This page contains all the previous blogs I made about centrally-located Bangkok Hotels for easy referencing in the future.
Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam: Another value-for-money option in the Land of Smiles
Bangkok never runs of brand-new hotels opening left and right. Come hot and humid day or wet and flooded nights, the Land of Smiles continues to rake in millions of tourists….an excellent reason for new properties to keep on cropping up.
This time, Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam is set to unveil its first brand come February 1, 2012. This will make Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia and the first in Asia Pacific outside Greater China and Japan to welcome the entry of the successful Holiday Inn Express brand.
So some of you might ask, what’s so special about this one? I’ll give you three good reasons:
1) Free Breakfast – this is a staple of all Holiday Inn Express hotels around the world. For the Siam Bangkok pit stop, a limited buffet breakfast will be served on the 7th floor restaurant, with a separate counter where you can “grab & go” for your meals.
2) Free Wi-Fi – No questions asked. As long as you are a hotel guest, you can access the internet anywhere – be it the common areas, 7th floor resto or the comforts of your own room.
3) Excellent Location – Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam will particularly interest shoppers who want to stay within arms’ reach of MBK and Siam Square. On top of that, you are only 90 steps away from the nearest skytrain station (@National Stadium). Very convenient indeed!So if you plan to return to (or make a first-time visit to) Bangkok on or after February 1, 2012, consider staying at Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam. You will definitely be able to take advantage of one of their 300 brand-new and tastefully-designed rooms sized at a minimum of 23 sq.m..
Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam is at 889 Rama 1 Road, Wang Mai Pathumwan, Bangkok, TH. Hotel Front Desk can be reached at: 66-02-6560318. Hotel Fax No: 66-02-6560378
A First-Timer’s Guide to Centrally-located Hotels in Bangkok / Part 1
I have made a small reputation of myself giving tips and recommendations to first-time (and repeat) visitors to one of my favorite destinations, Bangkok. People frequenting sites like tripadvisor.com and asia-web direct forums have benefitted a lot from my well-earned experiences regarding the Thai capital for well over the past decade. So I think it’s high time that I share the same in my own blog, with a few tweaks here & there to make things more fresh and personal. Here goes!
Basic Rule of Thumb:
Always pick a hotel located close to the skytrain!
In a city like Bangkok where the traffic always gets as bad as Manila, you don’t want to spend your time cursing the endless bumper-to-bumper gridlocks. You wouldn’t want to be at the mercy of taxi drivers, either. Local transports are plenty, but if you don’t speak the language, there will always be the inconvenience of taking the right bus. Tuk-tuks, on the other hand, should not be considered a default mode of transportation. It is very touristy to ride one but no more than twice in a single trip.
The Skytrain will help in navigating your way around – quickly and painlessly, that is.
Siam Central is the Skytrain’s main station where all its routes converge. And since this is located right smack in the middle of Siam Square, this is the area you might want to consider as your base during a brief 3-5 day stay.
This area can stretch from the MBK Shopping Centre all the way to the Central Chitlom (see map below.) There is an elevated walkway connecting pedestrians in between so accomodations around the vicinity are always safe bets. There are so many malls here that the true-blue shopaholic will find heaven in checking out Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, Central World, Gaysorn Plaza, Amarin, MBK and the small shopping streets inside Siam Square itself.
For travellers who fancy high-end accomodations, there will always be Intercontinental Bangkok, Centara Grand World and Grand Hyatt Erawan to consider. Staying in these properties will set you back at least US$250++ a night for a twin sharing room. If you don’t want to splurge that much but still want to experience some luxury, you can do no wrong with Novotel Siam Square, Siam@Siam Design Hotel, Holiday Inn Bangkok and Pathumwan Princesss (right beside MBK) where a room can be had starting at US$150++ (with breakfast included if you book with online hotel providers like Asiarooms or Sawadee.com.) The list doesn’t end there, though. Should your budget for a hotel room be anywhere in the range of US$80-120++, take a pick between Arnoma and Courtyard by Marriott Bangkok. The walk to the skytrain from either of the two may be a tad longer but your convenience won’t be signficantly compromised.
Let’s not forget the really budget-conscious tourists. There are two inns that emphasize on clean rooms in a safe environment here – Krit Thai Mansion and Golden House VIP (not to be confused with the similarly-named establishment in Sukhumvit 50 so look at the image below to know that you’re booking the right one.) The former is just a kitty corner away from the National Stadium station attached to MBK, while the latter is a stone’s throw from the stairs of Chitlom Station. These are popular choices for those looking for US$50-below accomodations. No frills here, and the rooms are a lot fewer so better book early to secure one in time for your vacation. Google them (or click the link on their names above) and deal directly (by email) for guaranteed reservations.
