Boutique Hotels in Bangkok
What is a boutique hotel?
The word 'boutique' has been overused in order to make businesses sound more glamorous. The word comes from the old French word ‘botique’ meaning small shop. It came into English to mean a small shop selling fashionable clothes, gifts and accessories. Now it is used as an adjective used to describe something that is small, fashionable and not mass produced.
It is this last idea of not being mass produced that is most relevant when understanding the phrase ‘boutique hotels’. There has been a generational shift it seems. Before people wanted luxury hotels to be large and have a layout that was similar; hence we had big chains of hotels like Ramada, Best Western, Conrad, Hilton, Hyatt, Le Meridien, Travelodge etc. all looked and felt the same anywhere in the world. They may have had some small features that gave a nod to the local customs and architecture, but the experience of staying in one of these hotels was essentially the same from Marrakesh to Missoula. They all had a don’t disturb sign for the door, neutral color schemes, a mini bar, CNN on the TV and a restaurant that served cooked or continental breakfasts.
For a certain age group such hotels gave reassurance. Outside might be the chaos of India, but inside the Hyatt it was reassuringly Western.
Boutique hotels eschew these notions of standardization. They embrace their locality and want to have an individual character, rather than looking and feeling like hundreds of other hotels. A chain hotel is a replica; a boutique hotel is an original.
The notion of size is often still connected to the idea of the boutique hotel. It is felt that character is lost if hundreds of the same style rooms are offered. Smallness is also present in the original meaning of ‘boutique’. However, nowadays some big hotels are unique and stylish and have that ‘one off’ feel to them and so they should also be considered as boutique despite their size.
Boutique hotels in Bangkok
Bangkok is one of the most interesting and exciting cities in the world. Despite the pollution and traffic congestion it remains one of the most fun places to visit. Bangkok combines the traditional and the old. It is full of wonderful temples, palaces and museums. It is stepped in history and yet many parts have a cutting edge modern feel. The nightlife in Bangkok is incredible, and has to be experienced to be believed.
Transport in Bangkok has improved dramatically over the last few years. There are now underground and over ground trains as well as new airport. The Chao Phraya river snakes through the city and the express boat are very cheap. Tuk tuks are part of the look of the city; and most yellow taxi drivers are polite and honest.
You can walk around Bangkok any time of the day or night and you are safe. The worst that will probably happen to you is that someone will try and sell you a pirate DVD or a massage.
To match the experience of touring Bangkok it is a great idea to spend a few dollars in staying in a really good boutique hotel.
Colonial hotels in Bangkok
There are several types of boutique hotel available in Bangkok. One option is to stay in a colonial hotel in Bangkok. Although Thailand was never colonized some of its buildings were built in a colonial style.
No review of colonial hotels in Bangkok is complete without mentioning the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It was opened in 1876 and is still considered by many to be the only place to stay in Bangkok. Sadly, the original colonial architecture of the Mandarin Oriental is obscured by the new wing they have built, but the place still oozes colonial grace and elegance. It has hosted a dazzling array of famous writers such as Joseph Conrad, Somerset Maugham and Noel Coward.
The rooms have Victorian style bathrooms and the room interiors have teakwood floors and Thai silk soft furnishings.
The Mandarin Oriental overlooks the Chao Phraya River and boasts its own private ferry pier.
Other colonial boutique hotels in Bangkok include The Eugenia Hotel which is built in a French colonial style and the Heritage Baan Silom that has vintage decorations.
Hip boutique hotels in Bangkok
If you are looking for a stylish hotel with a chic and minimal look that isn’t ersatz and replicated through a chain hotel then you are spoiled for choice in Bangkok. There are lots of hotels in Bangkok that are uber-cool and hip, each with its own distinctive character.
There is MaDuZi in Sukhumvit. Here you will find foreigners and high society Thais (Hi-So Thais) enjoying the French fusion restaurant. Guests are given codes to protect their identity. Eating at the restaurant is by reservation only. MaDuZi has a London club style bar, and the rooms sport minimalist style furniture and marble bathrooms.
Siam@Siam Design Hotel has a swimming pool that over hangs the building. The building has a cutting edge contemporary design. The hotel has a sushi restaurant, a 24 hour bar called ‘Party House One’, and a restaurant serving French and Mediterranean cuisine.
For those who like something more sophisticated and less young person orientated there is the Metropolitan in Bangkok. This is the sister hotel of the famous Metropolitan in London. The hotel oozes urban chic. The interior design is by Singaporean designer Kathryn King. The hotel benefits from the experience of the famous hotel planner Christine Ong, and the restaurant chef has a Michelin star.
Historical hotels in Bangkok
There are a few hotels you can stay in that have a connection to history. The most famous of which is probably Chakrabongse Villas. It was built in 1908 by HM Prince Chakrabongse as a private residence. It is located by the Chao Phraya River. Guests get uninterrupted views of Wat Arun. The Royal Palace is a mere 300 meters away.
In 2008 the building was opened as a small hotel with 8 rooms. As would be expected of a previous royal residence the interior design features teak, marble and ornate Thai decoration. How often do you get to stay in a Royal Residence? Room rates for Chakrabongse Villas start at $160 a night.
Another noteworthy historical hotel in Bangkok is Ariyasomvilla. The hotel is located in the popular Sukhumvit area. It was designed by the famous Thai engineer, Phra Chareon, who built the National Stadium and the first runway at Don Mueng Airport. Ariyasomvilla is now a family run hotel that features reclaimed teak flooring, Thai silk drapes and antique furniture. The restaurant to the hotel is famous for its excellent vegetarian food. A night in Ariyasomvilla costs $130.
Themed boutique hotels in Bangkok
For many people the idea of a themed hotel sounds slightly tacky and definitely not sophisticated. This might be the case for many themed hotels, but in Bangkok there are a few exceptions to this observation.
There is the stylish Imm Fusion Sukhumvit which has a Moroccan theme that runs through the decoration both in the rooms, public areas and around the pool. It creates a relaxing atmosphere and an oasis feeling in the heart of the busy city.
The Shanghai Mansion Bangkok won the Sunday Times Travel Award in 2010. It is a great boutique hotel in 1930s Shanghai style. It has great art deco furnishings, a jazz bar and an indoor water garden. The restaurant serves dim sum for breakfast. Shanghai Mansion is just a 10 minute walk away from the main train station and metro line in, of course, Chinatown. A night in the Shanghai Mansion Bangkok starts at $80.
Go boutique in Bangkok
These are just a few of the great hotel experiences to be found in Bangkok. It is an incredible city and the experience is made even better by staying in a place with boutique style and exciting design. Best of all boutique hotels in Bangkok are very reasonably priced.
If you want to find out more then go to Bangkok Boutique Hotels by following the link.
- Bangkok Blog - Making the most of your time in Bangkok
Information, reviews and lots more about Bangkok
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