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Asai Bangkok Chinatown offers the best of Yaowarat

Asai Bangkok Chinatown opened its doors on Sept 15 to offer a no-frills staycation with a myriad of things to do. The first property of Asai, an affordable and younger brand under Dusit International, is right in Chinatown and a hop, skip and jump from MRT Wat Mangkon, giving you the convenience to explore Bangkok along the MRT and BTS lines.

First impression

The new hotel is part of a mix-used project called I'm Chinatown on busy Charoen Krung Road. The first thing that greets you is a colourful sculpture of a Chinese lion made of recycled materials before you head up to the lobby area on the fourth floor. The minimalistic interior subtly pays homage to the Chinese heritage of the location through careful choices of wood, sculptures, tiles and textiles. The courtyard, with a glass roof, livens up the common area with ample natural light.

Staying in

The 224 rooms are divided into three main categories, each offering a view of the city or the hotel's courtyard. They are called Comfy, Roomy and Biggie, ranging from 19-28m² in size.

I checked into the most basic type and what stops it from feeling claustrophobic is the floor-to-ceiling windows and a high ceiling. The room covers the basics; a comfy bed, a small corner for you to work on your laptop, a bench, a luggage and clothing rack and an LED TV. You can't lock the bathroom door and there's no balcony, though. Obviously, it serves as a comfy base so you can spend most of your stay doing stuff outside.

Breakfast is served at Jam Jam Eatery & Bar on the same level as the lobby. Paolo Vitaletti and Jarrett Wrisley of Appia, Peppina and Soulfood Mahanakorn are the brains behind this casual restaurant. You can order one item from the a la carte menu on top of the breakfast station where you help yourself to salad, cereal, bread, fruits and coffee.

That may not sound so indulgent but I can tell you that the breakfast choices here are hearty and delicious. I'm talking two portions of Eggs Benedict with duck and XO hollandaise sauce on one plate and a cast iron pie pan filled with scrambled egg, sausage, roasted tomato, arancino, bacon and bread. I suggest dinner at Jam Jam too as there are comfort dishes with Asian influences to try such as fish tacos with nam prik noom, fried rice with pla khem and honey roasted pork and LFC, as in lemongrass fried chicken. You can burn off some calories at the 24/7 fitness room, which connects to the courtyard.

Going out

Asai staff can give you some pointers or you can simply look up nearby POIs that Asai has pinned on its website. There are more than 100 choices that you can further narrow down according to subcategories of Eat, Drink, Play and See.

Increase your luck at Wat Leng Noei Yi. Check out the latest paper offerings to burn for your ancestors at the next Qing Ming Festival at various nearby shophouses. Eat khao gaeng without a table at food cart Gaeng Jek Pui. Street food shops spring up just outside the hotel in the evening. You can easily walk to Soi Nana for a night of bar hopping or Yaowarat Road for the nighttime street food. Did I mention that the hotel is like 100m away from MRT Wat Mangkon? You have the entire BTS and MRT lines to help you explore Bangkok.

Final verdict

Asai Bangkok Chinatown is a place for those who look to experience things and seek a bit of adventure. You have the essentials you need for a comfy stay but without the bells and whistles.

To celebrate its opening, Asai Bangkok Chinatown offers Staycation Sensation at the price of B3,456 net for a weekend stay (check-in on Friday and check-out on Sunday) with breakfast for two that comes with perks such as a sound bath in the courtyard, a guidebook, a set dinner for two at Jam Jam and 15% discount at Jam Jam throughout your stay. Book at bit.ly/3630XRZ. The booking period is until Nov 6 for stays until Nov 8.

Asai Bangkok Chinatown, Charoen Krung Rd, opposite Soi Phadung Dao. Call 02-220-8999 or visit www.asaihotels.com.

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