siam Paragon, a mega luxury shopping center, is planned for the site of the Siam Intercontinental Hotel. The Paragon will create an unbelievable chain of shopping centers along Phloenchit Road starting with Mahboonkrong Center, Siam Square (across the street), the "Art Museum Shopping Center" (former site of a planned art museum which has been replaced with plans for another shopping center), Discovery Center, Siam Center, Paragon, Wat Padumavanaram (a temple), World Trade Center (a shopping center in financial trouble--a rusting, unfinished tower looms over the site and the adjacent wat), Gaysorn Plaza (another failed shopping center now under renovation), Erawan Sogo, etc, etc. There's also lots of new shopping center construction north on Ratchadamri Road as well. More on Bangkok's Crucible of Construction.
(Undated postcard of the site)
The Siam Intercontinental Bangkok sent us some official info on the history of the hotel: The Siam Intercontinental Bangkok stands on 26 acres of prime property in the heart of Bangkok, belonging to the Royal Family. During the fourth reign (1851-1868) of the present Dynasty, King Mongkut ordered the construction of a small palace for royal recreation which was built in this area and named by His Majesty as "Pathumwan palace" meaning lotus palace. The property was inherited by Prince Mahidol of Songkhla, father of the present King, who had Sra Pathum Palace (Lotus Pond Palace) built.
Of the 43 acres of the Royal Estate, Sra Pathum Palace is located on 17 acres, with the remaining 26 acres leased to the Siam Intercontinental. One side of the Palace shares the same wall with the hotel and the hotel (shares a wall with) Wat Padum Vanaram, a temple built over 100 years ago.
On December 11, 1964 at exactly 10:00am (the hour designated by the Royal Astrologer as being auspicious), Her Royal Highness the Late Princess Mother unveiled the foundation stone of the hotel. At that time, the Siam Intercontinental was one of the first international hotels in Bangkok.