Classic Chinese elegance
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Shanghai Mansion pulls off the classic elegance of an upscale Shanghai cigar den in the pre-World War II days. The Chinese decor extends to every corner, from the happening jazz bar to the fish pond to the carvings engraved in the wooden bed frames. Helpful staff and a terrific Yaowarat Road location also help to make this one of the better boutique hotels in Bangkok.
Accessed by a lift and halls overlooking a huge open centre extending down five floors to a large fish pond, rooms are a feast for the senses. Burgundy drapes compliment soft pastel walls. Lanterns cast glowing light across rich textiles and dark-wood furniture. Four-poster beds stand beside swirling Chinese motif carpets as natural light flows through blue and yellow stained-glass windows. All rooms come with TVs, DVD players, WiFi, safes, complimentary minibars (free beer!), coffee/tea facilities and extras like bathrobes and umbrellas.
Go for a deluxe or suite and you’ll get a private sitting area lit by a red-accented chandelier. Lie back on a silk pillow, stretching your legs on a crimson-and-white cushioned daybed while pretending to be the 19th-century Chinese noble shown in a portrait hung from the olive-green wall. When you muster the energy, dip into the Jacuzzi tub or fetch the butler to deliver a snack or iron your blouse before a night out. Indeed, this is a fine choice for honeymooners.
Considering the strong amenities and compelling style, Shanghai Mansion has very competitive rates. Across the street, the more straightforward Chinatown Hotel was offering rooms of a far lower standard for a little more cash than what Shanghai charged for a superior room when we checked, but only if reserving through the hotel’s website or the big booking sites. Expect to save around 1,000 baht if booking online rather than as a walk-in.
As for common areas, the Mansion boasts a red-lit jazz bar on the ground floor where you can take in a live band with a cocktail as Chinatown buzzes by outside. There’s also a library, restaurant, grand ballroom, tour desk and the hotel’s own tuk tuk shuttling guests to key attractions and transport stations. Four staff members promptly greeted us at the door and the receptionist did a fine job of explaining what types of rooms were available.
The location couldn’t be better if you’re keen on staying in the heart of Chinatown with all its frenetic energy. Famous street food stalls like R&L Seafood and Kuay-tiao Lod Phra Thep are steps away. Hualamphong MRT Station and Ratchawong express boat pier are both 10 to 15 minutes away if travelling on foot.
The nearby Hotel Royal Chinatown is a solid alternative if you prefer more of a business-style hotel with a swimming pool and fitness centre. If you’re okay with a riverside location that puts you further from the action, Loy La Long Hotel also boasts an artistic style and memorable rooms. The folks in charge of Shanghai Mansion also run Burasari Resort on Phuket along with a trio of properties in Luang Prabang.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 18th April, 2016.