I am going to Phuket, Chiang Mai and Bangkok this summer. ( End of June to beginning of July). I am traveling with two other friends. We are 25-27 and on a bit of a budget (Note: not planning on roughing it!). I have heard that there are some great hotels and I was hoping for some tips on how much to expect paying and/or some hotel recommendations. We definitely want to stay close to the action! Any tips or tricks would be much appreciated. Thanks!!
In Phuket I stayed in Kata Beach, which was pretty centrally located. I had a great experience at the Sugar Palm Grand Hillside which I booked through Agoda.com. Their rooms are relatively new, its a 5 minute walk to the beach, and they have a really cool multi level infinity pool. I think I paid around $50 a night! Their sister hotel down the street has a wonderful restaurant that I ate at almost every night that has indoor / outdoor dining.
We just spent a month in Thailand and found booking hotels to be an absolute breeze (last minute). I think we were on a similar budget to what you're describing-- we didn't want to rough it (read: wanted air-conditioning and wifi!), but we didn't want to spend big bucks on a place to sleep.
I found Booking.com and Agoda.com to be the best bets for this (they have great international inventory). My process was:
I'll generally pay a lot of attention to WHERE the place is (walkable to cool stuff?). Using this methodology, we never failed to stay in solid places and often found some real gems.
Hotels in Bangkok are actually not that expensive and if you're sharing a room with friends you can actually stay somewhere really great!
I would suggest the Bliston Hotel Bangkok which is a great, reasonable hotel with apartment-like rooms. It's a little low key, but it's in a pretty good location and the serenity is kind of nice as Bangkok is such a noisy, crowded city. They also have a beautiful spa on the premises if you want a day of pampering.
The Grande Centre Point Hotel & Residence is another good one although a lot blingier than the Bliston. The rooms are big and clean and it's in a very good location.
Believe it or not, you can find rooms at the W Bangkok for not that much money (I paid about $120/night) and it's a fabulous hotel in a great location that's very close to the subway.
Mentioned in this answer:
In Phuket there are lots of opportunities for hotels. Use agoda.com to find the best hotels and best prices. If you stay for a longer time, prices are great in september. A tip for your booking via agoda:
Book the hotel in the morning of the day or even at evening you want to go there. -70 to -80% off!
when we went to phuket we found great hotels with ocean view start around 100$ per night.. you can easily find hotel in the 50$ per night range a few blocks back and of lower quality. try booking.com its got a ton of asian hotels, also Agoda.com