Bangkok offers a staggering range of lodging choices, and even some of the best rooms are affordable to travelers on a budget. The city has nearly 500 hotels and guesthouses, and the number is growing. In fact, competition has brought the prices down at many of the city's hotels; unfortunately, the service has suffered at some as a result of cutting corners to lower prices. Still, you'll feel more pampered here than in many other cities.
For first-class lodging, few cities in the world rival Bangkok. In recent years the Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula, Four Seasons, and a handful of others have been repeatedly rated among the best in the world, with new players like the Sofitel So and St. Regis getting major accolades. If there were a similar comparison of the world's boutique hotels, Bangkok's selection would be near the top, too. These high-end hotels are surprisingly affordable, with rates comparable to standard hotels in New York or London. Business hotels also have fine service, excellent restaurants, and amenities like health clubs and spas.
Wherever you stay, remember that prices fluctuate enormously, and that huge discounts are the order of the day. Internet discounts are also widely available, and booking online can often save you up to several thousand baht. Always ask for a better price, even when you are checking in. Deals may be more difficult to come by during the high season from November through February, but during low season they're plentiful.
Hotels are concentrated in four areas: in Silom and Bang Rak (home to many of riverfront hotels); around Siam Square and along Phetchaburi Road in Pathumwan; along Sukhumvit Road, which has the greatest number of hotels and an abundance of restaurants and nightlife; and in the Chinatown and the Old City neighborhoods, which have a smaller number of properties, most of which are affordable. Backpackers often head to Khao San Road, also home to some newer, more upmarket guesthouses.