This new wave of indie hotels is the reason you need to head to BKK again

Tired of staying at the same ol' chain hotels in Bangkok? While the big boys continue to develop new properties, Bangkok is also seeing a boom in creative little indie hotels that are perfect for a hipster holiday. Here’s where and how you can make the most of it.
 

Ari area
 

Josh Hotel

 

Stay here because: You really want to share your vacay on IG.
If you love the quirky stylings of Wes Anderson movies, then this is the place to stay. This former apartment block five minutes from the BTS now sports pastel colors, cool terrazzo and brass, complemented by the perfect mid-century touch—a courtyard swimming pool. The on-site restaurant, Marigold, does some wonderful Southern food (make sure you order the kanom jeen), while the pool bar not only makes a good cocktail but also soft-serve ice cream.


Airtel Hideaway Ari

 

Stay here because: You don’t want to leave fido behind. 
Dogs are the main draw of this converted family home. The resort-like house is cut from the perfect Ari residential cloth: stand-alone, two stories and with a plentiful yard for dogs to run around. The 10 guest spaces (rooms and suites) each come with personalized touches and plenty of bright colors (think of pink bed sheets with lime green curtains). Each morning they’ll serve you with simple eggy breakfasts and hot coffee to take on the lawn. 
 

To-do in Ari
 

Eat: Isaan joint Phed Phed (Phahon Yothin Soi 8, 097-918-1175) is sending Bangkok somtam addicts wild with its authentic, house-fermented pla-raa, while we can vouch that the Northern-born Ong Tong Khao (21 Phahon Yothin Soi 7, 02-003-5254) is indeed some of this city’s best khao soi. At Wagyuism (110/9, 110/9 Ari Samphan Soi 5, 082-232-2323), expect Japan's signature melt-in-your-mouth marbling with the menu of Kobe and Hokkaido wagyu in grades A4 and A5. 

Phed Phed

Visit: Pick between two new spas. Calm Spa (13 Ari Soi 4, 096-941-8645) comes from the Josh Hotel people and features equally tasteful decor, while the affordable Chaari Spa (2/F, A-One Ari, 9/2 Phahon Yothin Soi 7, 02-077-9967) specializes in tea-based therapies. Thrift-shopping? Museum of Everything Jinglebell (18/2 Ari Soi 2, 090-263-6925) sells retro styles from every era. Nearby, Gloc (1/8 Ari Soi 2, 084-754-4747) is a new multi-label store featuring local items at affordable prices and a selection of international brands.

Gloc

Drink: At Frank Mansion (3-4/F, Ari One, Ari Soi 1, 02-048-3225) you’ll find the very best cocktails in Ari, along with bands playing stuff like Stevie Wonder, Blackstreet, Amy Winehouse and Ray Charles. Mikkeller provides the brews at Tacochela (Ari Samphan Soi 1, 02-101-4962), which rivals O’Glee ( Ari Soi 1, 02-619-5354) as Ari’s top beer bar. 

Frank Mansion


Charoenkrung-Chinatown area
 

Pieces Cafe & Bed

 

Stay here because: You want to be first on the scene for the next Soi Nana.
Welcome to the Chinatown shophouse dream sprung to life. Pieces isn’t on Soi Nana; it’s on the far quieter Songwad Road, which so far remains only brushed by Chinatown’s hipster renaissance. By day, Pieces runs as a coffee shop serving some unlikely fresh-baked goods (breast milk bread, anyone?). By night it turns into an umeshu bar serving only Japanese plum wine. Upstairs sit two cosy guest rooms practically no larger than the size of their beds—compact but very charming. For breakfast, they serve dishes from the local neighborhood.
 

Amdaeng

 

Stay here because: Lhong 1919’s on your doorstep, while the charms of Charoenkrung are a three-minute boat-ride away. 
Looking like a Shanghai mansion crossed with a Thai-Chinese shophouse, there is no mistaking this bold red property on the “other” side of the river. All the rooms and suites come with ceilings twice the height of your standard Bangkok condo, in addition to bespoke decor touches—carved red woods, antiques and plenty of original artwork. On the ground floor sits the hotel's restaurant, NYE cafestaurant, serving Thai cuisine and wines. The rooftop bar offers 360 degree views of the river and Greater Bangkok.


Prince Theatre Heritage Stay

 

Stay here because: It’s a smart way to preserve Bangkok’s vintage cinema heritage. 
Unveiled as part of January’s Bangkok Design Week was the new look for Charoenkrung’s favorite old dirty movie cinema. The Prince Theatre’s days of screening softcore ‘70s porn have been replaced by new hotel suites and dorms, while the old screening room is now a retro-fitted bar with an exhibition on the theater’s history. While the dorms leave no trace of the building’s charm, the suites are a stunning mix of old and new.
 

