Great value rooms and a pool
Looking for all the world like a funky 1960s roadside motel, colourful RetrOasis Hotel offers solid value rooms in an excellent, if unexpected, location right on Sukhumvit Road. Two-storeys of rooms are clustered around a kitschy kidney-shaped pool. We wouldn’t have been surprised if Don Draper had slunk up to drape himself on a poolside lounger while we were there.
Set just back from Sukhumvit Road itself, the quirky blocks are set around tall and bushy mango trees that somehow escaped Bangkok’s ever-present wrecking balls. The small swimming pool with plastic loungers stretches at the centre of the property to provide a welcome respite in a city where pools are usually confined to luxury hotels and universities. The place would be uninspiring on Ko Lanta or Ko Chang, but in Bangkok it’s quite an unusual — and fun — setup.
Rooms come in five categories, based on their size and proximity to the road or pool. We were happy with our roadside basic, the cheapest offering, which fronted onto Soi 29, rather than Sukhumvit proper, and wasn’t too noisy. We paid 1,305 baht directly to the hotel, but prices vary based on precise dates — the price for May 2016 on their website is just 1,190 baht.
Our clean and rather slick air-con room came with fridge, tea and coffee-making facilities, art-deco style cupboard, desk, hanging lanterns, reasonably comfortable double bed, modern hardwood floor and wall-mounted LCD TV. The free WiFi worked and the shower tucked behind a curtain had steaming hot water and was functional, though not as polished as the rest of the room. The small balcony had two chairs and was a pleasant enough spot for a morning instant coffee watching the neighbourhood come to life. The lack of in-room safes is made up for by free individual lockers in reception.
A few hundred baht more snag you a “Zeeen” room — when we asked what the precise difference in rooms was, staff waved vaguely and said it all depended where the room was. So we think Zeeen rooms are similar to the basics, but with windows facing towards the pool rather than the road. A step up to the “Oasis” category gets you a more spacious room, with the more pricey of the two sub-categories here facing the pool and boasting sunloungers and umbrellas.
Do be careful booking online, as it seems rooms without and with breakfasts are exactly the same price so you may as well go with. We booked without, but the breakfast is served in an appealing ground-floor cafe that we would have been happy to linger in over a copy of the Bangkok Post.
The feel overall at Retroasis is one of a hotel that got a lot of beautiful love during its refurbishment — this used to be the super seedy Crown Hotel. And we salute the wonderful energy that must have gone into transforming this old building into something so interesting. While it remains still clean and perfectly adequate, the general feel is that the love has faded just a touch (and prices have fallen since the opening it seems to reflect this). The staff member we encountered on check-in was jaded — he pointed to a sign explaining the early check-in fee when we asked about the possibility of just that and really didn’t care what we chose to do. We don’t need staff to fall all over us, especially at this pricepoint, but It was a bit of a contrast to Tints of Blue, a seven-minute walk away and in a quieter location, where the staff were enthusiastic and happy to have us there.
Still, the location is excellent: right on Sukhumvit Road between sois 27 and 29, within a 10-minute walk of either Asok or Phrom Phong BTS skytrain stations and Sukhumvit MRT subway station. Reception fronts the main road but the room blocks are situated far enough back to keep the traffic noise out. Other affordable options with swimming pools around Sukhumvit, aside from Tints of Blue, include The Atlanta and, if you don’t mind being further up the skytrain line, Imm Fusion Hotel.
Address: 503 Sukhumvit Rd (between sois 27 and 29), Bangkok
T: (02) 665 2922-3 ; F: (02) 665 2924
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º33'53.43" E, 13º44'2.84" 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.
|Dbl air-con private bathroom||1,190 baht||1,190 baht|
|Superior double room||1,450 baht||1,450 baht|
|Deluxe double room|
Oasis city view. Pool view: 1,950 baht.
|1,700 baht||1,700 baht|
Samantha Brown is a reformed news reporter. She now edits most of the stuff you read on Travelfish.org, except for when you find a typo, and then that's something she wasn't allowed to look at.
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