Staying in Bangkok
Your hotel is your refuge from the hustle and bustle of Thailand's energy-filled capital. Location is important, and most of Bangkok's accommodations are grouped in three different areas. Many contemporary hotels are dotted around the city center, a short walk from the SkyTrain. That puts you within easy reach of shopping malls, nightlife, and excellent dining options.
There are also beautiful heritage properties in Bangkok's quieter historic district—handy for sightseeing, but less convenient for getting around. Finally, both modern and heritage hotels line the banks of the Chao Phraya River. You'll have tranquil views plus a fleet of riverboats at your disposal, waiting to whisk you off to the Royal Palace or SkyTrain.
Set back from the Chao Phraya River, the Siam Hotel puts Bangkok's historic attractions, such as the Royal Palace, Rakangkositaram Wat, and the Reclining Buddha, right on your doorstep. The Art Deco-inspired property has a glassed-in central courtyard, antique-filled suites, and spotless service.
There are two hotel dining options: Chon Restaurant, offering gourmet takes on classic Thai cuisine—the nine-course tasting menu is worth the splurge—and the Deco Bar and Bistro, which serves up international dishes. Other on-site perks include pampering treatments at the grand Opium Spa, yoga classes, and meditation sessions. You can also arrange for a not-to-be-missed sunset river cruise on a traditional rice barge.
Khao Rd, Khwaeng Wachira Phayaban, Khet Dusit, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
There's a subtle film noir theme at play in Muse, from the shadow-strewn lobby—with plenty of black marble—to the vintage-style furnishings. But count on a luxury touch. The rooms and suites feature dark wood accents and floor-to-ceiling windows, while the marble bathrooms come equipped with rain showers and stand-alone tubs.
For meals, you have your pick of 19th-story views from Babette steakhouse, or Italian fare in basement-level Medici, accompanied by live opera. There's also a Prohibition-themed speakeasy. Chit Lom SkyTrain station is a 5-minute walk, making Bangkok's main historical sights a mere 40-minute ride away.
55/555 Langsuan Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
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A boutique heritage hotel in the heart of Bangkok's historic district, Chakrabongse Villas has just three rooms and four suites. The elegant property was built by Prince Chakrabongse in 1908 and is currently being run by his granddaughter. The Moroccan-themed doubles have been converted from former staff quarters, while the suites are spread across two teak villages by the pool.
As befitting a princely residence, the on-site restaurant Aharn Thai specializes in royal Thai cuisine. Dine on the terrace for across-the-river views of Wat Arun. You can also ask the friendly staff to arrange a boat tour of the Chao Phraya, or a body treatment by skilled masseuses from nearby Wat Pho, a traditional massage school.
396/1 Tatien, Maharaj Road, Phraborommaharajawang, Phanakorn
Arun Residence is an intimate, traditional-style property located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. It's next to beautifully restored 19th-century shophouses and a short stroll from Wat Pho, the Reclining Buddha, and the Royal Palace. The hotel boasts six spacious rooms filled with hand-carved furniture. Two suites have riverside balconies, while the two split-level deluxe doubles come with sumptuous loft beds.
Service is attentive and the hotel's on-site restaurant, The Deck, specializes in Italian cuisine. Even if you prefer to dine out, it's a great place to watch the sunset. During the day, you can catch a boat from the nearby river terminal to connect to the SkyTrain, which will take you to the city's main tourist attractions.
36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong, Maharat Road, Rattanakosin Island
Located within a leafy garden compound in the heart of downtown Bangkok, Ariyasom Villa overlooks a canal off Sukhumvit Road. Built as a private residence in 1942, the heritage hotel has 24 uniquely-styled rooms with heavy teak furniture, ornate mirrors, and Thai antiques. Most also come with verandas or balconies.
The Na Aroon restaurant caters to healthy eaters with delicious vegetarian and vegan offerings and a handful of seafood dishes. If you're looking to recharge after sightseeing, there's a daily meditation session held by a bonafide Buddhist monk. Hop a nearby riverboat to visit Jim Thompson House—the private art collection of an American silk entrepreneur—or even head all the way to the Golden Mount to get your fill of wats, museums, and palaces.
65 Sukhumvit Soi 1 Klongtoey Nua Khwaeng Khlong Toei Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, Bangkok
Dream Hotel Bangkok
Sheathed in glass, lit with neon flares, and with a lobby that looks like a high fashion catwalk, cutting-edge Dream sits right in the middle of the city's hedonistic nightlife strip. It attracts a lively mix of clientele, from romancing couples and aspiring celebrities to travelers set on painting the town red. The common areas boast Pop Art-inspired decor, while the rooms—equipped with larger-than-life TV screens and blue sleeping lights—have a distinctly futuristic vibe.
Flava, the on-site restaurant, has a menu range to satisfy even the pickiest of diners, with both contemporary Thai dishes and Western classics. The forward-thinking breakfast spread even includes Thai street food. Head to the rooftop pool bar for an early evening cocktail, or get ready to bust a move with DJ sets in the lounge.
10 Sukhumvit Soi 15, Sukhumvit 15 Alley, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok
Popular with artists and designers, the Cabochon is an intimate, colonial-style hotel situated in downtown Bangkok. It's furnished with antiques from all over Indochina, with stuffed animal heads adding a safari-like ambiance. The four rooms, four suites, and four self-contained apartments all come with vintage-style beds and sleek, brand-new bathrooms—some with Indonesian copper bathtubs.
Get a taste of traditional dishes from all over Thailand at the whimsical Thai Lao Yeh restaurant, and be sure not to miss the sunset view from the rooftop pool, which looks down on surrounding skyscrapers. The hotel is centrally located, just a 10-minute SkyTrain ride from the shopping complexes surrounding Siam station. But it's also off a quiet side street, so rest assured it's insulated from the city's noise.
14/29 Sukhumvit Soi 45 Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Wattana, Bangkok