Unlock the Charm: 9 Unique Hotels in Bangkok for Discerning Travellers

There are over 2500 hotels in Bangkok with close to 91,000 rooms. We take a dive among some unique hotels that will make your stay in this vibrant capital even more memorable. Long-time visitor to Thailand, travel writer John Borthwick, has sampled some of the best and shares his favourites.

Bangkok is where feudalism meets futurism.” Or so reckoned Thai novelist S.P Somtow. That intriguing cultural span is alive today in the city’s hotels, which range from re-purposed palaces to towering glass ziggurats. There are thousands of hotels in the Big Mango. These are just nine of them. None is “same-same”, all different.

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Where: 48 Oriental Ave, Khwaeng Bang Rak, Bang Rak, Bangkok

There’s always a newer new kid on the block among Bangkok’s riverfront hotels. The venerable Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is proud to be the oldest, having surveyed that restless river since 1876. Always a contender for bragging rights as the capital’s best hotel, “the Oriental” also consistently polls among the best hotel in the world.

Bangkok unique hotels - Mandarin Oriental Hotel with its river view
Relax by the riverfront

The 331-room hotel defines finesse, from its dress code-conscious lobby to riverfront fine dining and late-night jazz and blues in the Bamboo Bar.

At its historic heart is the old Author’s Wing where the ghosts of literary greats and past guests like Somerset Maugham and Noel Coward type on silently in lounges named after them.

Mandarin Oriental Pool area Bangkok
Plenty of space and shade at the Mandarin Oriental

Meanwhile, Siam glam aside, in the refurbished River Wing, your diligent butler looks after all details.

Highlights: A true piece of Bangkok history — but don’t arrive in shorts or flip-flops. Plus the renowned Oriental Spa annex across the river.

🛎️ CHECK OUT Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

Where: 21/100 S Sathon Road, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok

Towering over South Sathon Road like an upended pencil case, the Banyan Tree Bangkok remains sanely above and apart from the city’s mosh of malls and must-do attractions.

Vertigo Restaurant, Banyan Tree hotel
Hop into the elevator and head for one of the best tables in town.

This “vertical urban resort” has you within a short walk of both Silom Road’s intensive-spend shopping zone and Lumphini Metro station. And yet, with an eagle’s-eye view from your suite or the 61st floor Vertigo Restaurant, you can feel a planet distant from it all.

Highlights: Fabulous breakfasts and then, night-time, sky-high dining. Don’t miss Vertigo restaurant or the Moon Bar’s 360-degree view, one of the best in Bangkok.

There are 327 rooms and suites configured for business and leisure travellers, but the Banyan Tree’s pièce de résistance is its Club Floor Suites and Lounge. Or perhaps the Sky Deck pool? Or the flagship Saffron Restaurant?

🛎️ CHECK OUT BanyAn Tree Bangkok

Where: 1620/2 Songwat Road (inside Patumkongka Temple) Sampanthawong District, Bangkok

Loy La Long — translated, it sounds like a Beatles lyric: “Let it be, let it go, let it flow”. And so you do. Ferries and longtail boats flicker past your window at this tiny, teak, old-made-new hideaway perched beside the Chao Phraya.

Loy la long hotel bedrooom bangkok
Low key Thai style awaits at Loy La Long

With just six guestrooms and a small restaurant-bar, the two-storey Loy La Long is unique, even by Bangkok’s eclectic standards. There are two sunny, river-view decks where you can take breakfast, lunch or dinner, or just let your daydreams drift downstream with another cocktail.

Loy La Long Boutique hotel Bangkok view
Front row seats to the action on the waterway

Highlights: Located on the edge of the Taled Noi area, this century-old teak house, once a rice warehouse but now creatively transformed, sits right beside the river, allowing you to watch the longtails, ferries and life go by, day and night.

A Chinese pagoda sits opposite across the river and, surprisingly (this is amazing Thailand), this river-rustic bolthole sits in the grounds of a Buddhist monastery.

Where: 300/1 Charoen Krung Road, Khwaeng Yan Nawa, Khet Sathon, Bangkok

Newest kid (for now) on the river is the 299-room, 13-syllable Four Seasons Bangkok Hotel at Chao Phraya River. This superb, monumental-as-anything urban resort is a stately pleasure dome of art, intelligent design and “just-one-more-morsel” dining temptations.

River View room at the Four Seasons Bangkok
A river view room gives a bird eye view of Bangkok

Space is the new luxury, they say, and with its 3.6-ha riverfront footprint, the Four Seasons Bangkok Chao Phraya River has plenty of it.

RIver front pool at the four seasons hotel in Bangkok
A pool with a view

Highlights: Don’t miss the hotel’s MOCA Bangkok Artspace gallery and BKK Social Club bar, and a trawl through the nearby Creative District.

4 Seasons, Bangkok Social Club
The bar at the Four Seasons

There is ample room for an excellent spa (of course), multiple pools, open-air terraces, a serious contemporary art gallery, four wicked restaurants, a very hip bar and a lengthy, banyan-shaded promenade beside the river.

🛎️ CHECK OUT Four Seasons Bangkok Chao Phraya River

Where: 215 Yaowarat Rd, Samphanthawong, Bangkok

With its curved, modernist façade, the Grand China resembles a classic ocean liner that has moored itself at Chinatown’s busiest intersection. The landmark hotel on Yaowarat Road at the heart of the world’s largest Chinatown has 12 room and suite configurations, as well as a swimming pool, gym and shopping mall.

