Shopping In Thailand

25

Nov
2021

Where To Stay

Posted By : chauthihoaithuong/ 6 0

Places to stay in Thailand come in all price ranges, and the distribution of hotels is surprisingly good in all but the remotest parts of the country. All major cities have several international-class hotels, while Bangkok boasts of some of the best hotels in the world. These are equipped with spas, swimming pools, fitness clubs, restaurants, business services, and other luxury facilities. Mid-range accommodation is available in most towns and, although it may be lacking in character, it is uniformly clean, efficient, and friendly. The current trend in Thailand is for luxurious spas, resorts, and pool villas featuring contemporary Thai design and decor. These fabulously chic properties can now be found across the country. Guesthouses provide remarkably cheap accommodations for budget travelers. Other alternatives include camping or staying in bungalows in the national parks.

Hotel Grading and Facilities

Hotels are not officially graded, although some are registered with the Thai Hotels Association. Price is therefore the only indication of what to expect (see p400). Accommodations range from basic to luxury. Even at the low end of the market rooms are usually spotlessly clean.

Often the best value is to be found in the once-luxury establishments that have been downgraded since the arrival of international luxury chains. These hotels offer the facilities available in first-class hotels at a fraction of the cost.

Luxury Hotels

Thailand’s luxury hotels are probably the equal of any in the world – and their number and standards are rising year after year. Expect to be treated like avisiting dignitary in the air-conditioned retreats of Bangkok and the other major cities. Rooms are sure to have every conceivable luxury, from a king-size bed and massive television to a well-stocked minibar and perhaps even a marble Jacuzzi or private pool. In such world-famous hotels as the Mandarin Oriental and the Shangri-La Bangkok, the magni ficent views of the Chao Phraya River are an added privilege. These first-class hotels offer their guests a huge range of facilities, including spas, business centers, conference rooms, designer-brand shops, coffee shops, fitness centers, and swimming pools, as well as numerous food outlets.

Resort Hotels

Like the urban luxury hotels, the resort hotels of Thailand are unsurpassed in style, comfort, and elegance. They also usually offer stunning views. Such resorts Shangri-La’s sumptuous lounge (see p403) The luxurious Conrad Room at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok (see p403) as the Four Seasons in Chiang Mai, Honeymoon Private Island Resort in Phuket, and the Chiva Som Resort in Cha-am are luxury designer-built oases of tranquility and opulence. Expect the best of everything, with charming service provided by traditionally dressed waiting staff. The cuisine served is varied and of excellent standards.

Modern Hotels

A modern, mid-range hotel in Thailand might be anything between a former top-line hotel that has been downgraded as newer places open with better facilities, and a new boutique hotel that offers personalized service at competitive prices. Mid range accommodation can be found in just about every town in Thailand, and in remote areas, they might sometimes be the only available options. Some of these places offer allthe same in-room facilities as a top-end hotel, such as air conditioning, satellite TV, and even little extras like hair dryer or tea- and coffee-making facilities. For visitors who do not need extravagant amenities such as a private plunge pool or in-room spa facilities, these modern hotels provide the best-value accommodation.

Guesthouses

Guesthouses in Thailand date from the backpacker explosion of the 1970s. Still frequented primarily by Western travelers, they offer a superb value for money and often a lot of charm.

In Bangkok, Khao San Road is the primary haunt of budget travelers. Offering low-cost accom modation in an otherwise expensive capital city seems to have taken priority over comfort, and, with a few exceptions, Bangkok guesthouses are, at best, unremarkable.

Outside the capital, however, and especially in Chiang Mai, guesthouses are usually clean, friendly, and astoundingly cheap. Most have rooms with air-conditioning or fans, as well as en-suite bathrooms. Some establishments offer swimming pools, restaurants, and good service for around 500 baht a night, just a fraction of the cost of a top resort hotel. Cheap guesthouses may cost as little as 150 baht, but for this expect basic facilities, with communal Asian toilets and showers, although the quality of service should still be good

Budget Hotels and Backpacker Hostels

Budget hotels can be found just about everywhere in Thailand. They generally offer basic facilities, often without Western-style toilets (these are clean, but require squatting rather than sitting), and are cheap and functional, but unexceptional. Budget hotels are architecturally unexciting, generally being multi-story concrete blocks containing numerous identical rooms. As ever in Thailand, however, they are usually clean and the service is friendly. Most will offer guests a choice between air-conditioned rooms (hong air) and fan-cooled rooms (hong patlom).

Only a few budget hotels are equipped with restaurants. However, in some remote areas, particularly little visited areas of the Central Plains and Northeast Thailand, these hotels may well provide the only option for travelers.

Backpacker hostels are a more recent trend in Thai accommodation and as yet are only available in Bangkok and the bigger cities. These comprise segregated dorms, shared bathrooms, and communal facilities such as a café and movie room. They offer less personal service than guesthouses but are very convenient for large groups traveling together.

Serviced Apartments

Serviced apartments are an increasingly popular choice for visitors intending to stay in Thailand for a month or longer. Properties usually occupy prime locations and offer guests the service and convenience of a five ]star hotel at significantly lower prices. For more information, visit www.sabaai.com.

