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As a rule, you’ll find Thailand’s best hotels either in Bangkok or on the islands. In Bangkok, international chains such as the Hilton and Marriott tend to cater to corporate crowds who are in the city for business.
Some more contemporary hotel chains also have a heavy presence in Thailand’s capital and offer slightly more Asian-influenced style and service. The Mandarin Oriental and The Peninsula, for example, are known for their particular brand of luxury.
And while they’re not the cheapest by Thailand’s standards, these more corporate hotels are a relative bargain compared to the prices of their North American or European counterparts.
When it comes to Thailand’s luxury resorts, the islands lead the way. Honeymoon hotspots such as Phuket and Koh Samui are well-established tourist destinations that really know how to indulge visitors, and as more travellers have discovered Thailand’s stunning beaches, the hotel heavyweights have moved in and Thailand’s luxury accommodation offering has grown.
There’s no shortage of 5-star properties to be found on these glamorous islands as a result – while your budget will have to be considerable, the levels of service and pampering on offer will more than make up for it.
If you have neither the budget nor the desire to sit by a posh hotel pool all day, it’s perfectly possible to get all your Thailand accommodation on the cheap. And unless you’re hoping to book a particular place, or are particularly fussy about where you stay, it’s not usually a problem to leave booking to the last-minute thanks to the sheer number of options – especially during Thailand’s off-season.
In Bangkok, the Khao San Road area is backpacker-friendly and home to hostels and guesthouses that cater to everyone from big groups to single travellers. Dorm rooms and private rooms are remarkably inexpensive, but if you’ve got a little more money to spare then upgrade to a room with air conditioning or a fan – you’ll appreciate it!
Slightly higher up the accommodation ladder, Thailand’s mid-range hotels also cater for those on a budget – these have more amenities and higher standards of cleanliness. However, depending on where in Thailand you are, you might find the majority of other guests are business travellers rather than the sort of independent traveller folk you’d expect to meet in guesthouses.
On Thailand’s islands, meanwhile, bungalows and beach huts offer a low-cost alternative to hostels and guesthouses. Generally catering for backpackers, these can vary from charming and well-appointed rustic abodes, to cheap shacks.
So, as in any type of accommodation, it’s worth checking arrangements for your personal safety and for keeping your belongings secure.