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When I'm in Bangkok I stay at the centrally located Tai-Pan Hotel. I have also stayed at The Oriental Hotel, which consistently rates in the top three of the best hotels in the world. But for $300 - $2500 a night, it ought to be one of the best. (Remember, this is Thailand - where meals cost $2 - $3!) You may not get a private butler, three personal marble bathrooms or a concierge at the Tai-Pan, but the service at the Tai-Pan is every bit as friendly as The Oriental Hotel.

Now the Peninsula Hotel, located on the opposite side of the river from the Oriental, is the top hotel in the world. Lavish, modern, incredible.

Rooms at the Tai-Pan start at around $40 depending on the current exchange rate and season. With its included All-You-Can-Eat-Breakfast, it's a tough one to beat. The hotel is located close to the overhead train station and department stores.

You can pay a LOT less in Thailand. Believe me, a lot of frequent vacationers to Thailand wouldn't THINK of spending more than $15 for a room. Others want the luxury $700 deal. Thailand has the full range of accommodations for every taste in the world.

Every hotel I've been to in Thailand offers a mini refrigerator with at least one bottle of drinking water a day free. As with most foreign countries, you'd best stay clear of the tap water.

Chiang Mai
The Westin in Chaing Mai is a five star hotel that doesn't cost much more than the rest. So do yourself a favor and pamper yourself after that long day of elephant trekking through the jungles and rivers.

I've been all over the world, but I've never seen a more lavish presentation for breakfast as witnessed at this hotel. They cater to every taste on this planet from a New York style bagel with lox and cream cheese, to breakfast sushi for the Asian guests. No matter how strange your morning taste is - they've got you covered.

Kata Beach - Phuket
On Phuket Island I've tried both The Boathouse and the Kata Beach Resort hotel, located right next to each other on quiet Kata Beach. Expect a lot higher prices for the much smaller Boathouse which appeals more to couples who've heard (or read) that it's a charming little hotel.

But you share the same beach with the mega Kata Beach Resort Hotel with its three restaurants, massive lobby, and larger rooms at much cheaper rates. It's a lot like sitting next to someone on the plane who paid $300 less for their ticket than you did.

The Boathouse is also the only Thailand hotel I know of that gives only ONE bottle of drinking water per room per day. Charming? Yeah, ok it's charming.

The Boathouse also claims to have the best wine cellar in the region, but you don't have to stay there to eat and enjoy wine at their restaurant. I put the Boathouse Hotel link at the bottom of this page for the sole purpose of romantic getaways. If you are looking for that little beach hideaway where the two of you can snuggle up in your tiny little hotel room, this might be just what you're looking for.

Note: Kata Beach Resort is completely renovating the entire hotel and site and will reopen the last week in July 2003.

Patong Beach - Phuket
I've also stayed at the Thara Patong hotel (which has a very nice new wing) in the Patong Beach area of Phuket. Patong is a party town with loud jet-skis by day, and pulsing nightclubs at night. If you're into quiet vacationing, Patong is not for you! (See Kata Beach - above).

A bit off the main drag of Patong, but still within walking distance is the Amari Coral Beach Resort, located on the top of the hill with a beach of its own.

Though considered luxury, this hotel has its strengths and weaknesses. Few affordable hotels in Patong are actually located on the beach itself. The Amari is within reach of most American wallets, and on the beach

This lavishly decorated hotel is part of an upscale chain of Amari hotels. Three restaurants, one of which features Italian food, and another that has you eating your breakfast in full view of a beautiful beach view. The beach itself may be less inviting, as it is quite rocky. But the views will certainly keep you in a relaxed mood. The structures and layout are obviously where the money was spent.

The rooms themselves are less inviting than the lavishly decorated public areas of the hotel, and the long outdoor walk to your room over this sprawling hotel may leave you gasping for air. But the clean pools and friendly staff are on par with a hotel in this price range. For comparison purposes - your room will look much like any American city Holiday Inn. (If your main objective is a nice room - See Thara Patong Hotel above and make sure to get a room in the newer wing.)

For those that enjoy Spa's, the Amari features quite an array of packages, and couples will find they can both share a spa package together with dual masseuses and the sound of the pounding surf below their private outdoor spa treatment room.

The Amari hotel will definitely appeal to couples.

You'll find the service at any Thailand hotel a cut above U.S. (American) standards.


Luxury -Luxury - Luxury

For those that are either rich or just want to feel rich for one night, the Amanpuri Resort is just a short distance from the Patong Beaches in Phuket, and something right out of the glossy travel magazines you drool over. A chauffeur driven golf cart takes you anywhere you want to go within the massive property, including the heavenly private beach that is for resort guests only.

Want to feel like a top movie star for a day? The Amanpuri is definitely the place. Be sure to book months in advance and work plenty of overtime to pay for it. One night here and you'll see how the "other half" lives.

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When it comes to getting away from it all, nothing beats waking up, opening your eyes, and finding yourself on the other side of the world in Thailand.

There are TONS of hotels in Thailand, so feel free to pick your own. I've stayed at those pictured below.

Note: As you click any of these links, a new browser window will open up taking you directly to their home site. My site will also remain open, allowing you to shop each hotel. You will not lose your place here, just toggle between the open browser windows.

Peninula  Amanpuri