There are still other options in this area like staying in serviced apartments like Grande Centrepoint Ratchadamri or Bliston Suwan Park View. Families will love the spaciousness and house-like ambience complete with a kitchen and living room. Prices here can go as low as US$70++ for a studio to a US$100++ 1-BR or a US$150++ 2-BR unit. Do keep in mind, though, that not all of the services and facilities available in a typical hotel – like varied restaurant options or a readily-available tour desk – can be found here. Peace and quiet is at a premium, nonetheless.
Pratunam (at least 20-25 minutes by foot from Siam Square) is also a popular area where hotels can be reserved at lower prices but since the skytrain is a relatively long trek from here, I purposedly did not include my recommendations. But if you insist, I would shortlist the likes of Baiyoke Sky, Indra Regent and Grand Diamond Suites for your consideration.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog. Next stop….Silom!
A First-Timer’s Guide to Centrally-located Hotels in Bangkok / Part 2
The first part of this blog focused on the Siam Square area which I recommended as the best location for a hotel when vacationing in Bangkok.
Let’s move on to my 2nd most preferred base in the Land of Smiles – Silom (including Surawong.)
What attracts tourists to stay in this part of Bangkok? I can name you three:
1) the Patpong night market (where I suggest you spend less because the prices of items on sale are higher)
2) the red-light district (starting from Patpong on Silom all the way to the full length of Surawong)
3) the night life (not as expensive compared to the classy bars on Sukhumvit)
I’d also like to add that this area is the best compromise if you want to stay reasonably close to the Chao Phya riverside area without getting stuck in the fringes. Just hop into the skytrain and get off after 3 stops.
This area actually used to be the most popular in downtown Bangkok up until Siam Square became a shoppers’ paradise and one-stop amusement place for families.
Okay, let’s start with the expensive hotel choices here. Top of the list would be Dusit Thani, Pan Pacific, Le Bua at State Tower and Sofitel Silom. Among the four, Le Bua is the most opulent, but it is situated at the far end of Silom leading to the riverside area. The walk to the skytrain from here is a minimum of 12 minutes in brisk mode. Alternatively, Dusit Thani and Pan Pacific are the most practical because the skytrain and subway stations are right in front of the hotel. These two are also the closest to the night market, night life and red-light district. Sofitel Silom is somewhere in between the aforementioned. It is right in the middle of Silom, a bit farther from the Chong Nonsi station and the night market, but offers competitive rates and service. Price range for these properties is between US$120-200 for a Superior room.
How about the mid-range spenders willing to shell out at least US$70-100 a night? Well, you have several possibilities. First off my head are Montien, Narai, Silom Serene, Holiday Inn Silom Plaza and Saladang Place. All of the five are old and have seen better days. Maintenance and renovations, though, have restored them to some points of their old glories. Montien is on Surawong and is practically at the doorstep of Patpong, nearer to the subway than the skytrain. Narai Hotel, while in the middle of Silom and requiring a longer walk to the skytrain, is actually the best value for money given its reasonable price with abundant breakfast buffet included. It is Arnoma’s counterpart this side of downtown Bangkok. I would put Holiday Inn Silom Plaza in the same vein, except that its farther location demands a trickier access to the skytrain from a different direction. Silom Serene, on the other hand, is an independently-owned hotel which offers good service in quieter surroundings. Lastly, Saladang Place is originally a serviced residence for expats but has long been converted to a hotel-like establishment with bigger rooms and an excellent location very close to the skytrain, subway and the night market.
If you get your high staying in boutique hotels – newer and more personalized attention to its guests – and if paying at least US$100-150/night suits you well, then the likes of FuramaXclusive Sathorn, Siri Sathorn, I-Residence, Baan Saladaeng, Luxx and Saladaeng Colonnade might just float your boat. Personally, FuramaXclusive Sathorn and I-Residence are my best bets in this league. They are almost brand new and the rooms are very tasteful, aside from giving frequent promotional rates all year-round. Luxx is also new, but I find the rooms so small. Over-all, it is not proportionate to the rates they charge. Baan Saladaeng’s main selling point is their unique rooms which have different themes to suit your taste and preference. Here’s a tip. If breakfast is your most important meal of the day, then take note that the buffet spread in boutique establishments is comparatively limited.
Lastly, a selection of hotels for those on a tight budget (below US$50 per night) includes The Inn Saladaeng, Unico Grande Silom, Silom Village Inn, Wall Street Inn and Regent Silom Serviced Apartment. My first pick here would be The Inn Saladaeng – simple, unpretentious and very well-situated close to everything. Regent Silom is not the serviced apartment you might have in mind because it looks and feels more like an inn, but it is surrounded by all sorts of Bangkok night life in the area – which also means that the place can get noisy especially during happy hours all the way to midnight.
That just about sums it up for Silom. If you end up choosing this location for your hotel stay, then be ready to enjoy a busier, noisier, more crowded and a bit seedier (a lot seedier if you stay in smaller inns inside Patpong or around Surawong) environment. There will always be tourists who enjoy this atmosphere to the max.
