Oct 11 2012
If you’ve got less than 1,000 baht to spend and are looking for a centrally located, spacious air-con room near a BTS station in Bangkok with a solid array of in-room amenities plus a swimming pool and fitness centre — well, your options are very limited. Yet King Royal Garden Inn offers all of that, which is why I’ve stayed here many times and continue recommending it to friends. It’s not the lap of luxury, but for the location, comfort and value, King Royal is tough to beat.
Located on Sathorn Road in one of Bangkok’s priciest areas, King Royal’s location is ideal for exploring the city. Surasak BTS station is literally right in front of the hotel — you can be out the door of your room and onto the train platform in 30 seconds flat. The central Chao Phraya River pier is one stop to the west. Vibrant Silom Road runs parallel to the north of Sathorn and may be reached by a 10-minute walk or one stop east by sky train. One more stop in that direction and you’re at the heart of Silom’s restaurant and nightlife, from where an MRT (subway) station and Lumpini Park are also a stone’s throw away. Even Siam Square is reachable by sky train within 10 minutes from the doorstep of the hotel.
With the sky train and an ever-waiting stream of motorbike taxis, tuk tuks and regular taxis always right there, you probably won’t feel the need to hang around King Royal’s immediate vicinity too much. For the sake of convenience, however, there is a 24-hour mini-mart out front and several street food vendors set up on the footpath from early morning to evening. If seeking a more refined Thai food experience without going far, one of Bangkok’s best fine dining Thai restaurants — Blue Elephant – is right next door, and Baan Somtum serves up savoury and authentic northeastern Thai fare right around the corner.
A florist, salon, health food restaurant, coffee stand (it’s the good stuff too), small shop selling this and that household necessity and makeshift clothing boutique each occupy a slice of King Royal’s first floor lobby area, which can feel like a micro neighbourhood by itself. A cheap Thai food court is also found in the basement, and at midday the lobby and outside area bustles with chatting locals on lunch break. Although the area is very much accessible to tourists, one of the pleasures of staying here is being swept up in everyday Bangkok life every time you leave the room. The reception desk is off to the corner of the lobby, and staff are consistently friendly and professional.
While King Royal’s location is by far its biggest selling point, the rooms are adequate for the price: 900 baht for standards and 1,100 for superiors, which offer a little more space and a couch. Overall, the building screams 1970s, and just about everything inside the rooms looks to be a good 10 to 20 years old. The worn carpeting lends a slight lived-in scent, but rooms are generally clean and well kept, and all come stacked with firm but comfortable beds, TVs, large fridges, microwaves, lock boxes, big bureaus, numerous tables, desks and free WiFi with a strong signal throughout the building. Bathrooms are also showing their age but are similarly well kept, and they do come with hot water and bathtubs.
A couple of drawbacks are the lack of balconies and only one small window in each room, but the hotel makes up for this with a pleasant roof-top pool and fitness area. Granted, not all of the fitness equipment works, the pool is tiny and the “hot tub” doesn’t heat up, but the common rooftop deck above the ninth floor is still a great spot for relaxing and watching the city from above. Unlike the often crowded pool areas of more expensive hotels, there’s a good chance you’ll get the whole King Royal rooftop all to yourself. With a few beers and some good friends, it can easily turn into your own private roof party after dark.
Unlike some hotels that offer discounted rates on the web, King Royal actually inflates its prices if booking through its website, so it’s best to just walk in or book through online sites (see below), which generally offer rates identical to walk-ins. Rooms are also available by the month (10,000 baht for standard, 13,000 for superior, utilities not included), making King Royal a solid choice for a longer term stay as well.
If only in need of a bed but wanting to stay in this area, Saphai Pae Hostel is right around the corner, and similarly priced Om Yim Lodge located one stop up the sky train track could be a worthy back-up plan in case King Royal is full.
King Royal Garden Inn
245 South Sathorn Road, Bangkok
T: (026) 758 120
BTS: Surasak, exit 2
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