When I was backpacking around India and Southeast Asia, my standards in accommodation quickly deteriorated. I’ve never been too picky of where I stay, and traveling for a longer amount of time consistently tried to stay in the cheapest rooms possible to stretch my budget. I hit a low point though when staying in an old wooden guest house in Laos and noticed the holes in the wall, connecting to the next guest room, were ‘fixed’ by stuffing plastic bags into them.
Shanghai Mansion Bangkok
I still do things cheaply staying in hostels, small guest houses and dorms, but sometimes you just want a little more. Overall, accommodation is very affordable in Thailand. You can still spend a lot for a high-end hotel or resort but, along with the hostels, even nicer guesthouses and boutique hotels are often a steal compared to home. Which is why, on a recent trip to Bangkok, I decided to take advantage of what my money could get me and went to the Shanghai Mansion on Yaowarat Road in the center of China Town.
A little web search showed the boutique hotel, carefully decorated to ‘sweep you straight into the romance of Old Shanghai’, to be one of the best value for money options in Bangkok. The hotel offers five types of rooms with prices on the website ranging from 2,500 – 3,300 baht, or about $85 – $115. I was hoping to spend between 1,000 – 2,000 baht…fortunately, the site also listed several special offers and last-minute deals for as little as 1,790 baht ($62) per night. I then went a step further and lucked out with an even slightly cheaper price using Agoda.com (an accommodation booking and deals site focusing on the Asia-Pacific region). While I spent more than I would normally, the hotel did not not disappoint and I felt like the experience was worth every baht.
The Good Stuff
First of all, the place is gorgeous with little design details everywhere you looked creating a romantic, and slightly nostalgic, feel . With every room you got a welcome drink, free mini bar (including refrigerator with soft drinks, beer, coffee tea and snacks), free WIFI and bath/toiletries set (when you’re used to no-frills rooms, it’s amazing how special nice soap and a free soda will make you feel). There are also several unexpected services and surprises like a free tuk tuk shuttle service to three different central locations, free treats available in the hallways, and robes and slippers.
The attention to detail, design and little luxuries continued in my actual room, which was spacious especially considering being the middle of a big city. It also had the largest bed I’ve seen in who knows how long and the added indulgence of an actual bathtub – not something you usually see over here.
All in all, I would quickly suggest Shanghai Mansion to anyone who wanted a little style for the evening at a affordable price. The only (slight) disappointment was the lack of a pool and natural light. The hotel is situated in the middle of a row of buildings and my room’s two windows looking out were heavily frosted, since you look straight into a brick wall about a meter away. That said, the inside of the room felt so nice that you didn’t really care to look out anyway.