Art lovers look no further
The Phra Nakorn Norn Len experience takes you straight into the artistic soul of Thailand. Imaginative murals, vintage displays, soothing common areas and comfortable rooms combine to create a hotel that’s hard to forget.
Originally just another clapped-out Thai hotel, the building underwent an unbelievable revitalisation after the current artist-owners took over in the late 2000s. Up front stretches an open-sided common area with tables, floor cushions and a roofed deck where kids can run around. Head further back to find the bakery, coffee shop, cooking area and local products store. Vintage cameras, phonographs and Thai movie posters decorate the corners.
Each room is individually designed with murals depicting goldfish ponds, firefly-covered landscapes and rice fields, for example. While most rooms aren’t huge, the art joins high ceilings and mosaic-tile floors to create a sense of depth. Cleanliness is well looked after, and we like the custom-built copper pipes running to rain showers in the bathrooms. Many rooms sport balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows that help to make up for the lack of fridge and TV. At least one room looks out to the towering Buddha image at nearby Wat Indraviharn.
The hotel is great for families thanks to several rooms with multiple beds, as well as connecting rooms and a pricing system that allows extra guests at fair prices. The artwork and antiques will encourage young imaginations to be creative, and the notably patient staffers appeared to be doing a great job entertaining some youngsters when we stopped by.
Phra nakorn norn len translates as “sacred city of sleep and play”, the len aspect covered by craft and cooking workshops that attract local Thais in addition to guests. On any given day you might create etchings, embroideries, fisherman’s pants, hats, toys, pillows, breads and soaps that can be carved into “soap-blossoms” later. The classes are casual and there’s no pressure to join.
Phra Nakorn Norn Len sits hidden behind greenery down a quiet side lane lined with old houses, a school and a few hole-in-the-wall eateries and shops. While there is a restaurant on site, nearby Krung Kasem and Samsen roads host lots of great food. The Dusit palaces and Wat Benchamabophit are within walking distance to the east, and Thewet river ferry pier is an easy hop to the west. On the two-kilometre walk south to Khao San Road you could grab a coffee at Unbranded Cafe, which is run by the same group.
The hotel is a bit tricky to find. The easiest access is from Krung Kasem Road to the north, from where it’s a three-minute stroll down Thewet Soi 1 to the easy-to-miss front gate. If Phra Nakorn Norn Len is full, as it often is, the nearby Baan Tepa Boutique House is a decent alternative.
Address: 46 Thewet Soi 1 (off Krung Kasem Rd), Bangkok
T: (02) 628 8188; (086) 336 2425;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º30'14.88" E, 13º46'3.6" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 1,500B to 4,000B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard single room||2,200 baht||2,200 baht|
|Standard double room||2,600 baht||2,600 baht|
|Superior double room||2,800 baht||2,800 baht|
|Family room||4,200 baht||4,200 baht|
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
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