You might not want to leave
1/61 Sukhumvit Soi 30, Bangkok T: (02) 661 5133 F: (02) 661 5135
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Clean rooms with all of the bells and whistles for 600 baht are increasingly tough to come by in Bangkok, and they’re almost unheard of in the Sukhumvit area. Along with an intimate vibe and excellent location, Hotel California offers exactly that. You can check out any time you like, but you might not want to leave (sorry, we couldn’t resist).
First off, what’s up with the name? Friendly Australian owner Brooke informed us that she has no special connection to the Sunshine State or the Eagles classic that’s often torn to shreds by karaoke singers the world over. In fact, the original owner named the hotel when it first opened in late 2012, only to sell it within the first few months. Since Hotel California had already been established, the new owners opted to keep the name when they took over. But don’t worry — you won’t find palm and pink flamingo-themed decor, nor do the Greatest Hits of the Eagles play on a continual loop.
On the contrary, the atmosphere is quite smart and all 20 of the thoughtfully decorated rooms are a little different from the next. Named after Bangkok neighbourhoods and places of interest, each room features artwork that relates to the theme. A large photo of the train platform at the city’s central rail station creates a sense of depth in the “Hualamphong” room. In the triple “Thonburi” edition, images of traditional Thai kohn masks adorn the walls. All of the rooms we checked out were very well kept.
Rooms come in four different options priced according to size. The cheapest single rooms are located on an upper floor accessed by stairs, and while not massive, they come with double beds and more space than we’d expect for the price and amenities. For 800 baht, the double rooms are bigger, and the 1,000 baht editions are larger still and include two beds. The triple room goes for 1,200 baht.
All rooms are fully kitted out with air-con, flatscreen TVs, fridges, complimentary drinking water, safes, hot water kettles and ensuite bathrooms in which lovely glass basin sinks are an unexpected touch. Although most rooms have windows that allow in a fair amount of natural light, a handful only face out to the interior hallway. Even so, we’ve checked out scores of comparable rooms in Bangkok that tend to be priced 200 to 400 baht higher.
While guestrooms offer tremendous value, the hotel sweetens the deal with a simple but inviting common space that includes a huge TV, books, proper desks with computers and a few seats for kicking back after a day of exploring. WiFi is free and breakfast is available in a ground-floor dining area for 60 baht. We were told that a rooftop hangout space is also in the works.
Unless you’re keen on staying in the middle of Sukhumvit’s nightlife, Hotel California’s location is tough to beat. With an ancient banyan tree providing shade in front of the hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 30 is a pleasantly quiet little lane. A mere 10 minutes away on foot, Phrom Phong BTS skytrain station makes it easy to explore the city. One of Bangkok’s best used book shops, Dasa, and Benjasiri Park are also an easy walk from the hotel. The dining, nightlife and shopping of Thong Lor, Asoke and Nana are all a stop or two away on the skytrain line.
Despite what the song says, there’s often not plenty of room at the Hotel California, so advanced bookings are recommended.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.