First off, this is a good hotel... just not as good as it thinks it is.
I chose to stay here after seeing the beautiful photographs of the interior on i-escape and the many positive comments describing it as a throwback to 1920s Shanghai. It looks and sounds perfect and the prices look very reasonable for such a 'boutique' hotel.
I've stayed in Bangkok before, but have become sick and tired of all the unwanted (in my case anyway) attention you get in the 'popular' areas as a single travelling male. Chinatown is very different in that respect, it's a highly interesting area with good transport connections to other many other must-see sites around Bangkok.
My first issue was at the airport. Chinatown is very well located for airport limos and taxis, only requiring you to be off of the raise-highway for a few blocks in that famously bad Bangkok traffic. However, no one had heard of the 'Shanghai Mansion', so my advice is to carry the address (or phone number) on you for the driver. I believe the confusion may have been caused by the re-branding to Shanghai Mansion from Shanghai Inn not so long ago. Another tip is to ask to be taken to the 'Chinatown Hotel' which is located directly across the road. This is more likely to register with taxi and tuk tuk drivers.
On arrival there were staff waiting at the bottom of the escalator, which leads up to the hotel on the first floor. They have a list of guests arriving that day and were very quick to assist me. You can spot the building by a big vertical sign on the side that says 'Cotton', this is the name of the jazz bar they have on the second floor.
Check-in was quick; I was then taken to my room which was surprisingly on the same floor as the 1st floor lobby. I had a suite to myself, and it was a pretty huge space and contained an enormous bed, a Chinese daybed opposite the television, a huge freestanding bathtub and separate toilet and shower rooms. First impressions were pretty good! I was tired so went to sleep.
This was when the flaws started to get exposed. Yes, I was going to be quite early (maybe 9pm), but I'd been travelling all day and was shattered. Getting to sleep wasn't easy though due to the noise. My room had the following problems:
1) noise from people in the lobby - especially women wearing high heels
2) noise from the jazz bar echoes all around the open atrium
3) noise from outside - especially very late when businesses slam their metal shutters
The next morning I got up feeling better, but not as refreshed as I would have liked. I had a look around the room. A few other flaws stood out as I looked around the room:
> Although the furniture and style is beautiful, there are some ugly design features such as ugly white plastic light switches and cheap looking spot lights.
> Poorly fitting furniture. For example the wardrobe door hit the wall before opening enough for drawers to be accessed. I also had to physically move the minibar around inside the wooden cabinet to open the door, even then the fridge door still knocked against wood when opening.
The bathroom is also a bit of a missed opportunity. Sure I was alone, but I was surprised that such a large, intimate bath came with no bubble bath, salts or even any soap. My room only had shower gel and shampoo containers in the shower room, there wasn't even any soap next to the sink. Strange for a 'boutique' hotel.
Other minor things were that the television would lose its signal frequently, sometimes for a few minutes at a time, which made watching anything with a story pointless. The room also seemed to be lacking any guest information about the hotel and facilities, no guide to TV channels or information about breakfast and so on.
That may all sound pretty negative, but none of them are real deal breakers... just missed opportunities. The rooms and hotel interior are still very nice vs most Bangkok hotels and the location is perfect if Chinatown is for you.
A couple of good highlights worth mentioning are the fast, free wifi that they offer guests. I lost connection a few times, but it was easy to connect to and a good speed for Thailand. The room also came with a few good freebies in the minibar (two bottles of water, two soft drinks and one beer (I guess you'd have to fight over it if you're a couple) and some chips. The air-conditioning system was also very good.
The next few nights I tended to stay out later, so when I got back the only real noise was those metal shutters from the shops in the street below by room. Service was pretty good, I never ate there (you're in Bangkok, in Chinatown - what's the point!), the door staff were very good at remembering me and were very polite.
All in all it's a great location, reasonable prices for the level of comfort, but could be one of the best hotels in Bangkok if they just raised the bar a little and paid more attention to detail. Also, whilst the jazz bar is nice, I really don't see it becoming a 'place to be' due to the location. Just a regular lounge bar, old Shanghai style would be better.
So would I go back again? Yes, but I wouldn't make this the only hotel I'd check rates for. It's worth checking out for a few nights, especially if you're interested in Chinatown and want to avoid the more seedy side to Bangkok. Hopefully they'll continue to improve it, there's a lot of potential here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Shanghai Mansion Bangkok An Award-Winning Boutique Hotel in the Heart of Bangkok’s Historic Chinatown. Situated in the heart of Bangkok’s historic Chinatown, Shanghai Mansion is an award-winning luxury boutique hotel named the region’s Best Luxury Cultural Hotel. Glamour and luxury mingle in the hotel’s opulent and well-appointed rooms, with a strong imprint of 1930s Shanghai and Art Deco influences. 76 individually-decorated rooms boast period furniture, vibrant chinoiserie, and luxurious amenities. A peaceful, 5-storey indoor garden is a great place to unwind, while the award-winning Spa Burasari boasts The hotel’s Red Rose Restaurant features a delightful modern Chinese menu and a lively bar stocked with fine spirits, an international wine list and exquisite Chinese whiskey and liqueurs. Nightly live jazz keeps the mood light and celebratory. Situated right on Yaowaraj Road, Shanghai Mansion sits in the heart of the historic district, within easy access to Bangkok’s major attractions, and Chinatown’s famous street food stalls, exotic fresh markets, traditional tea and medicines shops, heritage shophouses and iconic temples. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Shanghai Mansion Hotel Bangkok
- Shanghai Inn Bangkok