Bangkok’s Chinatown is known as a haven for some of the best street food and seafood restaurants in the capital, but it’s hard to imagine getting a good night’s rest amidst the cacophony, as much as one also hopes to be able to stumble back after bar-hopping at the neighbourhood’s Soi Nana. Shanghai Mansion, then, comes as a godsend, given its location on Yaowarat’s main thoroughfare and being directly across my favourite peppery kway chap (pig organ soup) that opens till 2am in the morning.
On arrival, you’ll first see Shanghai Terrace, the hotel’s jazz lounge with both indoor and al fresco seating, which is a popular spot for travellers seeking a respite from the Bangkok sun in the afternoons. The entrance to Shanghai Mansion lies across a vermillion red bridge, accented by a water wall feature and a koi pond. The difference after you pass through is immediately noticeable, as if you’ve gained admission to some kind of inner sanctum of Chinatown of which few have access.
The deliberate Oriental theme means everything from the art to the furniture had to be carefully selected, at the risk of the lobby looked clichéd. And they’ve done well by pairing classy paintings, plush fabric, and dark wood, as one will observe with the furnishings in the lobby. Upstairs on level two, the water garden with a fish pond sports a soaring atrium with colourful lanterns, making a pretty picture and thus a favoured place for Thai Chinese couples to hold traditional tea ceremonies. We stayed in one of the Mu Dan Suite that encircle the courtyard. Besides the room numbers, each suite has a name like “happiness”, “wealth”, and “prosperity” in Chinese lettering above the door. The bright yellow walls, retro tiled flooring, dark wooden chairs and doorframes evoke a vague but palpable sense of nostalgia.
The Mu Dan Suite, named after the sensual peony flower, is Shanghai Mansion’s largest room at 49 square metres (527 square feet). The generous space includes a sitting area equipped with an armchair and a plus daybed. Although there are Chinese-style four-poster beds in the Mei Hua (plum blossom) superior rooms for vintage chinoiserie vibes, guests in the suites can look forward to a classic, comfortable king-size bed. The bath and shower facilities are excellent; soaking in the freestanding bathtub was yet another way to take in the property’s old world inspired charm. Those picky about bath amenities will probably be happy with their Spa by Burasari coconut-scented products.
If your room comes with complimentary brekkie, you’ll find it served on the third floor at Cotton. A simple affair, the buffet is lined up with the usual suspects – bacon, sausages, potatoes, fried rice noodles, and dim sum. Eggs are served a la minute with options including scrambled eggs, omelettes, eggs Benedict, and eggs Florentine.
Overall, our two-night stay was flawless save for the morning we were woken up at 6am by the tea ceremony happening at the water garden, which were unfortunately accompanied by the loud cymbals and drum beats of the lion-dancing. We wished we were informed earlier (at least we could have gotten ear plugs), but besides this, Shanghai Mansion affords good value. Ranging from S$110 to S$200 a night, guests can choose one complimentary for each day of the entire stay, be it a dim sum high tea set, a Chinatown walking tour, or an hour-long foot massage at Spa Burasari!
Shanghai Mansion is located at 481 Yaowarat Rd, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand, P. +65 +66 2 221 2121.