Thailand isn’t known as The Land of Smiles without reason and even in frenetic Bangkok there’s an air of serenity and optimism often lacking in major cities. The smiles you’ll encounter in every hotel, restaurant and bar are genuine and infectious, yet it’s not only the unique Thai spirit that visitors delight in, but also the uncompromising affordable luxury that has become synonymous with Thailand hospitality.
What is Affordable Luxury?
A term that may have appeared an oxymoron five years ago has quickly become a universal remedy for hoteliers aspiring to capture the attention of today’s cost-conscious guests. Affordable luxury transcends demographics, guarantees the right location, excellent design and a focus on the experience from the moment of check-in, with amazing service, outstanding hotel dining, guest activities and amenities with high-end spa treatments, a pool, 24-hour fitness centre and knowledgeable concierge.
These are some of the country’s top luxury hotels that are guaranteed to exceed your expectations not only in their facilities, style and finesse, but also for their exceptional value for money.
In a city that welcomes more visitors annually than any other in the world, one renowned for contrasts and diversity, ornate shrines, excellent shopping and pulsating nightlife, where vibrant neighbourhoods such as Chinatown counter the green oasis of the Bang Krachao; all coming together around the Chao Phraya River, it is hard to know where to book your accommodation when visiting. These three value options will speak to you.
Grande Centre Point Hotel Ratchadamri is in the sought after Ratchaprasong district, an area often referred to as the Heart of Bangkok and known for its high-end hotels, big brand shopping and very good food. As you walk through the door to the reception desk, you get the first taste of five star luxury, authentic hospitality and uncomplicated and efficient service.
There are studio, one, two and three bedroom suite options available, each incredibly spacious with all the modern touches, and well equipped kitchens. Actually each room feels a little like a private pied-à-terre that you can retreat to for the duration of your stay and it’s no wonder many of their guests book for up to three weeks at a time. Among the facilities are the 24-hour room service, reception and concierge, downstairs restaurant, gorgeous rooftop swimming pool, spa with holistic treatment menu and gym. There’s even a playroom and babysitters on request for the children.
Located in one of Bangkok’s busiest and most expansive metropolitan areas, the Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri represents an urban comfort paradise. The hotel is just 5 minute-walk to Erawan Shrine, near Siam Paragon, Siam Center, MBK and Platinum Mall and easy walking distance to underground and train stations.
If you want something cool and hip right in the heart of the city, look no further than The LiT Hotel and Residence in Bangkok. An intimate four-star Hotel and Residence set one street back from the main road in Pathumwan, it engulfs you in creativity, design and charm from the moment of arrival.
Purpose built and uniquely designed to draw you in, the L-shaped Hotel offers 79 comfortable, well-equipped, air-conditioned guestrooms. The rooms are contemporary, modern and rich in texture, with all the finishes a traveller could desire. The Kiriya Spa, an underground cocoon of wellness, specialises in natural products matched from the mood of the various regions of Thailand. The whole place radiates goodness and the service could not be more wonderful, the traces of bright colour and playful touches, as well as complimentary hand massages on arrival, all add to the appeal.
The adjoining Residence is a boldly painted building set just behind the Hotel and has 48 units on 7 floors, made up of studio, one bedroom deluxe and duplex apartments, many inter-leading to offer the configuration that you prefer or require for your group of family or friends travelling on a budget. For guest convenience, there is a LiT Hotel Tuk-Tuk to take you the short distance to the Skytrain or MBK.
There’s something enchanting about the Bangkok skyline, especially when appreciated from the 16th floor of your luxury hotel room. This is particularly true of the five star Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside Hotel on the eastern bank of the city’s celebrated Chao Phraya River, an iconic hotel and proud guardian of 220 meters of exclusive river frontage with palm trees, outside dining and 525 guest rooms and that enjoy panoramic views of the capital.
The faultless service, excellent dining options and convenient central location make this a good choice for both business and leisure guests. The guest rooms, suites and public areas are appropriately Thai-inspired, there’s a large outdoor pool with Jacuzzi and six dining options. The hotel’s Massira Wellness & Spa takes over an entire floor and has a wide range of treatments on offer.
Don’t be concerned about the size of the hotel, if you’d like something more private, book a room on the executive floor and enjoy the dedicated check-in service and exclusive access to the Executive Lounge on the 15th floor. But the best part of all is walking out of the doors and on to the wooden deck and on to the river. No other hotel in the city can get you closer to the water.
Phi Phi Island
Phi Phi Islands are found between the large island of Phuket and the west Strait of Malacca coast and are known as the island-superstars for all the movies they’ve appeared in.
