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Beautiful Bangkok is a city where past and present, history and modernity, and comfort and exploration coexist. Care to lounge in supreme luxury in a world-class five-star medical spa for days on end? You can. Would you rather spend your days sampling the wares of more food stalls than you can possibly count? You can do that, too. Perhaps architecture is your favorite, and you’d like to explore gorgeous historic temples or modern buildings? You can do both. Simply put, Bangkok has it all, and so much more.
That same diversity of choices extends to lodging. Whether you want a luxe hotel room, a tidy and unfussy apartment-style suite or even a charming hostel, complete with insta-roommates, you’ll find it in Bangkok.
Best Overall: AriyasomVilla
Tradition and comfort come together at this luxury boutique hotel, a refurbished 1940s villa. Rooms are appointed with Thai-style art and décor and a combination of European and Thai furniture, both antique and 1940s-style reproduction. Warm refurbished teak floors, high-end bathroom facilities (including large soaking tubs), air conditioning, and luxury bedding are just some of the comforts that will greet you in your room, but what guests rave about is the attention to detail and service, which extends to the delicious on-site vegetarian restaurant and the full-service spa.
Lush landscaping and a greenery-filled courtyard make the AriyasomVilla feel quiet and secluded, but it’s right in the heart of the city, just blocks from shopping, restaurants and sightseeing, and next door to the Bumrungrad Hospital, a major medical center. The back of the hotel abuts a channel where guests can hail water taxis, and street cabs are readily available nearby. The number 3 train runs just a few blocks away. For stylish luxury with authentic Thai touches in a perfect location, you won’t find better than AriyasomVilla.
Best Budget: Phranakorn-Nornlen Hotel
This quirky little hotel offers guests a quiet and comfortable oasis in a great location near the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Rooms, which range from singles to family suites, are individually decorated with bright colors and a bohemian hodgepodge of art and furniture. All rooms have ensuite bathrooms with an open shower (no curtains or enclosures), and amenities, including shampoo and lotions, are hand-made on site. Organic vegetarian breakfast, made with vegetables grown on the premises, is included in the price of the room. Guests can also have dinner at the private rooftop restaurant overlooking the city.
Best Boutique: The Okura Prestige Bangkok
It might seem odd to choose a Japanese-style hotel in Bangkok, but if elegant contemporary décor and luxury amenities appeal, be sure to have a look at this stunning option. It’s a bit larger than what one might think of as a traditional boutique hotel, but thanks to the pinpoint attention to detail and the high-end service that Japanese hotels are famous for, it feels perfectly intimate. Guests enjoy a slate of high-end amenities, including a spectacular cantilevered rooftop infinity pool, from which you have a view of the entire city. A full-service spa, deluxe fitness center, private club lounge for suite guests and an excellent French restaurant are also all on site.
Rooms are elegantly appointed in pale colors with luxe fabrics and minimalist wood furniture. Those who appreciate technology and connectivity will love the 42-inch flat screen televisions with complimentary video on demand, free and fast Wi-Fi, a tech-ready workstation and a bedside touchscreen control panel. Bathrooms are equally sleek and modern and include both a rainforest shower and a separate deep tub, as well as Japanese-style electronic toilets. Bathroom amenities are from the Thai-made Harnn brand.
Best for Families: Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok
Kids will go wild for the Kempinski Kids Club at this gorgeous hotel connected to the massive luxury Siam Paragon shopping center. There, they can spend the day doing art projects, jumping in the ball pit, singing karaoke, playing video games and more, all under the supervision of professional staff. While they’re off having fun, parents can enjoy the in-house spa, pool or fitness center, or take advantage of the executive lounge for work purposes.
Rooms are generally quite large throughout the chic, modern-style hotel, but people with kids in tow should consider upgrading to the family suite, which offers not just a separate bedroom for parents, but a full kitchen and dining area, which is always useful for feeding the younger set. Room service and several in-house restaurants are also an option for meals and there are a huge number of restaurants for all tastes in the adjacent shopping mall and the immediate vicinity.
Best Romance: Sukhothai Bangkok
When you pass through the gates of the Sukhothai Bangkok, you leave the hustle and bustle of the city and enter a peaceful oasis. Enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner at one of the large urban resort’s on-site restaurants, indulge in dessert at the decadent chocolate buffet, and stroll around the softly-lit lotus ponds in the courtyard before retiring to your sumptuous suite.
