The people make it great
Hop over a canal bridge and wander down a lane dotted with statues of Hindu gods to find Innspire’s arch-sided building rising just beyond some flowering bushes. Rooms offer great value at this restored heritage property run by a crew of locals who really will leave guests inspired.
Sporting Spanish-style archways, an umbrella tree shading a terracotta courtyard and a long balcony on the second floor, the building was home to a family with ties to the Thai film industry for several decades before falling into disrepair in the late 1990s. In recent years, owners of the Bangkok Vanguards tour company saw the potential, inspiring current owners to restore the house and rent it out as an office for the company and an inn for everyone. The whole backstory is poignantly told on Bangkok Vanguard’s website.
Eight clean rooms come with soft beds raised off tile floors, free WiFi, windows with white cotton drapes and small wet bathrooms with sinks and mirrors situated just outside the bathroom doors. Fetching an additional 300 baht, the best rooms have more windows and direct access to the shared balcony with potted plants hung above tables that are ideal for an early evening drink.
Though rooms lack TVs and fridges, guests can chill in a ground-floor living room done up with abstract paintings, desks, sofas, a rocking chair, a widescreen TV and numerous thought-provoking books on the region. You can also grab a seat out in the courtyard, where guests, tour guides, inn staff and neighbours often congregate as the sun goes down.
The receptionist during our visit had a relaxed demeanour and was happy to show us the only available room at the time. Bangkok Vanguards’ office occupies a smaller building out front; guests receive discounts on tours but there’s no pressure to book one. We’ve known one of the co-founders, Michael, for several years and he truly is an inspiring guy with an enthusiasm that brings out the best in people. The tours focus on offbeat experiences, social responsibility and heritage preservation in Bangkok.
Innspire’s location on a narrow lane, Trok Sin, is a little hard to find, but it will show you a compelling side of the city that most travellers overlook. Modest wood homes line a lane punctuated by flowers, napping cats and little kids playing after school. On our visit, a local bought two portions of a sticky-rice sweet from a straw-hatted vendor and gave them to us for no apparent reason, other than he felt like doing something nice.
After finding the place you’ll probably see it as a strategic hideaway within walking distance of many great food areas and historical sites. Beautiful temples like Wat Suthat and Wat Mahannaparam are very close, and the more popular attractions aren’t too far away to reach on foot. Walk west away from Innspire and hang a right on Tanao Road, and you’ll reach Khao San Road after 10 minutes or so.
On the same lane, Villa Mungkala has slightly cushier rooms for a more cash and is another fine choice that’s also managed by a man with ties to Bangkok Vanguards. Trok Sin also hosts one of the two very good Baan Dinso properties.
Disclaimer: The author is friends with a manager of Innspire, but he inspected the property anonymously.
Address: 4/4 Trok Sin (access from Tanao Rd or Dinso Rd), Bangkok
T: (097) 103 3836;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º29'58.9" E, 13º45'20.04" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 600B to 1,500B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room||1,050 baht||1,050 baht|
|Superior double room||1,350 baht||1,350 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.
Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Ko Rattanakosin