Thailand Hotels - opinions please

Oct 16th, 2007, 04:17 AM
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Thailand Hotels - opinions please

Not in any particular order - but this is what I'm looking at...

NOTE - 4 of us traveling, 2 adults, 2 teens. We prefer convenience in terms of location and nice amenities (restaurant, bar, etc). Price is not too big a concern at this point.

Bangkok - Penninsula (DH and older son were there a few years ago and insist on going back)

Phuket - any preference among the Laguna Beach resorts. Most still have some availability.

Chiang Mai - DH and son stayed at the Royal Princess near the Night Market, but DH would like to stay within the old city. I can get into the Royal Princess, but can anyone recommend a nice, upscale hotel within in the city walls?

Moving to Cambodia -

Looking at the Shinta Mani in Siem Reap. Anyone stayed there?

I am SOOO late in making all these arrangements. Just couldn't focus (seems like the same excuse I get from my teens about school work!!!). But - we're flexible and it will all work out!

Grcxx3 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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There are tons of comments on the Peninsula in the forums, just do a search. From everything I've read you can't go wrong with the Peninsula.

I would also be interested in peoples' comments on Shinta Mani. I had never heard it of it until you mentioned it, Grcxx3, so checked out reviews on Trip Advisor. Seems like a good option. We are currently booked at Hotel de La Paix for 4 nights in March, (we are with 2 teenagers as well) but I keep thinking maybe we should do something a little less extravagant.

Apparently, Shnta Mani finished a remodel recently. Someone in their TA review also mentioned it was a sister property to HDLP?? Any recent experiences would be appreciated.
jgg is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 09:11 AM
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jgg - the Penninsula is a "given" because DH and son had such a good time there.....assuming I can get my reservations in over the next day or two. I am SOOO late in planning this - but I am NOT panicking!!!

The Shinta Mani just showed up on a search I did and looked like my kind of place......small but elegant. I also liked the reviews I saw that said they do a lot of training for hotel-restaurant students. I was an adviser/counselor for a business school that had a HRT dept - so that hits home to me.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 09:26 AM
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For chiang mai my absolute favorite place is Baan Orapin but if you want to be in the Royal princess area you should try D2, Yang Come Village or Chedi.
glorialf is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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The Shinta Mani is run by the same organization as the HDLP...both hotels train underprivileged youth to work in the hotel industry. The HDLP is more luxurious and bigger than the Shinta Mani. If you're planning to splurge on the Pen, I'd opt for the Shinta Mani in Siem Reap.

For CM, I've had the following small inn outside the city saved in my favorites folder as it has gotten great reviews on this board and on Tripadvisor and it looks lovely:
cruisinred is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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I don't know if this is your type of thing, but in Chiang Mai, in the middle of the night market, there are photographers who take your family photo (and couple, individuals, sons alone, father and sons, etc) after dressing you up in Thai Royal outfits (and having makeup done). THere are a number of them, but the best and most accomodating one is the second or third one, with computer monitors outside his shop. The photographer is also a singer, so he sings while he shoots! Hilarious! It only costs about 500-600 baht per person, and you get a whole bunch of fun photos. Our big extended family (16 of us) did this one New Year's trip and even if we had to drag the men initially, they actually had fun spending a couple of hours together in the small studio (we had 4 teenagers in the group, and they had a good time too). It's a great souvenir of the family trip together and our friends were envious when we got home.

Had a nice dinners at Le Grand Lanna and House? Hmm, I dont' know if I remembered that second one correctly. Have fun!
vicki2201 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 11:59 AM
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Grccx3 - You don't say when you are going, but sounds fairly soon. If you end up at the Shinta Mani please report back on your stay. We too prefer small but elegant, and find that our favorite places to stay are often the smaller inns/B&B's.

We won't be going until March so hoping that is enough time after your trip for you to report back!
jgg is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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Within the old city in Chiang Mai, you have two choices: Tamarind Village and Ratchmankha. Both are owned by the same group and both are in the local style. Tamarind Village is very nice on the outside, but the rooms are a bit stark (although they've remodeled since I was there). It is right in the middle of the city and very convenient for exploring on foot.

In Phuket with a family, I would suggest one of the townhouses at the Allamanda. I stayed in one a few years ago with two large bedrooms, right on the lagoon. It was really a large vacation home, but the price was very reasonable.

