Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
A Bangkok institution since the 1860s, whose famous guests have included Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene.
For a city hotel, the Mandarin Oriental has exceptional facilities, including two outdoor pools, two floodlit tennis courts, squash courts, a gym and a jogging track.
Across the river in a traditional Thai-style carved-wood building is the renowned Oriental Spa, which offers a range of Ayurvedic remedies and traditional Thai beauty treatments. Guests can also enjoy complimentary fitness classes, including yoga, pilates and tai chi.
In addition, the Mandarin Oriental boasts a wide choice of dining venues and bars offering Thai, French, Italian and Chinese cuisine. There is also a good seafood restaurant, a riverside terrace where a barbecue is held every night, and even a traditional rice barge which offers dinner cruises on the river. Drinking spots include the Bamboo Bar, famous as a jazz venue.
Why We Love It
Most of the old buildings are no longer standing, except the 'Author's Wing' which contains the top suites. Most bedrooms are in modern buildings which lack the old colonial charm but have the same great location on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in the heart of Bangkok.
The Siam hotel is a luxury urban retreat right by the Chao Phraya River in the hub of the Thai capital. Think antique, chic and boutique.
The resort is a secluded city oasis, and there is an intimate feel to the place, with only 38 suites and villas. The villas are one of a kind in the city, with their own plunge pools and private terraces. The rooms are spacious and decorated with sophisticated light colours and teak flooring, and the owners are avid antique collectors who have kitted out the resort with ornaments, books, posters and quirky furniture pieces. Most importantly, each room comes with its own private butler, who is on hand to makes guests' stays as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.
Those looking for a little R&R should sample the Opium Spa, which provides moments of Zen in the heart of buzzing Bangkok and offers a range of therapies and treatments, including traditional Thai massage. An added bonus: all products are ethically sourced and are of the highest quality for perfect wellbeing. Alternatively, the riverside infinity pool won't disappoint - especially if there is a cocktail in the picture.
Guests could probably stay here and find themselves occupied for a week, with an on-site cookery school, Muay Thai boxing centre, fully equipped gym, as well as yoga and Thai Chi classes. However, should they fancy leaving the hotel, there are some great bars and local restaurants just a stone's throw away, as well as nearby excursions and tours of the mega city.
'To dine or not to dine?' is never really a viable question here, because the answer should always be to dine. The Chon Thai Restaurant is set in three old Thai teakwood houses and serves traditional home-cooked Thai cuisine. This little gem has also hosted the likes of Roger Moore and Jackie Kennedy, and is pretty great for a cocktail or two. Alternatively, guests can head to the Deco Bar & Bistro,which boasts ultra sleek 1920's Jazz interiors. Meals here are simpler, but the light lunches and snacks are an ideal accompaniment to a sundowner.
Why We Love It
The Thai chic -antique style makes this place stand out, complete with a screening room, with old directors chairs and an old screening device. There is also a traditional barbers if you fancy having a shave!
The Metropolitan by COMO
The Metropolitan by COMO is another of the crop of contemporary hotels to open in Bangkok and rival the old guard. Located in the trendy business district, it's near shops galore, a futuristic sky train and handfuls of hip bars to see and be seen at.
The Metropolitan has 171 spacious and light rooms and suites. All interiors are by Singaporean designer Kathryn Kng, who combines Eastern and Western influences. As a result, rooms feature indigenous Makha wood, oxidised-brass panelling, artworks by painter Natee Utarit and mosaic-tile and limestone bathrooms.
The award-winning restaurant, Nahm, specialises in sophisticated and innovative Thai delicacies from award-winning chef David Thompson, who prepares his Asian masterpieces using organic and locally-sourced ingredients. For cocktails and late night snacks, the chic Met Bar has become a fashionable haunt for the city's beautiful people.
Speaking of beautification, COMO Shambhala Urban Escape - the hotel's luxury spa - offers therapies for body and face in a sleek, minimalist setting. In addition there is a steam room, Jacuzzi, pool and a very good gym.
For additional R&R, guests can enjoy daily yoga and Tai Chi, or alternatively, take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, which offers moments of Zen in between the city's buzz.
Why We Love It
The staff are wonderful and the breakfasts have been voted third best in the city.