If you’re looking for luxury, you’ll not find it here. But you will find everything you actually need – a secure, comfortable room with your own bathroom and hot water, wifi, two swimming pools, and helpful staff available all day and night.
I’ve been to Bangkok a few times, and always stay here. It’s situated just off the mayhem of Khao San Road. You find it down a small passageway that opens onto a square with fountains playing and small palms wafting in the breeze. Pause for a moment to watch the fish and you can almost forget that bars and restaurants and tuks tuks and massage parlours jostle for space just a few yards behind you.
The reception desk is always well-staffed – it needs to be, as this is a huge hotel. They are as helpful in the middle of the night as they are at noon (I know, having arrived at two in the morning after flight delays). There are no porters here, so you need to find your own room and the building is confusing when you first meet it. But there are lifts so if you do get lost it’s easy to come back to the beginning and start again!
The rooms are comfortable, but without frills. The bathroom is a wet room – not everyone likes them, and it’s worth remembering that the floor can get slippery after a shower.
The restaurant is in the lovely courtyard at the front of the hotel – and no one will hassle you if you linger over your croissant and coffee (or your eggs and sausages) for an hour or two. I also had an evening meal there – good food, a beer or two, and the fountains playing.
Once clean and fed and rested, it’s a step or two onto the pandemonium of Khao San Road, with its bars and street food and stalls crammed with everything from t-shirts to invitations to have your eyelashes permed (honestly!!). The river is walking distance away, where you can catch water taxis to take you to the Palace or Chinatown, or to connect to the Skytrain to the main shopping malls.
If it all gets a bit much, you can drift up to the rooftops where there are two small swimming pools, with loungers and space for flopping about. The lift only reaches the fifth floor and so you need to be able to manage steps to reach the pool. But once you are there it feels quiet – a peaceful place to recharge, away from the bustle of the streets.
Most of the guests here are young – but I have never felt out of place, or that my needs and feelings were overlooked. In fact, I think a few silver travellers could teach them a thing or two!