BIG five-star hotels now have competition in the form of boutique hotels. Intimate, luxurious and sometimes quaint, these smaller hotels add an artsy, personalised and stylish edge to your stay.
Dream Hotel Bangkok (top): Located in Sukhumvit, the pulse of Bangkok, and following in the footsteps of its New York counterpart, this hotel is hip and luxurious.
As I took pictures of everything from the colourful fabric-upholstered chairs in the lobby to the water features, I felt that every detail was like a piece of modern art.
If hotels were to reflect one's personality, Dream makes you feel you're part of the trendy professional crowd in Bangkok.
With decor inspired by Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, Dream's Flava Bar & Lounge serves an eclectic blend of Thai and Western cuisine, sherbets and cocktails, drawing a sophisticated crowd.
The hotel boasts plasma TVs in every room, an in-house spa, beds fitted with Egyptian cotton sheets, and a soon-to-be-opened rooftop pool and bar.
The primary feature, however, is the blue ethereal lighting in every room. I liked the fact that the blue even glowed from under the bed.
Room rates start from 4,500 baht a night.
Dream is located at 10 Sukhumvit Soi 15, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok.
Arun Residence: It is a quaint and charming hotel by the Chao Phraya River and in the old city.
Preserving its historic Sino-Portuguese structure, I felt like I had stepped back into a languid past and it made me forget that I was just a tuk-tuk ride away from towering skyscrapers and congested roads.
The five rooms, including a rooftop suite, are each themed to a different flower and are styled with antique furniture and hardwood floors.
Cancelling my dinner plans in Chinatown, I left my "Lotus" room for the in-house The Deck by the River alfresco restaurant. With sultry jazz playing in the background, riverboats chugging past, and a view of the beautifully lit Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), it was a pity I was alone at one of the most romantic restaurants in Bangkok.
With the city and Sinatra in the background, I chased the blues away with an exquisite Thai-fusion cuisine.
Room rates start from 3,000 baht a night.
One piece of advice: Just be patient when you come to hunt down this hidden treasure tucked away at the end of a narrow residential street in the old city.
Arun Residence is located at 36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong, Maharat Road, Rattanakosin Island, Bangkok.
Top photo: Dream Hotel Bangkok