In your room, you’ll enjoy luxe contemporary Thai décor with teak furniture and floors and Thai silk embellishments. An extra-large bathtub, separate rainfall shower, top-of-the-line bathroom amenities and a positively dreamy bed with extra-soft linens and a pillow menu for a flawless fit make it a perfect place to spend some indoors time with your other half.
Best Luxury: The Siam
There are a number of five-star hotels in Bangkok, but the exquisite Siam stands head and shoulders above them all. A restored traditional boat for guest cruises along the Chao Phraya river, a museum-class collection of antiques spread throughout the public spaces, endless lush tropical courtyards and greenery, private Muay Thai instruction, a world-class spa and award-winning restaurants, a complimentary cell phone for local calls,… the amenities span from the big-ticket pluses to the most delicate detail and are always tied together with some of the world’s finest service.
Guestrooms are exquisitely appointed, each one uniquely outfitted with antique art pieces, contemporary furniture and every creature comfort a person could imagine. All include a massive soaking tub and separate rainfall shower in an opulent but exceedingly tasteful bathroom, and the pool villas include a private courtyard and swimming pool. If there’s anything you could need or want, simply call up your private butler (each room gets one) and your needs will be attended to. The Siam is just a little bit outside of town, but its location on the river (and the convenient private boat) make it fast and easy to get to all of Bangkok’s major attractions, without sitting in traffic.
Best Nightlife: Aloft Bangkok
Younger travelers will love the modern, trendy aesthetic of this reasonably-priced hotel, from the rooftop pool to the popular nightclub in the lobby. Rooms are decorated minimally but use bright colors for a style that is simple and global, if not necessarily hyper-local. Suites offer bathtubs but basic rooms are shower-only; probably not a problem if you’re planning to spend most of your time outside the room.
The Aloft Bangkok is close to many markets and sightseeing options, and convenient to both water taxis and the BTS, so the entire city is within striking distance. The immediate neighborhood, though, is a major hotbed for nightlife: bars, dancing, restaurants and clubs of all kinds, including the very popular Levels Club, which is right next door. If you sleep through the delicious complimentary breakfast, hangover fuel can be delivered via a reasonably-priced room service menu.
Best Business: Peninsula Bangkok
Whether you’re in Bangkok for a simple meeting or you’ve got something far grander planned, the Peninsula Bangkok is ready to meet your needs and then some. Multiple ballrooms, boardrooms and mixed-function rooms, all with top-quality design, are available, as is an experienced event and meeting-planning staff and one of Bangkok’s only private helipads.
Even the simple Superior Room has soothing contemporary Thai décor, views of the Chao Phraya river and the Bangkok skyline, a king or pair of twin beds, a sofa and a workstation, fully electronic lighting, entertainment, and climate control, a marble bathroom, as well as all the tech hookups a modern business traveler could need: Wi-Fi, wired Internet, a VOIP call service, a smartphone/tablet docking station and an in-room printer/scanner/fax machine. Suites, which vary in size, are even more luxurious and offer dining or entertaining areas which are meeting-ready with A/V hookups.
All guests have access to an extensive fitness center and beautiful pool, multiple high-end restaurants, a full-service spa, activities for children and families, rides in the hotel’s iconic dark green Rolls-Royce Silver Spurs (or the hotel’s signature green Tuk-Tuk), river trips on refurbished antique rice barges and much more. The hotel’s location is excellent for those who’d like to get out and see some sights; right on the river, it’s just minutes by water taxi to all of the city’s major attractions.
Best Hostel: The Yard Hostel
Travelers looking for a low-impact stay will love the DIY and green aesthetic of this quirky, clean hostel, built largely out of repurposed shipping containers. (Don’t worry — they’re fully wired and even have air conditioning!) Choose from a women’s dorm, two mixed dorms, or several inexpensive private rooms. The Yard, which takes its name from its lush green central courtyard area, provides a variety of impressive amenities, all of which are offered with both your comfort and the environment in mind: a free reusable glass water bottle, free-to-borrow bicycles, a library/book exchange, and more. Breakfast is included.
Hostels are always a great place to meet fellow travelers, but the Yard actively encourages it via planned group activities like movies and yoga and encouraging guests (and their friends) to mingle at their small bar. The Yard is in the Ari neighborhood, which is a bit outside of walking distance from major attractions but is more charming and, well, neighborhoody than much of downtown Bangkok. It’s sort of a hipster/artsy area, with lots of quirky restaurants, galleries, and shops, and it’s just minutes to everything via the sky train.