“When the taxi drops us off at the entrance of the Shanghai Mansion hotel, we are a little surprised to find ourselves in front of an open bar, whose two-story side wall is completely painted with colorful, expressionistic street scenes”, says Melanie Rüdiger. “The first guests are already enjoying their cool afternoon beer to soft lounge music. However, there is no sign of a reception desk.”
A huge modern chandelier hangs from the center of the room. We enter the bar of the Shanghai Mansion and discover a narrow bridge with red painted railings on the side. It leads deeper into the building over a pond with several fat koi swimming in it and countless red paper lanterns above it. At the end of a mysteriously gloomy corridor, we are greeted by an oversized painting of a Chinese woman dressed in red, which, despite her innocent expression, evokes associations with an opium den.
Behind it we finally find the lobby. Here, too, it is rather dark, the room dominated by a large wall clock à la Big Ben, illuminated from behind. Despite the noble, all-black furnishings and the opulent fabrics, I’m a bit disappointed by the entrance, as I’ve seen completely different pictures on the internet…
In the heart of Chinatown
Since I fell in love with the pictures of the Shanghai Mansion’s interior when I booked the room, I didn’t think twice about the hotel’s location in Bangkok. The city is so huge that I rarely end up in the same area twice anyway. Coincidentally, Shanghai Mansion is located in the heart of Chinatown, on Yaowarat Road, recently named one of the “10 coolest streets in the world” by Time Out magazine. The newly opened “Potong”, tucked away in Chinatown, is considered one of the best recommendations in town.
Founded more than 200 years ago, Bangkok’s Chinatown is considered the world’s oldest community of Chinese outside of China. The area is experiencing a new boom since the Metro was extended to the old town around the Royal Palace in 2019. Chinese temples and shrines are ubiquitous – the 1658 Leng Buai La Shrine is not only the oldest Chinese temple in Bangkok, but possibly the oldest in all of Thailand – with huge dragon motifs, shops full of traditional Chinese remedies and dried plants whose uses are not readily apparent.
Street art and street food
There are street art galleries, but also dark, motor-oil-smelling corners where car dismantlers hang out.… weiterlesen
Since I swapped the urban jungle for a real one in 2014, I have been living in two worlds. As a graduate engineer in architecture in Germany, I deal with large-scale projects built of concrete and steel. I am passionate about Scandinavian architecture and timeless design. On our goat farm in Thailand there is nothing more exciting than the birth of a new kid. Besides that, I always find something to redesign and to learn new craft techniques. I am learning new languages with enthusiasm, with Thai being the biggest challenge so far.