Of the many Western-style hotels that mushroomed across Bangkok in the 1960s, principally to accommodate large numbers of U.S. servicemen on leave from the Vietnam War (which was raging about 1,000 km to the east), the Federal Hotel was considered the granddaddy of them all.

Perhaps this is because its construction — in a 1960s style recalling the 1920s moderne style — predated U.S. involvement in the Indochina conflict by a couple of years, and in large part because of its legendary excellent service. In any case, it gained extraordinary guest-loyalty over the decades.

Since 2000, many of the hotels of the '60s have been demolished to make way for condos and shopping malls, including a beautiful icon of the 1960s, the Siam Intercontinental Hotel, which was knocked down in 2002 to make way for the Siam Paragon, a massive and unsightly high-end mall.