Constructed in 1782 as residence and seat of power for Thailand's king, the Grand Palace in Bangkok is as fantastical as any castle Disney built. Located in the Banglamphu district, the "old town" of Bangkok, the Grand Palace is the one jaw-dropping attraction that visitor's should not miss. As Banglamphu is the historic district, it is ideal to accommodate yourself in a hotel that is inspired from Thailand's past while within walking distance of the Grand Palace and other attractions. Remember that a strict dress code of long pants and sleeves is enforced at the Grand Palace.
Feung Nakorn Balcony Hotel
A family-run operation, Feung Nakorn Balcony Hotel is a mid-range hotel with an appeal for those interested in historical ambiance. The hotel is named for the road on which it sits, which dates back more than a hundred years. While its surrounds have gone contemporary, much of Feung Nakorn road has remained with a mix of street-side restaurants and jewelery stores. The hotel is only a five-minute walk from the Grand Palace, but you can be transported there instantly as the rooftop terrace offers impressive views of the palace's golden rooftops. Guest are accommodated in either the street-front building or a second, recessed building. Standard rooms, suites and a dormitory are available. The lobby features the New Road Cafe, serving a mix of Thai and Western fare.
The edifice of The Bhurthorn hotel is understated: two stories of white walls with dark wood doors and windows. But it represents more than a hundred years of history. The Bhurthorn was built as a shop house, a combination of business and home found in most urban areas of Southeast Asia. With only three guestrooms, the property maintains an intimate feel, and travelers are treated like family by the two architect-owners. The interior is elegant, drawing from Thai and Western designs to create an old-world ambiance while maintaining contemporary comfort.
The building now housing Baan Chantra was built in the 1930s as a traditional Thai home. The family-owned guesthouse was renovated during its conversion to a hotel, but maintains much of the original woodwork. The interior is slightly maze-like, with cozy nooks, an elegant library and tranquil Thai furnishings. The hotel is a 10-minute walk from the Grand Palace and Kao San Road. Standard, superior and deluxe rooms are available, and all include breakfast.
Old Bangkok Inn
Built on the same property where a palace once stood, the Old Bangkok Inn now stands as a princely 10-room bed and breakfast. The owner, Nantiya, is a 40-year resident of Bangkok, fluent in English, and hospitable to a fault, providing each guest with an encyclopedic wealth of information on Bangkok and Thai life. Each room at the inn is individually decorated and rates include breakfast. Old Bangkok Inn is a 20-minute walk to the Grand Palace.
Phranakorn Nornlen Hotel
The rooms at Phranakorn Nornlen Hotel are small, but that is the point as the hotel has maintained the building's architecture, which was built to accommodate the smaller Thai physique. Each room measures 15 feet by 13 feet, allowing space for a balcony, small bathroom and bed. The hotel's signature appeal is its rooftop organic garden, which provides ingredients for the restaurant. Phranakorn Nornlen also offers a kids space, family area and garden. The hotel is a 20-minute walk from the Grand Palace.
- monk inspects a statue at the grand palace, bangkok, thailand - image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com