Baan 2459
 


Credit : www.baan2459.com 

Stay here because: Colonial luxe usually comes at a much steeper price.
Following a sparkling but period-correct renovation, this mansion dating back to 1916 marks quite a departure from the usual crumbling Chinatown shophouses. There are just four rooms, each one an elegant blend of colonial furnishings and muted colors plucked from the Farrow & Ball school of design. Book suite “Two” for the full colonialist experience—four-poster bed, chandelier, private entrance and marble-clad bathroom.
 

To do list
 

Eat: In Maison Chatenet (Warehouse 30, Charoenkrung Soi 30, 092-408-0308), Charoenkrung has found one of Bangkok’s best bakeries—be sure to get the croissants if nothing else. Jua (672/49 Charoenkrung Soi 28, 061-558-7689), 80/20 (1052-1054 Charoen Krung Soi 26, 099-118-2200) and 100 Mahaseth (100 Mahaset Rd., 02-235-0023) all remain essential dining experiences right now, and time should be made for a visit to each.

Jua

Visit: The trip to Lhong 1919 (248 Chiang Mai Rd., 081-994-4597) is rewarded with designer shopping experiences that’ll supplement whatever you’re able to find in the boutiques of Warehouse 30 (Charoenkrung Soi 30).

Warehouse 30

Drink: Meals at any of the recommended restaurants should be finished with rum cocktails at Tropic City (672/65 Charoen Krung Soi 28, 091-870-9825). Away from Soi Nana, Pieces hotel (see above) transforms into a low-key umeshu bar called Shuu Shuu on weekends, where local cool kids perch on stools, sample the finest Japanese plum wines, and keep to a strict no-loud-voices policy. 

Tropic City


Phra Nakhon-Rattanakosin area
 

Chann Bangkok Noi
 

Credit: www.channbangkoknoi.com

Stay here because: You know less about the other side of the river than you do about Hua Hin. 
Cross over to Thonburi and you’ll discover this brand-new boutique hotel next to the Bangkok Noi canal. The architecture pays homage to the surrounding riverside community, whose roots date back 500 years, with 18 rooms and four suites decked out completely in local hardwood. Many rooms come with balconies overlooking the river.


Riva Arun
 

Stay here because: Riva Surya’s so 2013.
Hidden in the same soi as Blue Whale cafe, this boutique hotel boasts a charming colonial-style design from Soda Thailand. The 25-room Riva Arun is located close to landmarks like the Grand Palace and Wat Pho and faces the majestic Wat Arun along the Chao Phraya River. While almost every single room comes with a great view of the temples and old buildings in the Tha Tien community, the contemporary suites are equipped with outdoor Jacuzzis facing Wat Arun. 


Raweekanlaya

 

Stay here because: This is the closest you get to a resort in the Old Town. 
Originally built in the late 1800s as the residence of King Rama 6, this boutique hotel features 38 rooms, each inspired by a poem from Thai literature. There is also an on-site Imperial Spa that offers traditional Thai massages, a swimming pool featuring four comfy sunbeds and a pool bar that serves up healthy juices. Its restaurant, Raweekanlaya Dining, uses organically-sourced produce and features garden where guests can pick their own ingredients.


Bangkok Publishing Residence


Stay here because: It’s a genuine slice of Bangkok history restored with care. 
Tucked away on Lan Luang Road, Bangkok Publishing Residence is a museum-slash-hotel that harks back to Thailand’s publishing heyday of the mid-20th century. This six-block shop-house on Lan Luang Road belongs to the Rojamaprapa family, former publishers of Bangkok Magazine, which launched in 1958. Panida “Oum” Tosnaitada, 36, whose grandfather, Vichit Rojamaprapa, founded Bangkok Publishing, recruited a team of architects led by Saran Suntornsuk of Habita Architect firm, who spent six years restoring the building to its original charm.
 

To do list 



Baanual

Eat: Your chances of getting a table at Baannual are slim to zero (though you should definitely still try). For an alternative fill of seriously good Thai food, head to Shophouse Kitchen (142 Phra Athit Rd., 097-183-1910), whose bai chaplu (yellow curry with grilled pork and wild betel, B85) is the real deal. Now’s your chance to also try the wonderful Tonkin Annam (69 Soi Tha Tien, 093-469-2969) Vietnamese restaurant.

Visit: The Living Heritage Museum at Mahakan Fort (2 Soi Damrong Rak) is a genuinely creative way to preserve a historic neighborhood and well worth your time. The Old Town is also undergoing a boom in cool little art spaces like Thatian Gallery (310 Maharaj Rd., 096-245-6292) and Head in the Clouds Artspace (365/9 Phra Sumen Rd., 081-634-7616).


Ku Bar

Drink: If you still haven’t tried the cocktails at Ku Bar (3/F, 469 Phra Sumen Rd., 02-067-6731) then you must—they're simply some of the best in town, while the space is also a cool melange of old and new. Also take some time to hang with the Old Town hipsters at their favorite beer bar: Yolo (140 Phra Athit Rd., 082-456-4499).