Grumpy but decent value
147/5 Kraisi Rd, Bangkok T: (02) 629 5770
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A five-minute walk from Khao San Road, Hello Guest House bills itself as an “all new Thai boutique”. Both “new” and “boutique” are laughably false, but Hello is worth keeping in mind if you’re in the market for a decent dorm bed or cheap private room that’s well kitted out.
Upon entering the bright lobby/cafe with a black, red and white theme that reminded us of a barber shop filled with English royal guards, the tired looking receptionist seemed a little annoyed to see us. Neither service nor ambiance are Hello’s strong suits. This is more of a function over form kind of place, but the accommodation does seem to function at a higher level than many other dirt cheap options in the area.
The private room we checked out was neither memorable nor inviting. Light filtered through a single window onto a badly stained carpet. A couple of patterned pillows were flopped on a hastily made bed. Non-matching cheapo steel chairs were pushed up against a tiny, faded desk. So, why would you consider staying here? The room comes with cable TV, air-con, fridge and hot water shower in a basic but modern bathroom. It’s definitely not the Hilton, but all those extras aren’t often found in Bangkok at a price of 540 baht for a double or 740 for a larger triple.
The Guesthouse also goes by the name Hello Hostel, and we were surprised by the comfort and functionality of the 10-bed mixed dorms, available in air-con for 300 baht or fan for 200. Thick mattresses are placed on bunks that stand fairly close together, though privacy curtains make it possible to shut out that annoying neighbour. Each bed comes with a private reading lamp and electrical outlet. Mid-size lockers are provided free of charge. Attached bathrooms come with a few hot water showers.
When we asked two chaps who were staying in the dorm if it was any good, they replied “it is, actually”, as though the quality was a pleasant surprise given the staff’s grumpy attitude. They revealed that mattresses were comfy, shower pressure strong, air-con cranking and the room stayed quiet at night. The place is as stylish as a post office, but it works.
If you’re entranced by that red, black and white theme, the ground floor lobby doubles as a restaurant serving Thai staples and coffee. A few communal computers are also offered here, and WiFi is free. The building has no lift; guests need to huff it up some fairly steep stairs to reach the rooms.
Hello Guest House is located on the east side of Kraisi Road just north of Khao San, Soi Rambutri and Tani. For a much friendlier staff and more homely atmosphere, nearby Rang Kha Mhin Homestay is a great choice, and NapPark offers a more professional hostel experience. Directly across the street, Suneta Hostel has plush pod dorms.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 4th November, 2014.