Private pod dorms
209-211 Kraisi Road, Bangkok T: (02) 629 0150
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A five-minute stroll from Khao San Road, the one-year-old Suneta Hostel is the first we’ve seen in Bangkok to offer a true ‘luxury pod’ experience. Closing yourself off behind a sliding wood door in a one-person bunk may sound like torture to the claustrophobic, but it’s become a popular fad in several Asian cities. If you prefer a more traditional bunk bed set-up, Suneta supplies that too.
Occupying the top three floors of a renovated old shophouse, Suneta can only be reached by a lift accessed directly from Kraisi Road. Once you’ve been transported upstairs, it’s necessary to buzz the staff if you don’t already have a key card. Each individual room also requires a key card for entry, making this one of the most secure hostels we’ve checked out in Bangkok so far.
A cosy reception/common room utilises dark hard woods and antiques to capture the feel of an old Thai house. While not huge, the common area is a relaxing spot to kick back on on a sofa or pull up a chair at a wide table while watching a movie or checking your email on one of a few shared laptops with free WiFi. This is also where you can enjoy the included breakfast and coffee/tea throughout the day. After checking out, guests are welcome to shower in a shared bathroom off the common room. The whole building is air-conditioned.
All rooms are reached by a staircase towards the back of the building, which we found a little funny considering the street entrance has a lift. Set in a long hallway-like room, the 16-bed mixed cabin dorm was so dark that taking a picture was hopeless, though the ambiance inside each pod bunk is what really matters. A thick sliding wood door opens to your own private nook outfitted with comfortable mattress, clean sheets, electrical outlet, reading lamp, locker and a small LCD TV.
At 590 baht a piece, the cabin bunks seem pricey considering you can find a whole private room with air-con and TV for a similar price in this area. We suppose there’s a novelty factor here, and we also recognise that some travellers prefer the community vibe of a hostel. In any case, Suneta doesn’t seem to have a problem selling the cabins; all but one were full during our August visit.
Suneta’s 16-bed ‘regular’ mixed dorm features the same set-up minus personal TVs and privacy doors. At 440 baht per bed, this is a fine option if you simply want a comfortable bunk and don’t need to indulge in your own private pod. A six-bed women-only dorm is also available for 520 baht per bed, and a 4-bed dorm runs 490 baht per person and can be reserved by a group of travellers. Each floor is outfitted with ample, modern shared bathroom facilities segregated by gender.
The 990 baht private double room was full during our visit, but we were told it’s a simple number with soft lighting and a “big view” overlooking the Banglamphu rooftops. It also relies on the shared bathroom facilities, however, and the value seems questionable in this part of town.
As for location, Kraisi Road is a good choice if you want to be near Khao San Road but in a somewhat more ‘local’ setting. A street market sets up along the footpaths each evening, and loads of great food, nightlife and attractions are within walking distance. While you’re several kilometres from the nearest skytrain or subway station, piers for the San Saeb khlong boat and the Chao Phraya express boat are both around 15 minutes away on foot.
Overall, we found Suneta to be a tastefully designed hostel with a friendly staff and clean, comfy dorms. Though it doesn’t have the lively atmosphere of nearby NapPark, it does seem a good choice if you’re hoping to meet other travellers. Cabin dorms are indeed distinctive, but we’d be happy with Suneta’s excellent regular dorms.
If we were keen on privacy, we’d opt for a full private room with ensuite bath at Chada, New Joe, Mom, Four Sons or At Home. If you’re set on a hostel, Hello has cheaper (and less inspiring) bunks right across the street from Suneta, and nearby Rang Kha Mhin is a far brighter spot with great value dorms and a homely atmosphere.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.