Here’s where to stay in Bangkok in the midst of Chinatown’s teeming markets. Discover an award-winner with EDBK’s Shanghai Mansion review.
Taking the 14th position in the 2019 Top 50 Boutique Hotels & Resorts Hotel of the Year Awards and a 2018 winner in the Boutique Hotel Awards , Shanghai Mansion by The Burasari Group is a hip, 1930s Shanghai-inspored hotel.
Shanghai Mansion review
From the street, Shanghai Mansions certainly doesn’t look like your typical hotel. When I arrived straight off my long flight at 11 pm, the jazz bar was filled with happy people lapping up some soulful tunes. Behind the bar, cocktail shakers were rattling in time to the beat and then filling up martini glasses. I almost didn’t want to go to bed!
Reception is at the back of the building where it is surprisingly quiet, and the check-in was quick and efficient. A welcome drink and cold towel took the edge off my traveller’s fatigue.
Walking to my room, the first surprise was the three-level atrium filled with a fish pond on the ground floor. It was a delightfully open space, through protected from the weather by a roof.
Outside each room were two chairs which made it look like a cute cottage. Step inside and the vibrant, lush colours and dark wood furniture evoke an opulent feel somewhat like a stage set.
I was staying in a Mu Dan Suite which has a king size bed and 49 sq metres of room. These are the largest rooms in the hotel and included a daybed and wing chair in the separated lounge area. There were a television and DVD player in the lounge area and a choice of channels that included FOX, BBC and even Russia Today.
The bed looked very inviting with its cute bed lamps and pillows. It was a thinner mattress than I am used to at home, but still comfortable.
What haven’t I mentioned about this room?
The view – because, well, there isn’t one. Not a window with anything to see at all. There are panes of glass and light shows behind them in the morning, but I have no idea if they looked onto the outside.
Strangely, this didn’t matter one little bit. The view inside was so absorbing I couldn’t care less what was outside. It didn’t feel stuffy or confined, and the excellent air conditioning did its job very well.
In the morning I made myself a cup of tea and just sat back to enjoy the room before heading out to explore Chinatown.
My only gripe and I got over it quickly, is a lack of power points beside the bed for charging tech gadgets and no desk for working. Also, if you want music, you’ll have to pack your own Bluetooth speaker.
Lighting was a little complicated to turn off because of the ample space, but I got there.
Although the ground floor jazz bar kept pumping away as I went to sleep, the slight noise was strangely comforting rather than annoying.
Give me a freestanding bath, and I’m in heaven, and this one was a delight to soak in. The Burasari toiletries were luxurious, matching the grey silk bathrobe in the wardrobe.
There was a makeup mirror, but the lighting was not fabulous. The separate shower and toilet rooms certainly added convenience.
About Shanghai Mansion – Bangkok hotel review
Shanghai Mansion started out in 1892 as a trading house. It was transformed in 1908 into Bangkok’s first Chinese opera house.
Frequented by members of Thailand’s Royal Family and the aristocracy, the opera house was renowned for its spectacular interiors and successful staging of classic Chinese theatre.
In the mid-1900s, the building was transformed to serve as Thailand’s stock exchange and a textile trading centre. Later it became Yaowarat Square, a famous department store filled with shops and restaurants selling Chinese herbal medicine.
The building fell into disrepair bu 1998, and in 2005, it was purchased by Burasari Group.
The Burasari Group refurbished the building as Shanghai Mansion to become Chinatown’s most striking and artistic boutique hotel.
Inspired by the building’s theatrical roots, original Art Deco flair and the ongoing revival of Yaowarat Road, Shanghai Mansion reflects the stylish Shanghai circa 1930. It is full of opulent fabrics in rich, vibrant colours, imperial furniture and whimsical details.
Nice extras at Shanghai Mansion
I didn’t have time to test these, but the hotel offers an additional experience per room, per night. You can choose between a Dim Sum High Tea, massage at Spa Burasari or a morning walk through Bangkok’s historic Chinatown.
The wi-fi is complimentary and unlimited throughout the hotel, and I found it worked well for social media. I did not try streaming Netflix as I was too busy seeing Bangkok!
You’ll never starve here. The complimentary mini-bar includes soft drinks, chips and an Oreo bar and is replenished once a day.
When you arrive, probably hot and bothered, there is a complimentary welcome drink and refreshing aromatherapy towel waiting for you.
There is also a complimentary tuk-tuk shuttle.
Some of these extras are only available if you book directly with the hotel.
Outside the hotel – Bangkok hotel review
The frenetic pace of Chinatown waits outside, and it’s only a short walk until you are the midst of alleyways and temples.
Stroll out of the hotel lobby, turn left and walk to Yaowarat Soi 6, which is also known as Talad Mai or “New Market”. While this section of the market has been around nearly 80 years, the Talad Kow or “Old Market” section of the market, on Yaowarat Soi 26, has been running for over 150 years.
There is a lot to see. Look out for hidden shrines and unusual finds. It is packed with fish maw stands which sell dehydrated fish parts that can be used for soups and sauces.
There are also several shops selling traditional herbal tonics and some have English signs. Lo-han-guo or ‘Monkfruit juice’ is a popular tonic extracted from momordica or bitter melon that is believed to be a digestive cure-all.
Try a traditional Chinese Tea ceremony
Double Dog Tea Room at 406 Yaowarat Road, offers tastes of high-quality teas from China, Sri Lanka and Japan. Here you can learn the difference between white, green and black teas and discover the different tastes and flavours. The shop serves a limited food menu, beer and wine. There are tea leaves and tea sets for purchase.
Go bar hopping
Tep Bar is a restored shophouse serving traditional ya dong (Thai herbal whiskey) by the shot or in delicious cocktails made with fruit, herbs and spices. Nightly live music features traditional ceremonial songs from central Thailand.
69-71 Soi Nana, 098-467-2944. Open Tue-Thu 5pm-midnight and Fri-Sun 5pm-1am.
Let The Boy Die
Craft beer is all the rage, and the drinks are well-priced. In spite of the name, you will not die!
542/ Luang Rd., 096-695-6281, 082-675-9673. Open daily 6pm-midnight.
The Red Rose Bar & Restaurant
Shanghai Mansion’s live jazz bar is a local favourite. Hang out in the airy, street-level lounge. Best of all, you don’t have to walk far to get back home!
Shanghai Mansion, 1st Floor
You will find Shanghai Mansion at 479 481 Yaowarat Rd, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand.
Best rate I found was $94 per night from Booking.com (April 2019).
Disclaimer: For this Bangkok hotel review EDBK stayed as a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.