Our favourite Bangkok hostel
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In contrast to Bangkok’s trendy, urban-style hostels that sometimes have an air of pretension, we appreciate the spots that aim for a more homely atmosphere. The problem is that these often lack modern facilities and professionalism. Hidden down a side street near Hualamphong rail station, Cozy Bangkok Place lives up to its name without sacrificing modern amenities and comfort. All things considered, this is one of Bangkok’s best kept budget secrets.
The six-year old hostel occupies a spacious old shophouse down a narrow side street near the corner of Rama IV and Maha Nakhon Road. Placed quietly amid modest homes with potted plants, Chinese lanterns, Thai flags and grilled chicken stands out front, Cozy Plaze is a chance to stay in a typical Bangkok neighbourhood without straying from central Bangkok.
This is an obvious choice if you need to catch an early morning long-distance train at Hualamphong, but with the eponymous MRT station a five-minute walk away, Yaowarat 15 minutes on foot or five in a taxi, and Lumpini Park, Silom and an interchange to the BTS sky train just two stops up the subway line, the location is also strategic.
We’ve checked out several hostels set in the old concrete shophouses that line so many of Bangkok’s roads, and while many did away with all aspects of the original interiors, we like how Cozy Bangkok preserved the best of the old while adding flourishes of modern sophistication. Creating a sense of spaciousness, new polished concrete stairs and walkways wind around a wide open central area that spans several floors.
In the ground-floor lounge/reception, walls boast old photos, tasteful paintings and classy dark wood furnishings. A bright top floor garden lounge is a fantastic spot to sit back with a book on a rainy day — or wait for that train departure. The hostel also offers laundry facilities, a couple of communal computers, a small book exchange and free WiFi.
Six-bed male- or female-only dorms are spacious, clean, comfy and classy, with original hardwood floors, pale blue wooden doors that open onto small balconies, huge wood bureaus that serve as lockers, cheerful pink and white drapes over large windows and an atmosphere that whispers, “Make yourself at home.” Thick, soft mattresses are placed on sturdy wooden bunks, each with its own reading lamp and electrical outlet. In addition to air-con, the rooms come with portable fans. At 300 baht a night, this is excellent value.
On the same floor, a four-bed mixed dorm is similarly inviting, though smaller and lacking a balcony. With such comfy six-bed dorms, we don’t really see a reason to to pay an extra 50 baht for a bunk in the mixed room unless perhaps you have a group of four and want to take over the whole room.
Tiny fan and air-con private single rooms come with nothing more than a bed, soft lamps and thoughtful art, but at 330 baht for fan and 400 for air-con, they’re only marginally pricier than the dorms. Though lacking any extras, double rooms are spacious and bright, and some have balcony access. At 850 baht for one double bed or 750 for twins, these are fantastic options for budget-conscious couples or a pair of travel buddies. All rooms, including privates, rely on spotless shared bathrooms with modern appliances and enough hot shower rooms to go around.
With a relaxed and welcoming personality, the receptionist we met also has an excellent command of English. The other staff member we met, a yellow lab mix named Dumbo, was equally friendly.
After checking out loads of hostels in Bangkok, we’d have to say that Cozy Bangkok Place suits our tastes better than any other. Does that mean it’s the best hostel in Bangkok? Well, that’s a matter of opinion. Some will probably prefer a trendier spot with cafe, billiards table, uniformed staff and tour desk, but with a laidback, friendly staff, homely yet sophisticated atmosphere, comfortable accommodation, clean facilities, very reasonable prices and a central location that allows you to experience an “everyday Bangkok” neighbourhood, Cozy Place is tough to fault.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 15th January, 2014.