We’ve all heard the expression barefoot luxury and here at Zeavola Resort, that is exactly what you get. The only luxury Five Star resort on Phi Phi, Zeavola is located on the northern tip near Tong Cape and faces out towards Mosquito and Bamboo Islands. It enjoys a prime stretch of soft white sand on Laem Tong Beach and the towering trees and lush vegetation of the protected forest on the hill it backs onto.
Laid out like a romantic village of a bygone era, the reception area is set around a village square, with the suites and pool found down meandering paths. The accommodation comprises of pool villas, beachfront suites, garden suites and village suites featuring open air living, lots of teak, hand-painted murals, gardens and outdoor rain showers as well as day lounges and spacious decks. You are literally on the beach, stepping out of your room onto the white sand.
Activities are offered from the resort’s dive and sports center where you have professional guides to show you the best of Phi Phi. From scuba diving courses to individually tailored island hopping, trips to Phi Phi National Marine Park, scenic tours aboard traditional Thai longtail boats and leisurely sailing aboard the 32” yacht. There is kayaking available too.
Chiang Mai is a city in mountainous northern Thailand that was founded in 1296 and was capital of the independent Lanna Kingdom until 1558. Its Old City area still shows remains of walls and moats from this time and it is home to hundreds of elaborate Buddhist temples, including the impressive Wat Phra Singh.
The Anantara Chiang Mai Resort, a place of serenity
Stepping through the doors at the Anantara Chiang Mai resort brings an instant sense of serenity. You’re met with the soothing sound of water features, immaculate green lawns and beautifully minded buildings, some which have stood proudly on the banks of the Mae Ping River for a century. A luxurious sanctuary with a contemporary design that compliments it’s Thai and colonial style, there are a total of 52 guest rooms and 32 suites from which to choose.
For added exclusivity, the Kasara Suites include private lounge privileges, and for a more elegantly urban option, the Anantara Serviced Suites, conveniently located opposite the resort, are perfect for families, longer stays and travellers who appreciate independence. With the choice of one, two and three-bedroom suites, they feature living, kitchen and dining facilities and have a rooftop pool and bar with impressive views towards the Doi Suthap Mountain and across the city.
You will not go hungry at the Anantara Chiang Mai given the varied options of international grill cuisine and authentic Indian specialties available on the waterfront deck, or the immersive Asian culinary experiences in the treasured colonial house. Don’t miss their Afternoon Tea for which they’ve an established reputation, either. The resort’s colonial house dates back to 1921 and was once the home of the British Consulate of Chiang Mai, today it houses the Service 1921 Restaurant & Bar, which reimagines this colonial era in an eccentric reinvention of the British government’s secret service.
Travel by Tuk Tuk with the Streetwise Guru for a behind the scenes city tour. Learn more about the history of the walled city, explore eclectic China Town, visit the riverside flower market and enjoy refreshments at one of the charming coffee shops. At the resort take advantage of the 24-hour fitness center; enjoy a yoga class, Muay Thai Boxing, Aerobics or Thai Chi. Other activities include a Sunset Cruise on the river, cooking classes and lessons in Thai massage.
Koh Samui, Thailand’s second largest island, lies in the Gulf of Thailand off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus and is known for its white beaches, coconut groves and dense, mountainous rainforest. The landmark 12m-tall golden Big Buddha statue at Wat Phra Yai is one of the island’s primary attractions.
The Amari Koh Samui Resort on Chaweng Beach
Idyllically positioned, the Amari Koh Samui Resort is an excellent option while visiting the island. Set on a calm stretch of sand along the popular Chaweng Beach, this exclusive tropical getaway with its sprawling palm speckled grounds is home to 193 guest rooms, with numerous dining options, a spa and two swimming pools. The rooms are set in three different wings on both sides of the main road, each wing with its own character and perspective. Offering the warmth of the classic Thai-inspired design of the Thai Village Wing, the lush tropical feel of the Garden Wing and the soothing sounds of the ocean waves of the Beach Wing.
When it comes to culinary indulgence, you will be spoilt for choice. The Amaya Food Gallery is their all-day dining concept and where chefs prepare Pan Asian meals in an open-concept kitchen. Across the road at the Prego Italian Restaurant, Chef Marco will indulge you with his homemade Italian creations. During your stay indulge in a rejuvenating Thai massage at the resort’s Breeze Spa. There’s a dive centre, kayaks for your use, a gym and cheerful Kids’ Club with toys, games and babysitters to keep your little ones occupied through the day. The beach is lined with loungers, and you won’t want to move very far, except for a dip in the warm water.
NOTE: When booking check for special offers, all of these hotels are renowned for them, as well as the 2 and 3 roomed suits which are perfect for families and groups of friends.