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Review of Phranakorn Nornlen Hotel

Phranakorn Nornlen Hotel post a review < previous - next >  
Review posted 7/8/2008 view all
Pink Choice Member from , London
Lovely decor and an oasis in Bangkok
The Phranakorn Nornlen is an oasis of calm and relaxation in a very big and busy city and I strongly recommend it.

If you want the comfort of a big hotel, don’t go for this and book something near the massive shopping centres near Siam Square. However, if you want to see the ‘real Bangkok’, be closer to the river and a short taxi or tuk-tuk ride to the main temples and Grand Palace, and stay in a relaxing atmosphere, go for this hotel.

We arrived late at night and the area seems a bit dodgy at night. Our taxi driver even had to call the hotel to get directions. When you arrive, and open the gate to the garden, your fears disappear. The friendly and young staff are very helpful and welcoming. You are immediately touched by the quirkiness of the place and the artistic thoughts that went into putting it together.

The breakfasts are excellent, with most products sourced from local markets. The hotel is even planning a roof-top organic farm for their meals. The dining area, almost all open to the lush garden, is peaceful and nicely decorated with kitschy images of Thai advertising, objects and design from the 1940s and 50s. The garden also opens to a room where you can use computers to access internet and have a massage. At 300 Thai baht, it is a very good price. In a bigger hotel, you would pay much more.

The rooms are basic but nicely decorated and the beds are firm and comfortable in traditional Thai manner. The storage is basic but we felt that was not a problem. The en-suite bathroom is basic and could do with having some shelves for products, but it is still nice. The hotel does not have a pool and nowhere will you find a television. This is a place for relaxation that is most welcome in such a busy city.

Bangkok may not be everyone’s cup of tea, with its massive population sprawl, constant smells, noise and pollution, animals everywhere (thousands of dogs, cats, birds and even toads seem to co-exist peacefully everywhere) but its Buddhist traditions, appreciation for the royal family, and beautiful temples clash with a vibrant youth culture and fashion, and sophisticated malls and skyscrapers making it a unique place.

You will be constantly hassled by tuk-tuk drivers and NEVER believe them when they say the Grand Palace is closed (because it’s either for Thais only or there is a special occasion, etc) and they offer to drive you to other places instead. This is usually a way to drive you to a temple where a nice ‘stranger’ (arranged with your driver) will try to promote a tailor or a shop. This is impressively organised on the streets of the city and not forceful; however, if you bear this in mind this is a very cheap way to see the city and visit the major temples. When faced with the moment of sell in a shop, just say no and walk away and back to the tuk-tuk. Your driver may loose his commission, but he will be fine. We managed to see five temples in two and half hours while our tuk-tuk driver waited for us outside and paid just 40 baht for both of us, which is something like 60 or 70 pence (GBP) for two people, cheaper than getting taxis!

The Grand Palace is a must see, as well as the Reclined Buddha nearby, both reasonably close to the hotel. The Phranakorn Nornlen is very well located for these sights and you can take a river boat (from or to Thewet, 5 minutes walk from the hotel) or a taxi for very little money. Another nice thing to do is to have a dinner on a boat on the river Chao Prayah. These usually include good food and entertainment, such as live music and dancers.

As a gay man, I also did not have any problems whatsoever in staying here with my same-sex partner and being given a double bed, something that still sometimes raises a few eyebrows in some hotels or guest houses. Staff were very efficient and friendly and made us feel welcome all the time.

I really recommend this little hotel. It does not offer all the luxuries you probably expect but once you stay, you really feel this is a 5-star experience!
Month and year of stay:
April 2008
Length of stay:
3 nights
Recommend hotel for:
singles,couples,young,older gay
Describe the hotel:
Mixed gay/lesbian/straight
Would I stay at hotel again?
My ratings on the following categories:
Rate the reservation process, either on-line or by phone.
Were the staff helpful and welcoming?
Was the property well located and externally attractive?
Was it welcoming, informative and painless?
Were the staff able to devote time to answer all your questions?
Was the bed comfortable, and the room and bathroom
well appointed and clean?
Were the staff friendly, helpful and efficient?
Did the quality of breakfast or other dining services
meet your expectations?
How were the little personal touches that make all the difference?
Was your stay appropriately priced for what you received?

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