Calm Amid The Chaos
Congested, chaotic, crazy – Bangkok’s Chinatown is a boiling cauldron of exotic scents, sounds and sights that can be something of an assault on the senses for the uninitiated. Thankfully, Shanghai Mansion Bangkok is a calm oasis offering shelter from the storm. Just feet away from the busy thoroughfare, the period-style hotel transports weary travellers back in time.
Once safely ensconced in the cool lobby, the cacophony of noise dissipates, the hum of the constant traffic evaporates and calmness prevails. Guests get an inkling of what’s to come from the giant art installation that greets everyone entering Shanghai Mansion Bangkok: an enormous painting of a serene looking Chinese lady dressed in red, relaxing on a chair. Each of the hotel’s six floors offer more idyllic Chinese paintings, various types of Qing style imperial furniture, large and small carpets and a variety of lighting.
Upon entering one of the various room types – from Mei Hua, Ying Hua, Mu Dan and family suites – is like arriving in 20th century Shanghai with antique chinoiserie that includes four-poster beds, Chinese artworks, lamps, chairs, sofas and daybeds. In our bathroom, a key feature was a wicker birdcage complete with two imitation birds.
Guests are peppered with utilities such as free unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi, flat screen TV with numerous local and international channels, DVD player, complimentary mini-bar (replenished daily) and tea and coffee making facilities. In the bathroom, we especially liked the Spa by Burasari toiletries; a welcome delight to cleanse away unwanted odours. The refreshing coconut shower gel, shampoo and conditioner all got a huge seal of approval.
Guests opting for the Ying Hua and Mu Dan suites are afforded a little more floor space, including a free standing bath tub to soak in after a day of sightseeing around Chinatown. For parents with kids, Shanghai Mansion Bangkok offers the family suite that comfortably sleeps two adults and two children and has a seating area where the young ones can play, read or let their imaginations run wild.
The famous Cotton Club on the hotel’s third floor is replete with arched windows that provide a bird’s eye view of the busy Yaowarat Road and is the location for breakfast. A cornucopia of East and West cuisine, Cotton really pulls out all the stops to ensure guests are topped up with sufficient sustenance to keep them going all day. Order your choice of eggs – from sunny side up to Egg’s Benedict and just about every style in between – then start browsing the morning menu. The freshly brewed French press coffee is a blessing first thing, as too are the fresh fruit juices. Mix and match breakfast with a bowl of noodles, a fried egg, a slice of bacon and a few pieces of dim sum; go on, you’re on holiday.
Shanghai Mansion Bangkok is ideally located for those who want to explore the markets, temples and shops (gold shops) Chinatown is famous for. Step out the front door and just follow your nose and you’ll soon come across something of interest. For a more detailed itinerary, guests can always ask at reception for a walking route that will suit their agenda. With two subway stations close by – Wat Mongkon and Hua Lamphong Railway Station, getting around greater Bangkok has never been easier. A little further away is the Chao Phraya River and the ferryboats that transport people up and down the river as well as to the original location of Bangkok on the Thonburi side.
After a busy day pounding the pavements of Chinatown or further afield, guests do not have to go out looking for entertainment as it provided on site. Renowned for its jazz ensembles, Shanghai Mansion’s Jazz Lounge is a favourite among locals and long-term expats who appreciate good food and excellent music. The al fresco terrace is the only one of its kind in the vicinity and provides a cool location for an afternoon drink or an evening of relaxing jazz tunes from the mega-stars of yesteryear to modern interpretations.
A reasonably priced city escape with a difference you will remember for years to come, Shanghai Mansion Bangkok certainly ticks all the boxes and scores highly on numerous travel websites; for good reason. A venue like no other in Bangkok, it’s the perfect place to bring out the emperor – or empress – in you.
Managed by the Burasari Group, guests of Shanghai Mansion Bangkok have the option of other hotels in Thailand and Laos to choose from. One interesting property is the budget hotel W22 by Burasari, a few hundred meters from Shanghai Mansion and almost on the doorstep of Bangkok’s main railway station Hua Lamphong (until 2021). W22 offers standard rooms for as little as Bt1,088 per night (excluding breakfast), while family rooms with every kid’s favourite sleeping style, bunk beds, start at Bt2,300.
W22 was recently refurbished and the industrial décor is clean and stylish. Rooms are bulk standard, clean, airy and meet the needs of budget travellers. One the second floor of W22 is a chill out room with comfortable sofas, TV, pool table, and exercise facilities as well as a laundry room. For guests catching late night trains or buses, W22 provides luggage storage and a shower room for departing guests. The ground floor restaurant Fork & Cork by Sphinx serves breakfast (not included in room price), lunch and dinner and in the evening the open air rooftop bar is one of the best places to hang out in Chinatown.