Shinta Mani is run by the same people as HDLP, and is sort of a hotel training school helping poor children find a better life.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 10:57 PM
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I would also recommend the Allamanda as a great alternative. You can use all the facilities of the 5 other hotels, but get a huge apartment for much less than a single room at the Banyan Tree. It is not absolute beachfront but it is just a short stroll and you have a shuttle servive that will take you all around the resort.
My only issue was that it was a long way from any other locally run establishments so they are shooting fish in a barrell with their food and drink prices.
We stayed at Le Meridien last month and thought the beach there was better and it was a short tuk-tuk ride into Patong which will definately suit the teens. It also offers a golf driving range, rock climbing and heaps of other free activities during the day. It is not exactly a sort stroll away from lots of restaraunts and bars, but you could walk to some within 10-15 minutes. The rooms were nice and we had a sea view,but not big enough for 4 of you so you will need 2. We were there on a conference and all 30 of us said that we would go back.
shanek is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 09:27 PM
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HDLP - Hotel de La Paix is pushed by US travel agents because they give a very large commission to the agent. If you want a Siem Reap experience with more Khmer culture try the ANGKOR VILLAGE which also has a nice pool, but you stay in traditional Khmer cottages surrounded by tropical gardens... Rooms are less than $200 US... I believe they have cottages with suites, for your sons
There's a B&B owned by an American woman & her British husband & their young children, who got an award from Conde Nast Traveler, as best Cambodian, as they encourage guests to donate to local charities (money to build a well is just $100 US)... their website is:

their 9 room B&B is very clean, has A/C & a pool, massage & their restaurant & tour services... and looks like something your teens might enjoy.

IMO the HDLP is too pretentious for teens.

There's nothing wrong with staying in a luxury resort in Siem the Victoria Hotel or Raffles Grand d'Angkor, but I'd encourage you to stay at a luxury resort that has some Khmer culture or at least a colonial past.

I checked out HDLP website...after a travel agent pushed it & we might as well have been staying in Maui or the Caribbean, there was nothing of Siem Reap about the HDLP at all.
It seemed pretentious... and definitely not a place to bring your teens.
AskOksana is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 09:56 PM
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I had to laugh at that. The Raffles has a colonial past?? Am I missing something there?

That hotel (amongst a great deal of others in SR) is owned by a huge corporation.

HDLP is, indeed, a bit trendy, but I found there to be just as much 'culture' despite having a chic feel (and I didn't even stay there--so I'm not plugging it by any means.)

HDLP also invests back part of their earnings back into the local community (just like said B&B)--whereas enormous Western and Vietnamese corporations (like Sokha) don't seem as concerned with such things.

BTW--is it me or does that last post reek of advertising?
filmwill is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 10:02 PM
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She's not advertising. She's been posting over at tripadvisor about her upcoming trip and I advised her to come over here because the people here were much nicer and more knowledgable and friendlier than those at tripadvisor.
KimJapan is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 04:39 AM
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We, family of four with two college daughters, stayed at the Allemanda last December and I would really really really discourage you from staying there. It was spacious, and it was reasonably priced, but it was run down and shabby. The tiny bathroom was inadequate; the shampoo was rancid.

You can dine elsewhere with ease at any of the Laguna Beach Resorts, but you cannot use their beaches. You must take a very short boat ride to the Allemanda's beach. This would be no hardship if the hotel were nice.
jgmc is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 05:51 AM
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Oksana, you'll find that quite a number of people on this board have stayed at the HDLP and have loved it. And almost none of the travelers on this board utilize travel agents. Travelers on this board tend to book themselves on the web either with the hotel directly or with one of the Asia booking companies. For Siem Reap, many travelers book through one of the guides often recommended here.

The Angkor Village resort has been in SIem Reap for many years. Indeed, I stayed there in 2001. The staff were lovely and it had a nice ambiance, but the beds were so hard, I woke before dawn to go visit the temples without an alarm clock. Perhaps that has changed.

The most pretentious place I saw in Siem Reap was Raffles. It felt to me like "how to be in Cambodia without getting your hands dirty." We all have different preferences and reactions to places.

As noted, the HDLP and many other lovely new luxury places are investing their money back in to the community.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 12:45 PM
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Oksana - thanks for the tip and link for Journeys Within B&B. Hadn't heard it mentioned on this forum, however it is rated #1 out of 33 on TA and gets excellent reviews. I am going to look into more.
jgg is offline  
Nov 25th, 2007, 07:01 AM
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for Filmwill:

Yes you missed something in the post about the Raffles and a Colonial past. You missed the "BUT".

"There's nothing wrong with staying in a luxury resort in Siem the Victoria Hotel or Raffles Grand d'Angkor, but I'd encourage you to stay at a luxury resort that has some Khmer culture or at least a colonial past."

vicki2201 is offline  
Nov 26th, 2007, 06:48 PM
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Sorry I have not gotten back to this post in a while. We've had to change our travel plans and probably won't get to Thailand until Spring Break.

I will definitely check back soon to look at all the advice given here! Thanks!
Grcxx3 is offline  

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