Leave the shopping centres and major attractions to the other tourists and seek out Bangkok’s best-kept secrets. These quirky, lesser-known hotels allow guests to see a different side of the Thai capital, from coffee shops loved by locals to iconic buildings that are part of the city’s history. Intriguing extras include Buddhist meditation classes, authentic Thai food and free exhibitions.
Why would you sleep in a boring old hotel when you can stay in a treehouse? Ten minutes’ walk from Bangnamphueng Nok Temple, this extraordinary property, perched high above the forest, is linked by wooden boardwalks that weave through the trees. Made and owned by locals, there’s even a café surrounded by foliage serving simple, tasty Thai dishes including Pad Thai, spicy seafood soup and papaya salad.
Don’t stay among the giant shopping malls and office buildings when you can experience the real Bangkok. This stylish and understated boutique hotel, once home to a Chinese merchant who imported traditional herbal medicines, is in the city’s historic Old Town. The property is now just off Chinatown’s main strip, surrounded by bars, art galleries and eateries. Breakfast, drinks and March cold brew coffee are served in the downstairs café, a casual space popular with guests and locals.
Staying at this unique property feels more like visiting a particularly cool friend than bedding down in a hostel. Located on a quiet back street in residential Ari, there are three rooms in the house and a mix of dorms and rooms in converted shipping containers in the garden. There’s a communal area with TV, books and games and a relaxing garden where guests can mingle over drinks and swap local tips with friendly staff.
Named after the ancient capital of Thailand, The Sukhothai echoes the country’s delicate old-world beauty. Sweeping gardens are scattered with lotus ponds, the spa uses local oils, techniques and Tibetan chimes and the Celadon restaurant is considered one of the best Thai restaurants in the city. Get a real taste of Bangkok by ordering the mind-blowing nine-course tasting menu, including grilled river prawns and Thai vodka sorbet.
This charming adults-only boutique hotel, housed in a 1960s printing house on Lan Luang Road, is the former residence of the esteemed Bangkok Weekly magazine. After a seven-year renovation, it now offers eight B&B rooms with antique furniture and original floors, along with modern comforts including a free minibar, Bluetooth speaker and Nespresso machine. Make yourself at home with the stash of magazines and board games in the lobby, free bike rentals and piano and drum kit for impromptu concerts.
Spend time discovering Bangkok’s historic Chinatown by staying right in its heart at the Shanghai Mansion. An opulent 1930s-inspired property, this boutique hotel radiates vintage glamour with freestanding bathtubs, jewel-coloured velvet furniture and swathes of brocade and silk. There’s nightly live jazz, a water garden lit by lanterns and a Chinese fusion restaurant. Meanwhile, staff can also share insider tips on the area’s best bars, street food stalls and century-old coffee shops.
Part museum, part hotel, this unique property is a 100-year-old art deco-inspired cinema with the original screen still in the lobby. It’s now home to four spacious suites and a range of dorm rooms with private pods, ideal for groups of friends or family travelling together. For those who want to mingle, the lobby serves cocktails inspired by vintage movies while classic films play on the big screen. There’s also a small exhibition detailing the building’s fascinating history.
A small eco-friendly hotel in the traditional Phranakorn district, this property encourages guests to live within the local community and look beyond Bangkok’s tourist attractions. Its 31 rooms are made from recycled materials and even cleaned using eco-friendly products, while the on-site café serves vegetables grown in the rooftop garden. Elsewhere, communal classes including fruit carving, soap making and Thai cooking are held every day and are a great chance to meet other guests.
Swerve the flashy five-stars and big-name properties, choosing this small but elegant boutique hotel inspired by Thai culture. There are double rooms and suites available as well as fantastic family and quadruple rooms for those travelling with friends. Less than half a mile from the Phaya Thai BTS station, the area is popular with the city’s Chinese and Thai Muslim community and renowned for some of the best street food in Bangkok.
This plush boutique hotel, steps from the BTS Skytrain Ratchathewi, is inspired by the nearby Jim Thompson House, a museum dedicated to the American silk entrepreneur. Expect vibrant silk in rich golds and reds at every turn and the city’s shopping district is on the doorstep if you feel inspired to take some home. Elsewhere, there’s a top-notch sushi bar and innovative French fine-dining restaurant if you can tear yourself away from the pool with stunning skyline views.
Built as a family home in the 1940s, this beautiful 24-room boutique hotel feels like a well-kept secret in the heart of downtown Bangkok. Rooms are traditionally Thai with silk drapes, recycled teak floors and colourful fabrics while the hotel’s quiet leafy grounds, shaded pool and library make it easy to feel at home. A Buddhist monk gives meditation classes in the small spa, while the excellent restaurant serves healthy vegetarian dishes loved by the owners themselves.