The right price, with personality to spare
38/7 Rachasamphan Rd T: (054) 480 333, (054)484 456, (054) 481 456 F: (054) 482 886
Yes, oddly, our top accommodation choice in Phayao goes to a concrete hotel block with no view at all of the lake. Well actually you ought to be able to get glimpses across the rooftops from the top floors, but we felt Win was a perfect example of how much of a cosy; fun, interestingly decorated, well furnished and great value for money hotel you can get out of what is fundamentally a badly located, concrete block! (Win ought to be on any hotel management course!)
The only reason they’re not getting 10 out of 10 is because it is notoriously difficult to find despite being very central, and once, (if), you have found it you’ll see it’s actually within easy walking distance of most points of interest in Phayao proper. Though hidden away down narrow alleys, the Win Hotel is just about the highest building in the centre of town, so look out for a tall white building with flashes of bright colour.
While only five minutes walk from the bus station, even locals have difficulty providing directions and your easiest approach is probably from Don Sanam Road where it lies more or less behind the 7-eleven. If you’re driving then it’s more complicated again since most of these narrow alleys are one way and you’ll need to turn off Don Sanam some way off at the corner by the Tharn Thong Hotel. Then take the first left onto a bustling little thoroughfare running past the main city market. Just as this street bends back towards Don Sanam there’s another narrow street on the right. If you emerge onto a dusty yard then you’ve missed the front entrance but don’t worry this is fine; as it’s the rear entrance to their motorbike parking which forms the ground floor of the main block.
If you’ve managed to locate the front entrance then congratulations, and you’ll find yourself in the car parking area with the old, two storey, block on your left, the main building with reception and communal areas in front and to the right a new wing that was being added as we visited. Reception contains a small breakfast area, a free, relatively well equipped, gym and large screen TV plus desktop computers for guests’ use. They also have bicycles for residents which are free on provision of a 1,000 baht caution. Reception decor and indeed throughout the hotel and rooms, is bright, fun, unusual and while perhaps not to everyone’s taste a lot of effort and imagination has clearly gone into it. The main colour is white but picked out with flashes and flourishes of orange, green and yellow with a recurring zebra stripe theme, while some walls are decorated with black and white piano keyboards. Not only did time, effort and money go into this but we’re sure the decorators had a lot of fun doing it too.
Rooms are spacious and all come with air-con; en-suite bathrooms and hot showers, cable TV, fridge and free WiFi. The cheaper, older rooms are perhaps just a bit tired around the edges, though still more than adequate, but rooms in the main block are bright and airy and some even come with small balconies and french doors. Unusually, and we know this will please some foreign visitors, shower rooms and toilets were actually separate!
Importantly they’ve managed to come up with great staff and it is a credit to the management that everyone from the chambermaids to security and reception were friendly, courteous and helpful. The fact that they’re adding a new block and they haven’t bothered to stick signs up all round town indicates they’re doing well, and indeed the hotel was busy even during low season when we visited. Definitely worth booking advance if you’re planning to stay on a weekend or at high season. Clientele seemed a mixture of business travellers, local tourists and a few foreign visitors; they seem happy to cater to anyone, and reasonable English was spoken at reception.
Definitely worth finding!
Check rates at Win Hotel - rated 7.0/10 on Agoda.com.
By Mark Ord
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.