Best Hotels in Thailand
These properties deliver at-the-ready service and captivating settings, whether near iconic temples and markets or footsteps from the beaches of Chiang Mai. Find out which Thailand hotels got the approval from T+L readers in our annual World's Best Awards survey.
No. 1 Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai, Thailand
A miniature Thai kingdom with 123 Lanna-inspired suites and villas on 60 acres that's the setting for a Buddhist prayer site, a 33,000-square-foot spa, and an arts-and-crafts village. The amazing two-story villas are reclaimed authentic Northern Thai rice barns. Opt for a classic dance lesson or a class in northern Thai cuisine.
No. 2 Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Thailand
In this legendary 1887 hotel and modern tower, many of the 393 rooms now have floor-to-ceiling windows, with spectacular views of the busy Chao Phraya River. Book on of the split-level Garden Wing Rooms, for traditional sophistication or Authors' Suites, for opulent Thai style. The hotel has rich literary history; Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, Noël Coward, James Michener all stayed at the Oriental. Take a moment for dim sum in the 1930's-inspired China House, one of the hotel's nine restaurants. The hotel also has a garden pool and a spa located across the water and reachable by ferry. Guests can attend a cooking school or troll the lobby for celebrity sightings. Wander into the Bamboo Bar for perfectly mixed cocktails like the Singapore Sling.
No. 3 The Peninsula Bangkok, Thailand
Setting a city standard for luxury, the 370 rooms of this hotel are appointed with teakfloors, silk-covered furniture, marble bathrooms, and high-tech control panels, within a 37-story tower that overlooks the Chao Phraya River. The hotel's spa was revamped in 2007 to an impressive 21,000 square foot space. Grand Deluxe rooms have a lounge area, oversize beds, and unique V-shaped windows providing amazing city views. Ask the concierge to map out a walking route of the narrow alleys of nearby Chinatown, lined with dumpling houses and boutiques.
No. 4 Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Just outside Chiang Mai proper, 12 poolside villas look onto rice paddies, the hotel's resident water buffalo, and the Mae Rim Valley. Garden Pavilion rooms have deep-soaking tubs and outdoor salas with Thai daybeds. Try your hand at the preparation of noodle soup with chicken or dry spiced curry with pork at the resort's cooking school.
No. 5 Dusit Thani Laguna Resort, Phuket, Thailand
Most of Phuket's high-end properties are hermetically sealed temples to luxury, tucked behind gates with little daily interaction with non-guests. That's what makes the Dusit Thani so refreshing. Though part of the gated Laguna Phuket complex, there's an easy friendliness to the hotel, thanks, in part, to its location along the public Bang Chao Beach. So you can have the friendly hubbub of fruit sellers plying fresh mango and local families frolicking in the surf without the over-commercialization of the island's other public beaches. Complimentary shuttle boats allow you to access the pools and eateries at each of the complex's other resorts. But at the Dusit Thani, you're already spoiled for choice, with five restaurants, a large spa, an even larger swimming pool, and lessons in everything from sailing to Thai boxing to batik. The 226 rooms have a nautical-by-way-of-Thailand vibe with navy and white striped textiles complimenting antique carvings and ceramics, all with private balconies overlooking the lagoons or the crystal waters of the Andaman Sea.
No. 6 Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand
This riverside hotel has Bangkok's largest treatment rooms at the property's Chi spa. All 119 Krungthep Wing guest rooms and 10 suites offer balconies, personal butler service, exclusive access to the private lobby and lounge, and the wing's riverfront swimming pool. Book a dinner cruise on the hotel's private riverboat, the Horizon II.
No. 7 Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Bangkok, Thailand
Located in the commercial district, this colossal riverfront hotel is a short boat ride from the Grand Palace and adjacent to the city's largest antiques shopping mall. Tower Rooms include breakfast, cocktails, laundry service, and Internet access; those on floors 26-28 are the freshest. Try the porcini risotto with lobster by chef Luca Pulese at Giorgio's, Bangkok's first Italian restaurant in a hotel.
No. 8 Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa, Chiang Rai, Thailand
The property rests on the banks of the mighty Mekong River at the meeting point of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. The Zen-luxe retreat, near the Thai town of Chiang Saen, unabashedly makes the most of its location. Each of the 90 rooms includes a balcony with a canopied daybed for prime tri-cultural vistas. The Anantara's spa has five treatment rooms, equipped with both Thai massage platforms and private outdoor decks. The Mekong plays host to scenic river rides on long-tail boats, and the resort's nearby elephant camp, affiliated with Thailand's Elephant Conservation Center, offersriding courses. There's also a Thai cooking school, along with two restaurants and a bar. To help support the Doi Tung produce co-op, run by 27 area villages and tribes, the hotel carries its fair-trade nuts and coffee beans to sell to guests.
No. 9 JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Phuket, Thailand
Located on the secluded Mai Khao Beach, this elegant property also welcomes children. The Deluxe Garden View rooms on the second and third floors have balconies overlooking the grounds. Winter is the best time to visit, as you can watch leatherback seaturtles emerge from November to February from nearby Sirinath Marine National Park, a protected sea-turtle nesting area.
No. 10 Four Seasons Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand
French colonial hotel with gardens, hand-painted silk ceilings, and the city's largest lap pool. The Deluxe-view rooms are some of Bangkok's biggest; opt for those with tropical garden views. Partake of the fun, free poolside services, like sunglasses cleaning and frozen fruit, and beat the heat at the air-conditioned outdoor lounge area.