Staying in National Parks

The majority of national parks allow camping for a minimal fee, although the facilities provided are extremely basic when compared to those available in Europe and North America. Camping has limited appeal in Thailand, as most Thais prefer to sleep in a hotel if one is available. Campers will have to face the perils of the outdoors; mosquito nets and copious amounts of insect repellent are essential.

In many national parks visitors can also stay in log cabin-style bungalows; these have few facilities. Advance booking is necessary, either through the Department of National Parks website or by phoning the Forestry Department in Bangkok. Prices Thailand’s extraordinary range of accommodations includes something to suit every visitor’s budget. At the top end of the market, which includes such hotels as Bangkok’s Mandarin Oriental (see p403) and Chiang Mai’s Four Seasons (see p405), the sky is the limit. Celebrities and heads of state may take suites at 40,000 baht a night, although for more everyday luxury expect to pay between 5,000 and 15,000 baht a night.

Mid-range accommodations cost from 1,000 to 5,000 baht a night in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, or Ko Samui. A comfortable air-conditioned room in a standard provincial hotel goes for between 700 and 2,000 baht, depending on the season. Prices everywhere are at their highest in the cool season (November to February) In the hot season (March to May) and the rainy season (May to October), rates often fall, except in the capital, which remains busy all year round. A clean but spartan room in a budget hotel in Bangkok will cost around 500 baht, falling to 200 to 400 baht in the provinces.

Local factors should also be taken into consideration. For example, in Surin hotel prices soar during the Elephant Roundup in November, when rooms in this otherwise moderately priced city are booked up months in advance.

The best deals available are probably the guesthouses of Chiang Mai and other tourism oriented towns. It is possible to stay in traditional Thai houses, with teak walls and stilts, for between 200 and 500 baht a night. This is difficult to beat, and visitors often stay for weeks longer than planned. Beach bungalows are similarly priced, but less comfortable, and more prone to invasion by insects.

Booking

Advance booking is advisable for luxury hotels and mid-range establishments, especially during national and local festivals. Budget hotels and guesthouses are unlikely to take bookings. In popular tourist areas, and at luxury hotels, staff speak English. Elsewhere, making a booking may be difficult unless you speak some Thai. However, Tourism Authority of Thailand offices are able to make bookings on behalf of tourists.

Taxes

The tax situation in Thailand is rather confusing and apparently irregular. All hotels should charge seven percent VAT (value added tax), and some luxury hotels will also add a 10 percent service charge on top of their basic rates. Most cheap hotels include this tax in their rates, but many of the more expensive places do not. Thus, it is important to ask whether this is included in the price when booking or before checking in. At small hotels outside the main resorts, tax is rarely (if ever) charged, and service is paid for (if at all) by tipping.

Bargaining

It is always a good idea to ask about the possibility of a reduction in price. The worst that can happen is a polite refusal, and very often, especially outside Bangkok and out of season, such an inquiry can lead to substantial savings, particularly if booking for several nights. It is not considered impolite to ask, but it is bad manners to press the point. Many hotels give discounts if bookings are low, and if special rates are avail able, most Thai proprietors will certainly let you know.

Tipping

Outside the capital and the major destinations of Ko Samui, Phuket, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai, tipping is unusual. Porters will expect a tip, and staff are rewarded for good service. Use your discretion: if you have received particularly good service, then leave a tip if you wish. Thanks, and a smile, are also much appreciated.

There are no hard and fast rules, and the standard British 10 percent – let alone the American 15 percent – would be far too much on a large bill. Between 10 and 50 baht is adequate in almost every circumstance. Expensive hotels will automatically include a service charge on the bill.

Facilities for Children

Thais love children and are incredibly tolerant of them, especially if they are blond[1]haired and blue-eyed. Such kids seem as exotic and doll-like to Thais as their own offspring do to the average Westerner. However, very few mid-range hotels have facilities for children or nursing mothers, and supervised play areas are rare. By contrast, the majority of seaside resorts and luxury hotels offer some kind of babysitting services, and children can often stay in their parents’ room for free. Wading pools may be provided, but guests must supervise their own children.

Disabled Travelers

Even luxury hotels in Thailand have only a few facilities for disabled visitors. Wheelchair ramps are beginning to make an appearance in newly commissioned luxury hotels, and nearly every luxury or tourist-class establishment has an elevator. However, that is the limit of facilities in most hotels. Thailand has a fast-developing economy and a booming tourist trade, but it is likely to be many years before a serious awareness of the needs of the disabled develops. Hotels should be carefully chosen, with the help of the Thai Hotels Association, and bookings made well in advance.

Recommended Hotels

The lodging recommendations in the pages that follow have been selected for their ambience, room and food quality, and/or good value. They span the spectrum across

all price levels and types, from rustic, family-owned inns and simple budget hotels to deluxe beachfront resorts and chic contemporary boutique hotels. Hotels are listed by area, and within these areas by price. Map references for hotels in Bangkok refer to

For the best of the best, look out for hotels featuring the DK Choice symbol. These establishments have been highlighted in recognition of an exceptional feature – a stunning location, notable architecture, ambience, or outstanding facilities, etc. The majority of these are extremely popular among local residents and visitors, so be sure to reserve well ahead of time.

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