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Opened in 2005, Old Bangkok Inn remains a terrific option for higher-end travellers seeking an intimate experience. The heritage building sits on land that once was part of a royal palace and has, according to the inn’s website, been in the same family for seven generations. Though inspired by B&Bs in Normandy and New England, the inn was created with all the elegance of Thai artistry.
The six-room inn occupies a pair of two-floor shophouses that were combined and completely refurbished, almost to the point that it looks like a much newer building. Golden teak wood, Thai silks, gorgeous porcelain (some of it painted by the owner herself) and antique swings and clocks are ubiquitous throughout the building. Breakfast is served in a charming cafe/library on the ground floor.
Each room is individually decorated, with names like “lemongrass,” “rice” and “orchid.” While not huge, downstairs rooms are adjoined to small gardens with tables accessed through wood-and-glass doors. Reached by a wooden staircase, the upper-floor rooms are split level, with beds atop sitting areas in a loft-like configuration. These face the street but seemed to get only a whisper of traffic noise thanks to thick glass windows.
Gorgeous bathrooms are centred around ceramic basin sinks perched atop wooden counters. Walls come in soothing colours like soft beige, violet and pale green. Firm mattresses are placed on four-poster wooden frames with a wide assortment of pillows and soft drapes for shutting the world out and focusing on your sweetheart. If you’re planning a honeymoon, the larger suites are about as romantic as you’ll find in Bangkok.
All rooms are equipped with air-con, electronic safes, mini-fridges and TV/computer/DVD combined entertainment systems that make use of broadband internet and a shared movie library. While not cheap, the value is quite reasonable given the beautiful design and, especially, the thoughtful staff members who are happy to provide recommendations for sightseeing and dining.
The inn is also one of the few green hotels we’ve come across in Bangkok, recycling water and using solar power among several other initiatives. If you’re sticking around for a while, 30% discounts are offered for stays of seven nights or more through the hotel’s website, which also explains more about the interesting history behind the inn and its environmental practices. Rates jump by 500 baht from mid December to mid January.
Unless there’s a political demonstration taking place at nearby Democracy Monument, the inn’s location is another selling point. Far enough removed from Khao San to stay clear of the partying backpacker scene, attractions like Wat Saket at Wat Bovorn are within easy walking distance. Lined with Sino-European shophouses where families have often sold the same products for generations, it’s a fascinating area.
On the other side of Ratchadamnoen Avenue, Baan Noppawong is another excellent B&B set in a historic house. If you’d prefer a riverside room to go with the heritage architecture, Arun Residence is another good choice. If these are out of your budget but you still want an intimate B&B kind of experience, you might check out Baan Tepa, Niras Bankoc or Baan Dinso.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.