By John Wogan
July 08, 2020
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Courtesy of The Sukhothai Bangkok

This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.

Mythologized by twentysomething backpackers and discerning, seasoned travelers alike, Bangkok is Southeast Asia’s most popular urban destination, and it’s not hard to understand why. The Thai capital is a dense, frenetic playground for food and drink obsessives, flea market shoppers, and design nerds looking for some of the most unique architecture in Asia. Plus, it’s home to some of the most exceptional hotels in the world.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

In a city that pulses with energy 24 hours a day, certain hotels offer a quiet, more subdued sanctuary, and the No. 3 Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, is one of them. Opened in 1876 on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the hotel is “heaven on earth, from the tastefully appointed rooms to the legendary butler service,” said one reader. Another raved that “your wishes are fulfilled in every respect, from the smallest detail. Excellent food, an accommodating staff, and an unbelievable location.”

This year’s runner-up, Lebua at State Tower, is rightfully known with locals, travelers, and fans of The Hangover 2 for its rooftop bar, a major attraction for those who book a room in the property, which is set inside a 68-story skyscraper. One reader described Lebua as “the most amazing hotel I've been to in Bangkok, as the view is incredible, overlooking the city.” Another reader said “the spa was fantastic,” while a third praised the “wonderful bar and great restaurants,” including the Michelin two-starred Mezzaluna, serving French-Japanese fusion cuisine on the 65th floor.

1. The Sukhothai Bangkok

Courtesy of The Sukhothai Bangkok

Score: 96.71

More information: sukhothai.com

“It’s off the radar, but checks all the boxes,” said one reader about this year’s winner, which is located in downtown Bangkok and a 15-minute walk from the city’s popular Lumphini Park. The prevailing theme here is “Zen,” with contemporary, neutral-toned guest rooms accented with teak floors and furnishings, deep soaking tubs, and Bottega Veneta bath amenities. Keeping with the theme of serenity, the property’s Spa Botanica offers a menu of traditional Thai massages, and the 25-meter (82-foot) swimming pool is a relaxing spot for a cocktail before dinner. The ultimate result, according to another reader, is “a spectacular hotel experience.”

2. Lebua at State Tower

Courtesy of Lebua at State Tower

Score: 94.53

More information: lebua.com

3. Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Score: 94.48

More information: mandarinoriental.com

4. The Peninsula Bangkok

Courtesy of The Peninsula Bangkok

Score: 92.00

More information: peninsula.com

5. Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort

Courtesy of Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort

Score: 90.00

More information: anantara.com

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2020.