Worth seeking out
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One of the more reliable midrange hotels in the general Khao San Road vicinity, Lamphu Tree House balances comfort and professionalism with an old-style Thai elegance that draws on golden teakwood recycled from old houses. Though a bit difficult to find, the canal-side location makes this a quiet choice for families and flashpackers.
Named after the canal that it sits next to, Lamphu Tree is not a true treehouse built amid the branches of an actual tree. Even so, an array of greenery surrounds the hotel and deep red leaves of umbrella trees dangle over the water. The design relies on tasteful Thai silks, wooden Buddha images, terracotta floors and plenty of dark woods to compliment the gardens.
The rooms we’ve seen are immaculate, which is commendable given how busy the place usually is. Even the low-end rooms are outfitted with reconditioned teak walls, tile floors and soft beds. Bathrooms are modern, with separated shower stalls and ceramic basin sinks situated just outside the bathroom doors. The cheapest rooms have no windows and are set in a newly added separate building behind the original.
A small balcony in the decent-size standard that we checked out faces an attractive wooden house; better than a concrete wall but with no real view. Across the hall, the slightly larger and pricier deluxe has a balcony overlooking the pool, though both of these balconies were bare of furnishings. All rooms are equipped with LCD TVs, mini-fridges, air-con and desks as standard.
A handful of suites come with temple-style wall murals over sumptuous beds to go with Jacuzzi tubs, larger balconies with tables, separate sitting areas, polished dark-wood floors and walls crafted entirely from teak with some truly beautiful wood carvings. These are located on the upper floors, with almost wall-size windows affording views over the rooftops. Some of the suites open on to a common rooftop garden.
Down on the ground floor, a spacious open-sided common area includes a daybed lounge, full bar, shared computers and restaurant where complimentary buffet breakfasts are served. A narrow swimming pool is squeezed in next to a patio with round cafe-style tables. A handful of restaurants and Thai massage shops dot the immediate area, while Khao San is around 15 minutes away on foot.
Most of the rooms represent reasonable value for a unique location in the historic district. We’ve always found the uniformed staff to be helpful and professional, if perhaps a bit impersonal. At time of writing, the hotel can only be booked through its own website or by walking in. Be careful not to confuse it with Lamphu House, an altogether separate establishment on Soi Rambutri.
The somewhat tricky to find location is a 30-metre-walk down a narrow lane from Saphan Wanchat, the bridge spanning Khlong Lamphu near the corner of Phra Sumen and Phrachathipatai Roads. If your driver doesn’t know the bridge by name, ask to be let off at Wat Bovornivet, from where you can walk east up Phra Sumen for a couple hundred metres before turning left over the bridge. If you say only “Lamphu Tree House,” there’s a good chance you’ll end up somewhere on Soi Rambutri.
A bit further west up the canal, Korbua House is a newer choice with very similar rooms, prices and atmosphere. Diamond House is also worth considering in this price range. More boutique-y choices in this general area include Phra Nakorn Norn Len, Baan Manusarn and Baan Tepa, though all of these require an extra 10-minute walk further north.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 27th November, 2014.