by Harriet Bond
(San Francisco, CA, USA)
Accommodations in Thailand come in all price ranges, although the distribution of hotels is very uneven. A lot of development in the beach resorts contrasts with the basic bungalows in rural areas. All the major cities have at least one hotel matching international standards, while Bangkok boasts some of the best hotels in the world.
Mid-range accommodations are easily available in most towns and although these hotels have little character, they generally provide clean, efficient, and friendly service. A number of luxurious spas, resorts, and villas with contemporary and stylish decor are appearing at a rapid pace all over coastal Thailand.
Guesthouses provide cheap accommodation options for travelers on a tight budget. Other alternatives are designated campsites, bungalows inside national parks, or spartan dormitories in monasteries.
Thailand’s luxury hotels are on a par with some of the best in the world. Rooms come with every conceivable comfort, from king-sized beds and massive televisions, to well stocked mini-bars, and private terrace Jacuzzi’s.
These upscale hotels offer a range of facilities, including business centers, conference rooms, shopping malls, coffee shops, fitness centers, pools, as well as a number of restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines. However, these hotels are now facing stiff competition from the smaller and super luxurious boutique hotels that emphasize attention to detail and offer a more personalized service.
Like the urban luxury hotels, the resort hotels of Thailand are also unsurpassed in style, comfort, and elegance by the majority of their international counterparts. Resorts such as the Banyan Tree Resort in Phuket, and the Dusit Thani Hua Hin in Cha-am are designer spaces and oases of opulence.
Most resorts offer their guests a wide range of facilities including Jacuzzis, spas, saunas, tennis courts, watersports, and even horseback riding, or polo.
Guesthouses offer good value for money. In Bangkok, low-costaccommodations are often disappointing. Outside the capital, however, guesthouses are clean, friendly, and a cheap option for the budget traveler.
Some of these have air-conditioning or fans, and may offer swimming pools and restaurants. In the cheapest guesthouses expect basic facilities, although the service is still quite good.
BUDGET OR THAI HOTELS
These budget hotels, also known as Thai hotels, are cheap, functional, and offer basic facilities. Most have fan-cooled or air-conditioned rooms and only a few have restaurants. Although few foreigners choose to stay in Thai hotels, they may be the only option for travelers in some remote areas.