This is a guest post by the lovely Eva (feeling very Chinese while staying at Shanghai Mansion – see below) who works with me at Fleewinter (a boutique London tour operator that offers Asia holidays). She has written this excellent guide about the best boutique hotels in Bangkok… well worth a read!
As almost all travelers to Thailand (or even to other Asian destinations) will go through Bangkok at one point, I have put an extra effort into finding the best accommodation in Thailand’s capital, and have spent hours in Bangkok’s infamous traffic to discover the best boutique and luxury hotels… and, I have to say I am pretty pleased with the results.
A few general thoughts about the city itself: One night in Bangkok… is not enough (and sorry if this song is now stuck in your head for the rest of the day!), but two or three nights probably will be. While Bangkok is home to some some pretty amazing must-see highlights of the country (imagine dazzling temples, glamorous palaces and colourful markets) and while there are endless shopping, dining and entertainment options, many visitors find Bangkok a bit hectic and chaotic. After many visits to Bangkok, I got used to the “Bangkok way of life” and now I enjoy the city and discover new corners every time, but, I admit, it may take a few visits to fall in love.
If a city is hectic, it is even more important to have a lovely hotel room to come home to after an exciting day of explorations. These are my top 7 of the best boutique hotels in Bangkok:
The Siam, Royal Dusit District
The Siam is actually one of my favourite hotels in the world. This 39-room urban luxury retreat is not just a hotel but a stunning work of art. I am a huge fan of all hotels designed by genius and globally acclaimed architect Bill Bensley, he just doesn’t fail to surprise me over and over again (another example is the breathtaking Intercontinental Danang, Vietnam, which Delia had covered in this post, or the wonderful Four Seasons Chiang Mai, more details here). The overall setting of the hotel reflects the period of Bangkok’s greatest grandeur, under King Rama V, with Art Deco accents and hand crafted exquisite furnishings. A muted colour scheme of black, white, cream, grey and neutrals has been combined with natural textures such as wood, weave, leather and stone and precious antique pieces can be found at every turn. Of course, this 5* haven offers all amenities one could wish for, but also has some quirky features like a hotel-own traditional Thai tattoo studio (a list of high profile celebrities had their tattoos done here), and its own amazing river boat which takes guests pretty much anywhere along Chao Phraya River. Staying here has its price tag, but if you want to splurge on something on your Thailand holiday, this is where it is really really worth it. Find out more about The Siam here.
Ariyasomvilla, Sukhumvit area
This charming authentic Thai villa was built in 1942 but opened as a boutique hotel in 2008, maintaining a traditional 1940s and 1950s theme with all the modern amenities of the 21st century. The concept of this hotel is to provide its guests a natural and healthy experience, as such guests are offered complimentary water in glass bottles instead of plastic bottles (which is mostly common in Thailand), the pool is a saltwater pool, the bathroom amenities are made of natural ingredients and the sheets and pillow cases are made of 100% cotton. Ariyasomvilla is located in the middle of the city but you will feel like you have arrived in a tropical lush garden retreat, far away from Bangkok’s hustle and bustle. The hotel is still in the hands of the original family who built the house, and this can be seen in every aspect. The owner greeted us personally and recommended the fakon (fake bacon) for breakfast (he is a vegetarian). No need to mention that our meal was delicious. This is a fabulous option for visitors looking for an affordable and personal experience. Find out more about Ariyasomvilla here.
Riva Surya, Rattanakosin area
The Riva Surya boutique hotel seriously ticks all the boxes to be one of our favourite places to stay in Bangkok. The design of this 68-rooms stunning boutique hotel is a mix of Traditional Thai style with modern elements. The hotel’s location is a perfect base for sightseeing trips as it is surrounded by some of the city’s most treasured historical sites like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho temple and the National Gallery. Pier 13 is situated next to the hotel which makes it easy to get around: Just hop on a speed boat leaving to the city centre and the Saphan Taksin BTS station every 15 minutes, or book one of the long tail boats to explore the city’s klongs. However, the best thing about the hotel is its riverside pool and large deck. I just loved sipping on one of their delicious cocktails while observing the life on the river. The perfect way to end an exciting day in Bangkok. Find out more about Riva Surya here.
U Sathorn, Sathorn
The boutique hotel U Sathorn Bangkok is located in a peaceful part of Sathorn, a district known to be really busy. Once you arrive, you won’t believe you are in the middle of a city with a population of over 8 million. The 86 rooms are located in three low rise wings in a courtyard style building surrounded by restful green areas with a swimming pool as the centrepiece. The overall design of this urban resort was conceived in a French Colonial style with a contemporary twist inspired by Sri Lankan Geoffrey Bawa who was regarded as one of the most influential Asian architects of the twentieth century. We love U’s innovative concept of service which allows guests to enjoy their room for a full 24 hours from arrival as well as breakfast whenever/wherever during their stay. Find out more about U Sathorn here.
sala rattanakosin, Rattanakosin area
sala rattanakosin is situated, not hard to guess, in the historic Rattanakosin area along Chao Phraya River. Right across from the famous Wat Arun (aka. Temple of Dawn) and next to Wat Po (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), the location really couldn’t be better. This intimate boutique hotel only comprises of 15 rooms, giving the staff the possibility to focus on the guests’ needs. The best part of this hotel, however, is the chic open-air rooftop bar and lounge, with stunning views of Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun and other historical sights. It invites its guests to sit back with a cocktail and observe the busy life on the river. Find out more about sala rattanakosin here.
Shanghai Mansion, Chinatown
I must say, I adore the Shanghai Mansion. This quirky boutique hotel in Chinatown is bright, bold, very Chinese and great fun. It certainly isn’t for everyone though, as I wouldn’t exactly class this hotel a relaxing oasis. The decor at Shanghai Mansion is opulent, with silk upholstery and bedding, ornamental blossom trees inside the rooms, antique Chinese four-poster beds, birds cages in bathrooms and red and lilac painted walls. It’s kind of romantic and yet wonderfully kitsch at the same time! If you want something different and be right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, the Shanghai Mansion is for you. Find out more about Shanghai Mansion here.
Villa Phra Sumen, Rattanakosin
Villa Phra Sumen sits in the heart of historic Bangkok, located on Phra Sumen Road which ran along the ancient city’s walls and connected Phra Sumen and Maha Kan Forts over two hundred years ago. Among the 14 forts that were built to protect the city from enemy attacks in the late 17th century, Phra Sumen and Maha Kan Forts are the only ones that still stand today. The urban boutique hotel comprises two converted and restored historic buildings, offering 29 guest rooms, combining both contemporary and classic Thai styles. It is perfectly suited for guests seeking serenity and privacy in an environment which conjures of the atmosphere of hundreds of years ago. It offers great value for money in a very good location for your exploration of Bangkok. Find out more about Villa Phra Sumen here.
Et voila, these are my hand-picked hotel suggestions for your next trip to Bangkok. And being in Bangkok is even more fun if you have a few days of relaxation at one of Thailand’s stunning beaches to look forward to. If you would like to book any of these hotels with me or talk to me about arranging a holiday or honeymoon for you in Thailand please feel free to drop me an email and I can give you a ring. Check out some of the Thailand holiday itineraries I have put together here for my boutique London-based travel agency.
Thanks for reading!
Love, x Eva