Top picks

PANORAMAS

If you like to spend time in your room looking out of it, these beanpoles have guaranteed angel s-eye views in the City of Angels. Just remember to ask for a room on an upper floor.

■ Millennium Hilton (opposite)

■ Peninsula Hotel (opposite)

SOFITEL SILOM BANGKOK

@ 0 22381991; www.sofitel.com; 188 Th Silom; rfrom 6000B; 9 Chong Nonsi; g £

Coffee and liqueur colours add a spike of cool to this otherwise suburban-minded hotel. Rooms are more cosy than expansive, and the design is more safe than cutting edge. But they're clean, comfortable and everything works. Ride up to the 37th floor for a wine with a view at V9.

TRIPLE TWO SILOM Map pp108-9 Hotel $$ @ 0 2627 2222; www.tripletwosilom.com; 222 Th Silom; r/ste 4500/5900B; ® Chong Nonsi; g O)

How do you take a bland Bangkok shopping mall and turn it into a classy boutique? The answer lies in this four-storey, 75-room hotel in the middle of stylish Th Silom. The 2004 makeover delivered a lot of white marble, dark wood and old-timey photographs, which come together in a pleasing pan-Asian mode. Rooms are large and kitted out with both wi-fi and ADSL internet at the desk. Guests can use the roof garden, but will have to go next door to the sister Narai Hotel for the swimming pool and fitness centre.

LA RÉSIDENCE HOTEL Map pp108-9 Hotel $$ §§ 0 2233 3301; www.laresidencebangkok.com; 173/8-9 Th Surawong; d/ste 2000/3700B; ® Chong Nonsi, (8) air-con 16, ordinary 93;

La Résidence is a charming boutique inn with 26 playfully and individually decorated rooms that, according to the manager, have been 'changing all the time, one at a time for the last 15 years'. They're fantastic value! Micro-mini-sized rooms start at 1200B but for 2000B, you get a more voluptuous abode with blood-red walls, modern Thai motifs and crystal-clean bathroom. The overall effect is a casual sophistication that will delight anyone who gets twitchy in chain hotels.

@ 0 2634 7999; www.lubd.com; 4 Th Decho, Th Surawong; dm/d 550/1800B; 9 Chong Nonsi;

From the owners of Triple Two Silom comes Lub*D (meaning 'sleep well'), a flashpacker haunt that will no doubt be described as a 'boutique hostel' before long. Opened in 2008, the four storeys of dorms (including a ladies-only wing) and rooms with and without bathrooms are an industrial mix of raw concrete, exposed iron beams, woodchip doors and stencilled signs. The atmosphere is young and hip, with free internet in the streetside bar-cum-lobby, and security is tight (even the dorm rooms have key cards). If you want backpacker atmosphere but fancy (and can afford) a bit of comfort, Lub*D won't disappoint.

ROSE HOTEL Map pp108-9 Hotel $$

l§ 0 2266 8268-72; www.rosehotelbkk.com; 118 Th Surawong, Silom; r from 1700B; 9 Sala Daeng, m Silom; ([email protected] Hidden down a lane beside the much larger Montien, the Rose is another Bangkok veteran that has had some much-needed cosmetic surgery. The result is more Halle Berry than Jocelyne Wildenstein, with the 70 spacious rooms sporting a stylish mix of coloured walls, dark tiles and sleek bathrooms. This Rose is a very cheap date, too, considering she comes with a small gym (three machines), sauna and Thai restaurant in an old teak house set around an oasis-like pool. With breakfast included and wi-fi for 100B an hour, it's one of the best deals in town.

URBAN AGE Map pp108-9 Hostel $

@ 0 2634 2680; [email protected]; 130/6 Soj 8, Th Silom; dm/d 250/800B; 9 Chong Nonsi;

The Urban Age is a sort of new age version of the classic Bangkok budget haunt, in a quiet soi within crawling distance of the Silom nightspots. Small rooms, all without bathrooms and some without windows, have just enough draped fabric and minor touches to make it more appealing than the prison-cell style competition. The friendly girls who run the place (English spoken only from 8am to 5pm) are a highlight. The only downside is that the dorms are six storeys up, all stairs.

NIAGARA HOTEL Map pp108-9 Hotel $$ @ 0 2635 0676-85; 26 Soi 9, Th Silom; d from 1000B; 9 Chong Nonsi; (gl

From the outside, Niagara looks like another shady no-tell motel, with a well-hidden car park for midday breaks and a weather-beaten facade. The '60s-vintage lobby doesn't look much better, but the squeaky clean rooms, gleaming white bath rooms and friendly owner make this a good deal for the area. It seems this place takes guest entertainment seriously, too, with three channels of 24-hour pornography.

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