Luxury for less in Thailand

Not so flexible on dates? No problem! There are also a host of restaurants, bars, spas and excursions all over the country that’ll make you feel like royalty without burning a hole in your wallet. Just remember your fan (May and June are the tail end of the hot season) or your brolly (the rains are heaviest in September and October).

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Where to stay

Even the most luxurious hotels in Thailand’s bustling, cosmopolitan capital offer incredibly good value rates during low season.

Take W Bangkok. Located in leafy Sathorn, one of the city’s most upmarket neighbourhoods, this uber-fashionable five-star property features funky interior design, a stunning circular pool, a 24-hour fitness room and plenty of food and drink outlets, and its ‘Wonderful Rooms’ start from just £108 per room per night in October.

Elsewhere in the capital, rates at centrally-located Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok start from £86 per room per night – don’t miss the infinity pool with its Lapse bar and city skyline views.

Or, for an even better deal, keep up to date with hotels that are in their soft opening period. Metropole, The Crest Collection by Ascott, for example, an elegant aparthotel complete with restaurant, fitness centre and Jacuzzi, is offering opening promotional rates from £56 (plus service charge and local tax) until 31 December 2016 (blackout dates 30-31 December).

Beyond Bangkok, there are even more deals to be found. In Chiang Mai, prices for one of boutique hotel Sala Lanna’s 15 simple but stylish guest rooms start at £74 (plus service charge and local tax) in low season (21 April to 31 October) and, with its location just minutes from the old town, it’s the perfect base from which to explore Thailand’s laid-back cultural capital. Staying in isn’t a bad option either, thanks to the rooftop pool with panoramic views.

Meanwhile, beach lovers also have plenty of options, including the Mövenpick Resort Bangtao Beach in Phuket. Comprising 40 bright and breezy penthouses and suites, all with living and dining areas, fully equipped kitchens and oversized balconies, as well as a luxury spa and 48-metre infinity pool, this five-star resort is located right on Phuket’s beautiful Bangtao Beach and rates start from just £69 per room per night in May and June (including breakfast and excluding taxes, based on two adults sharing for a minimum of three nights).

For the latest luxury hotel openings in Thailand, including soft openings, visit New Thai Hotels.

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Eat and drink

Thailand might be best known for its excellent street food (at even more excellent prices), but if you’re after something a bit more upmarket than plastic chairs on dirty pavements and don’t want to  break the bank, you won’t go hungry either.

W District in Bangkok’s Phra Khanong suburb, is one step up from the street. A five-minute walk from the Phra Khanong sky train station, this increasingly popular out-of-town hang-out offers everything from traditional Thai food to Spanish tapas, burgers and Vietnamese sandwiches, as well as a wine shop and bars serving beer and cocktails. It’s not exactly luxurious, but it’s Bangkok’s attempt at market-style food with a chic, arty backdrop.

For a really high-end dining experience – without the high-end price tag – head to Le Du. The brainchild of Bangkok-born ‘Chef Ton’, who finished top of his class at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and is a certified sommelier, Le Du combines bold Thai flavours with modern techniques and delicate presentation. The four-course tasting menu, where you can select one dish from each section of the menu, comes in at only £28 per head.

Elsewhere, David’s Kitchen at 909 in Chiang Mai is another must-visit. With a former head chef of the ultra high-end Dhara Dhevi running the show, it’s slightly pricier than Chiang Mai’s norm but the tasting menu, at £31 per head, is well worth the (still very reasonable) price tag. Other great options on the menu include lamb shank braised in Penang curry and the spicy pomelo salad.

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Things to do

No holiday in Thailand is complete without plenty of shopping, a massage or ten and at least one cooking class. And while there are lots of super-budget options for all three (think night markets, street and beach massages and most cooking courses around the country), those looking for higher-end experiences don’t need to splash too much cash.

For market-style shopping in a luxury environment, try Terminal 21 or Asiatique in Bangkok, while Healthland, which has branches all over Bangkok and in Pattaya, offers excellent massages in stylish surrounds for very reasonable rates (a two hour Thai massage is just over £10). Foodies should book into the cooking course at luxury boutique hotel 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai where the property’s executive chef will take you to the market and teach you three authentic dishes for just over £50 per person.

Finally, there’s nothing more luxurious than tranquility, and there are still plenty of places to find it in Thailand. Gorgeous Koh Kradan, the epitome of an island paradise, has no villages or proper roads, and is just a quick longtail boat ride from neigbouring Koh Muk, home to the famous Emerald Cave. It’s located just off the coast of the Trang region.

Meanwhile, Khao Yai National park is all about mountains, forests, wildilife and enormous waterfalls, including Haew Suat, best known for its appearance in Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach. Both boast luxury hotels, with mid-October prices below £80 per deluxe room per night. Koh Kradan’s serene villa resort Sevenseas and boutique hotel Escape Khao Yai are two excellent options.


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