Heads on Beds: Dreams, Bangkok

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The Independent Travel

The Thai capital distinguished itself recently by occupying bottom place in a worldwide survey - good news, for hard-pressed company accountants at least: Bangkok was found to have the least expensive luxury hotels in the world.

The wily executive, of course, will capitalise on the opportunity to trade up.

The obvious destination is the Oriental, perched perfectly beside the Chao Phraya River and steeped in tradition. Or is it? The original building is still a treasure, but it is concealed within a maze of more modern structures. The location is now away from much of the business action. And for all the excellent service, a dull room in a tower block is still a dull room.

Fast-forward a couple of centuries to the city's newest imaginative sleep-space - which is also closer to the action than the Oriental. Dream Bangkok emulates its Manhattan twin, with a dazzlingly chic foyer, an ultra-cool bar and rooms that have something of a spaceship feel.

Track it down

Dream Bangkok at 10 Sukhumvit Soi 15 (00 66 2 254 8500; www.dreambkk.com). A taxi from the airport should cost no more than 400 baht (£6), though if you arrive at dawn and face the morning rush-hour then a sound alternative is to grab a cab only as far as On Nut station (no I didn't make the name up), where the SkyTrain elevated railway begins. You can fly over the traffic to Asoke station, a 10-minute walk from Dream Bangkok.

The location is excellent for many businesses, as well as being just off Sukhumvit Road - one of the main tourism arteries.

Check-in check

You step out of the permanent heat-haze of downtown Bangkok into the epitome of cool: chilled air, chic furnishings punctuated by bursts of colour and surely the most sophisticated reception staff in the East? They will figuratively soothe your sweaty brow, and ease your progress along indigo blue corridors to your room. It's the hotel equivalent of a good rub down.

Room to manouvre?

If you have just stepped off the red-eye from London, you will be soothed by the imaginative lighting ... it oozes gently from corners and even from under the bed, rather than having a central glare.

Had you asked a bunch of boffins in the 1960s to predict what hotel life in the 21st century would look like, they would come up with something like Dream: a strictly geometric room that celebrates technology. Function and form coalesce to great effect when you want to see off your jet lag, thanks to Egyptian cotton sheets and duvet covers.

Get connected

You're in a big Asian capital. Therefore whatever switch lights up your LED, you are likely to find it here. Broadband internet is available as both a plug-in LAN connection and WiFi. If music helps you focus, you can request a pre-loaded iPod.

Fitness regime

Hit the ground, running – there are enough green spaces around to provide a decent morning run.

Raid the minibar

In each property we check the total for a mineral water, beer, miniature of Scotch, bag of nuts and bar of chocolate. (Warning: do not consume these all at once.) Dream is apparently a nut-free zone, so instead we opted for double helpings of Evian 141 baht; Singha 235 baht; Johnny Walker 708 baht; Ferraro Rocher 141 baht. Total 1,225 (£19). Ditch the Scotch and you have the most reasonable minibar so far.

Breakfast news

You could take the delicate offerings in the hotel's restaurants, but for a bit of adventure head out to one of the many street eateries and join the Thai commuters grabbing a bite of fresh tropical fruit.

Rack rates

Rack rate for a standard double is US$164 (£91) - though in this city of bargains and bargaining, you could well pay a lot less.

Economy class

Reflections at 81 Soi Ari (00 66 2 270 3344; www.reflections-thai.com) is a beautiful art hotel, in which each of the 30 rooms has been created by a different designer. It is a long way north of the centre, which explains its low rack rate of 2,850 baht (£45) including breakfast, yet it is only 200m from Ari SkyTrain station.

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