Grand China Hotel, Chinatown.
Grand China Hotel, Chinatown.

Highlights: The colourful rooftop bar is a fun space to unwind. The large suites and family rooms are perfect for those looking for some space.

There are seven restaurants, including the headlining Siang Poh Loh. (Yaowarat is itself a kilometre-long progressive feast.) In a city of HiSo high-rise sky bars, the Grand China’s is the modest dark horse. At only half the altitude — on the 23rd floor — but with drinks at about half the price, it might be twice the fun.


Where: 396 Maharaj Road, Tatien, Bangkok

Chakrabongse (pronounced Chakrabong) Villas & Residences sits on the riverfront not far from Bangkok’s Grand Palace. Its main building, a palace built by a Siamese prince in 1908 is still in family hands; it echoes with tales of regal romance.

Aristocratic home, Chakrabongse House and Villas, beside Chao Phraya River.
Chakrabongse House and Villas, beside Chao Phraya River.

Luxury guest accommodation in the grounds is in four traditionally styled suites and three Moroccan-themed rooms. Four self-contained studio apartments have recently been added.

Highlights: Excellent location for exploring old Bangkok and an evening swim in the pool overlooking the river is memorable.

The owner’s informed taste comes through in both the décor and the restaurant’s Royal Thai degustation dining. This private domain of tropical gardens, swimming pool and teak pavilions remains magically removed from the busyness of Maharat Road just beyond its gates.


Where: Wat Bang Nam Phueng Alley, Bang Nam Phueng, Phra Pradaeng District

The Bang Krachao wetlands on the Chao Phraya River are often described as Bangkok’s “green lung” oasis. So, cross the great water and breathe deeply there at the new RAKxa Wellness & Medical Retreat with its 30ha of rehabilitated riverfront land, five-star Garden Villas and personalised health programmes.

RAKxa Pool Villa
RAKxa Pool Villa

This unique retreat, half a kilometre from the city’s edge but a world apart, describes itself as the country’s “first fully integrative wellness and medical retreat”.

RAKxa Wellness Hotel in Bangkok
RAKxa pool

RAKxa is about individual health assessments, diet and exercise regimens, and much more. It is not a cosmetic therapy, “fat farm” or surgical institution. Along with massages, hydrotherapy and simple serenity, time spent at this oasis within an oasis is healing in itself.

Highlights: Upmarket diagnostic and therapeutic facilities set in a lush “island” landscape.

🛎️ CHECK OUT RAKXA Wellness & Medical Retreat

Where: 479, 481 Yaowarat Rd, Samphanthawong, Bangkok

It wasn’t always a mansion. The 76-room Shanghai Mansion hotel on ever-eating, rarely-sleeping Yaowarat Road, Chinatown was built in 1892 and has been, among other occupations, a Chinese opera house, stock exchange and textile trading house.

Now a well-established boutique hotel, the five-storey, pagoda-fronted building does a fine line in Sinostalgia, so to speak, with plenty of chinoiserie. Lanterns and antique screens pay homage to Deco-decadent 1930s Shanghai.

Live music at Shanghai Mansion Bangkok
Enjoy a few tunes at Occidentalist

This Orientalism, which extends to themed suites with four-poster beds, is offset by a robust, street level restaurant-bar with an Occidentalist serving of jazz and beer, plus excellent dining.

Highlights: The food — both in-house and on the street. Then come home to hot jazz. So Bangkok!

🛎️ CHECK OUT Shanghai Mansion Bangkok

Where: 3/2 Thanon Khao, Vachirapayabal, Dusit, Bangkok

“The garden of fantastical delights that was Krung Thep,” writes contemporary novelist Pitchaya Sudbanthap. Krung Thep, aka Bangkok, still is fantastical, especially along the riverfront and its array of hotels.

One resort with a dress circle view of the great river is the 39-suite The Siam (pronounced See-ahm, rather than Sigh-am), designed by creative superstar Bill Bensley for the Sukosol family of hoteliers.

The Siam Hotel in Bangkok bedroom
The Siam Hotel

The decor of the spacious suites is light Shanghai Noir, with plenty of retro black and white features. Four renovated, century-old teak houses in the grounds have an interesting Jim Thomson provenance, while the aptly named Opium Spa could too easily become habituating.

The perfect bathtub after a day exploring in Bangkok

Highlights: Bill Bensley’s many playful objets d’art, sunset cocktails on the river pier, and the serenity of your suite.


What next?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of unique retreats. Bangkok has many more extraordinary places to stay than these. Look a little beyond the mainstream you’ll soon find an exceptional hotel, be it boutique or brand-name, in the Thai capital.

Read our guide to using Bangkok’s amazing public transport to get around this city on your visit. You may also like our self-guided walks that explore the various stops the Chao Phraya Ferry makes.

Have a few more days, we think a trip to Ayutthaya and another to Kanchanaburi are a must!

Author: Australian writer John Borthwick has covered Thailand for years, from Songkran to Loy Krathong, and is still finding new stories to write. Hill country, islands and khao niaow mamuang (mango sticky rice), he revels in almost everything about the country, with the possible exception of double pricing. And once walked across Thailand in half a day — true.