Onward to the third and last part of this blog….Sukhumvit! Watch out for it!
A First-Timer’s Guide to Centrally-located Hotels in Bangkok / Part 3
Here is the last part of my blog about Bangkok hotels. Sukhumvit is actually a preferred area for me, having flown in and out of the city more frequently than others. Repeat visitors who have gone past the trappings of Siam Square and Silom eventually cuddle up to Sukhumvit for varied reasons. Some find the neighborhood less stressful – traffic notwithstanding – and more diverse in terms of accomodations and dining options. A good majority of yuppies, professionals and expatriates take residence here, since a lot of high-rise condominiums and serviced apartments have mushroomed within the past 5 years or so. The side-by-side cluster of hotels, businesses and residential skyscrapers make this part of the city touristy without being too touristy for comfort.
Sukhumvit is essentially a loooooooong road that stretches all the way to the suburbs outside Bangkok. With this in mind, I will focus more on the upper, middle and lower mid portions with Soi 63 (where you can find the Ekkamai bus station that can bring you to Pattaya and the like) as the cut-off mark. Anything beyond will be inconvenient, particularly if you end up booking a hotel room that is past the last Skytrain station (On Nut) in this direction.
In Sukhumvit, I don’t consider it an ‘in’ thing anymore to stay at large hotels, specifically the ones belonging to global chains like Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Westin Grande Sukhumvit, JW Marriott plus the independently-owned Landmark. I have nothing against these properties. It’s just that there are many noteworthy boutique hotels deserving your Thai baht. But if you’re like my mother who would rather spend her nights in one, then I suggest that you go for the brand-new offerings in this section like Grand Millennium Sukhumvit and the Park Plaza Sukhumvit with its plush, crisp and luxurious digs, not to mention the promotional rates they regularly offer to cut a big share of the tourism pie from the old reliables. Among these choices, you can end up paying at least US$220++ a night (without breakfast) for the cheapest rooms. I am a very patient online searcher, though, so I usually get juicy deals from time to time and cut the price in half with buffet brekkie thrown in for good measure.
Now, before heading up to the mid-range category, let me go to the chic/trendy boutique hotels and serviced residences first because there are a few which deserve to be noted early on. After all, Sukhumvit is the place to go if you like staying in this kind of temporary dwellings. The first group includes S15 Sukhumvit Hotel, The Key Bangkok (at the back of Robinson’s Sukhumvit), Seven Hotel Bangkok, FuramaXclusive Asoke, Dream Hotel, Le Fenix Sukhumvit and Sacha’s Hotel Uno. I can heartily recommend any of these new establishments. Their locations are very easy on the feet as a few of them can even claim proximity to both the skytrain and subway stations. If you’re lucky, you can even get rates below US$100.
But if you go for bigger units where you can lounge in the living room, sleep in a separate (or cubicled) bedroom and do some quick cooking in the kitchenette, then the 2nd group should come in handy. The cheapest and most practical is Citadines Sukhumvit (one in Soi 11 and another in Soi 16) with intelligently-designed studios or 1-BR options priced between US$80-150. There is also Grand Sukhumvit by Accor, plus Grand Mercure Asoke Residence, Fraser Suites Sukhumvit, Emporium Suites and Adelphi Suites. Rates here are between US$125-200. You will never feel cramped here for sure.
Moving on, we highlight traditional hotel accomodation choices in the US$75-100 range, such as Amari Boulevard, Bel-Aire Princess, Majestic Grande Sukhumvit, Novotel Lotus, and St. James Hotel. Not the newest on the block, they nevertheless make up for it by way of providing reliable service, skytrain-friendly locations and clean/useful rooms. These properties are usually the most popular among regular tourists or 3-day business travellers who rely mostly on online reviews and tend to play it safe. I can also add here the budget picks like City Lodge Sukhumvit 9 or 19, Ambassador Hotel, Tai-Pan Hotel and Manhattan. Many visitors go for these if their main objective is just to have a room to stay for a night or two (or three) after a long day of shopping and sightseeing.
In the midst of all these, I can honestly say that you can derive pleasure wherever you stay in Sukhumvit because the street shopping, dining galore and proximity to the skytrain will always keep you in good company. But if I had to simplify my recommendations, here are the key bottomline statements to remember:
1. If you go for classy and luxurious, pick Grand Millennium Sukhumvit.
2. If you want to emphasize on trendy, spacious and functional, Citadines Sukhumvit is it.
3. If you fancy chic, convenient and personalized, Sacha’s Hotel Uno or The Key Bangkok should be on your shortlist.
4. Lastly, if you’d rather stay in a large unit that is attached to a shopping mall, then there’s Emporium Suites to satisfy the on-site craving to shop.
Happy hotel hunting and Khop khun khap!!!
p.s. I will post a short annex to the 3 blogs about Bangkok hotels for accomodations outside the three main areas that are worth checking out.