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Asoke-Ratchada a hub for budget hotels

Asoke-Ratchadaphisek appears to be the new area of focus for commercial and residential property, and it is also emerging as a centre of tourism-related activities in Bangkok, especially geared for budget travellers, according to property consultancy Knight Frank Chartered (Thailand).

Risinee Sarikaputra, director and head of research and consultancy at the firm, said the area currently boasted 6,854 rooms in 36 hotels that fall into the three-star category. A record 637 rooms were added in 2007.

The locality began getting popular in 2004, given the opening of a new MRT line, which greatly increased travel convenience in the area.

Most three-star hotels in the area are concentrated on Ratchadaphisek Road, with about 3,900 rooms representing about 57 per cent of the total, followed by Phetchaburi and Rama IX areas, representing 19 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively.

In Asoke-Ratchadaphisek, 42 per cent of the three-star hotels offer an average daily rate of Bt1,500 to Bt1,999 per night.

The demand for three-star hotels in the area is mainly from Asian and Russian tourists, who focus on value-for-money accommodation. There appears to be substantial room to grow in this segment, as the number of Asian travellers is on the rise and they increasingly demand this type of hotel, Knight Frank's research found.

Asians prefer to save money on hotels in Bangkok in order to spend on food and shopping. The growth of low-cost carriers is also spurring the arrival of more Asian tourists.

Meanwhile, some have called the Ratchadaphisek-Lat Phrao Road area the emerging financial hub of the capital, she added, due to the development of the AIA Capital Centre - a 35-storey office building - and the new headquarters of the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Ratchadaphisek Road is also along the MRT line which links to the inner roads of Phetchaburi and Sukhumvit.

Grand Rama 9 Square, consisting of eight office buildings, eight residential condominium towers, a convention hall, upscale shopping mall, retail plaza, serviced apartments and five-star hotel, is another mega-project in the area that will boost activity and create local jobs, she said.

This advantage has also been strengthened by the recent construction of the Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link, which provides fast and regular transport from the international airport to Makkasan station.

Furthermore, the greater use and expansion of the MRT underground train network has resulted in the hotels located close to the MRT stations on this route - following Ratchadaphisek Road - having immediate access to one of Bangkok's major public transportation lines.

As a result, hotels of up to four-star standards, such as the Grand Mecure Fortune Bangkok, in the area have continued to generate business from budget-conscious leisure travellers.


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