Old town elegance
Set in a former palace building that’s been in the same family for seven generations, the Old Capital Bike Inn has six rooms each with a classy individual design. Throw in an environmental outlook, free bicycle tours and impeccable service, and you have a fabulous choice for those who prefer an intimate bed and breakfast rather than a larger hotel.
Around 2015 the place rebranded itself, updating the previous name of Old Bangkok Inn and adding a bicycle theme to the pre-existing vintage vibe. Outfitted with framed black-and-white photos of Bangkok in the past along with teak furniture and antiques, the lobby looks more or less the same as it did before the name change.
One difference is a lineup of restored vintage bicycles used for free tours every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evening, or for free any other time a guest feels like taking one out on their own. Another change is what appears to be a genuine embrace of environmentally friendly methods, including solar water heating system and low-flow toilets.
Named after local landmarks like Khao Phu Thong and Nang Loeng, rooms are situated on the ground floor or upstairs beyond an unusual glass-floor hall. We first checked out the rather small twin room on the ground floor, sporting a mural of an old-time Bangkok street scene and window facing an outside wall. Though it’s certainly not bad, we’d splash out an additional 800 baht for the upstairs “queen loft” with a daybed and TV down below, and steep stairs leading to the four-poster bed in a loft.
We weren’t able to see the larger rooms, but the one with an attached private garden area and another designed for honeymooners with a tub and loads of space sure sounded appealing. There’s also a 48-square-metre family suite that sleeps up to four people in two attached rooms.
All rooms come with soft mattresses, air-con, fridges, safes, widescreen TVs with satellite channels, free WiFi and extras like bathrobes and slippers. In addition to the charming murals, decoration includes wrought iron chandeliers, teak surfaces and more of the tasteful framed photos. Spacious bathrooms come with rain showers behind glass doors, dark violet walls and bronze basin sinks.
The receptionist who greeted us was fluent in English as well as Thai, and she was happy to show us whichever rooms were available at the time. Breakfast is included in the rates, and the staff also serve vegetarian Thai food, fresh coffee and Thai craft beer in the ground-floor common lounge.
Located just north of Ratchadamnoen Avenue and a short walk northeast of Democracy Monument, the Inn is surrounded by local-style shophouse businesses within a kilometre stroll of Khao San Road. One of the area’s best live music bars, Brown Sugar, is an easy walk west on Phra Sumen Road, and a quick hop south takes you to a canal boat pier along with attractions like King Prajadhipok Museum and Wat Ratchanatdaram.
If you prefer a modern design with more room to move around, the nearby Villa Phra Sumen is another upscale option that’s worth considering. You also may want to check out the antique-filled rooms at Baan Noppawong, set in a restored century-old house just south of Democracy Monument.
Address: 607 Phra Sumen Rd, Bangkok
T: (02) 629 1787;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º30'17.44" E, 13º45'24.25" 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 double room||3,190 baht||3,390 baht|
|Superior double room||3,690 baht||3,990 baht|
|Deluxe double room||3,990 baht||4,390 baht|
|Suite||5,090 baht||5,590 baht|
|Family room||6,590 baht||7,090 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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