Quiet and delivers on comfort
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Hidden down a leafy alleyway, Tavee Guest House is our favourite among four long-running guesthouses clustered behind National Library in the low-key Thewet area. Each are owned by members of the same family, but Tavee’s soothing common areas, quality rooms and reasonable rates make it the standout.
At first glance, the narrow alley with laundry hung out to dry and old red-and-white sign lends the impression that this is a tiny, family-run guesthouse. While it is operated by the large family that has a monopoly on the area’s guesthouse scene, Tavee is deceptively large, covering two wooden houses with generous common areas placed amid the open-air spaces between them.
Wander beyond the inviting restaurant/reception area and you’ll pass through a few different chill spaces with aquariums, goldfish ponds, fountains, lanterns, Buddha images and huge ceramic vases that collectively give the place an elegant Indochinese feel. The largest common room features a long couch stretching right up to a lush tropical garden.
Available with fan or air-con, Tavee’s clean and fairly spacious guestrooms offer better value than any of the neighbours. The cheapest fan numbers come with hardwood floors and windows that face a wall (at least in the one we saw), but they should be adequate for budget travellers. Shared bathroom facilities are located in two different places and come with stylish ceramic basin sinks and ample hot water showers.
A bit more cash bags you a larger air-con room with woven bamboo and Thai-style wood panel walls, ensuite bathroom and firm bed on chunky log frame. Family rooms are also available with fold-out sofas. Doubles come with choice of one large bed or two single frames. While the area itself is quiet, you might want to bring earplugs due to the thin walls.
With free WiFi and a handful of tables where it’s easy to meet other travellers, the cosy restaurant is reported to serve reasonably good Thai staples. Small lockers are available for keeping valuables safe when you go out. Not overly friendly or unfriendly, we found staff to be straightforward and polite. A handful of signs inform guests of the house rules, perhaps making the place seem a tad nit-picky. Like its neighbours, Tavee still relies almost entirely on the walk-in trade, though reservations by email are accepted.
Located near the river and within spitting distance of Sawatdee Guesthouse, Sri-Ayutthaya Guesthouse and Shanti Lodge, Tavee is a five-minute stroll from Thewet express boat pier and a 20-minute walk north of Khao San Road. With a few massive old banyan trees and lots of century-old wood houses, the immediate area was one of the first in Bangkok to cater specifically to backpackers.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 26th June, 2014.