Bangkok Loft Inn is a boutique hotel in the southwest part of Bangkok (near Taksin region in Thonburi). The hotel is not part of any chain, and managed and ran by locals. It has received many good reviews from travelers on TripAdvisor, and last year it received the 2011 Traveler’s Choice Award as #5 for bargain hotel in Asia. It is not located near the typical tourist area in Bangkok (Khao San Road or Sukhumvit Road areas), but it is within 5-minute walk from a Bangkok SkyTrain station. So it’s actually pretty nice those who want to stay at a nice hotel at reasonable price and don’t mind taking the public transit to the touristy areas.
When we were looking for hotel to stay in Bangkok during our Southeast Asia trip, my cousin Kristi and I wanted to find one that is nice and clean, with reasonable price, and within public transportation reach to the destinations that we wanted to visit. During her previous visit to Bangkok, Kristi stayed at a western chain hotel (Holiday Inn I think) that was located near the shopping malls area — perfect for her previous trip with her friends that was focused on shopping. While western chain hotels like that have the benefit of likely maintaining a certain quality standards, I thought it would be more interesting to risk it a little bit and look for a local hotel that might be smaller and not as well known, but owned and managed by locals and allowing us opportunity to interact with the local staff.
We found Bangkok Loft Inn on TripAdvisor. It’s ranked pretty high on the list of hotels that include some of the more expensive or bigger ones (the other ones ranked in the top 10 were mostly five star hotels that easily cost 4-5 times per night stay). Photos on both TripAdvisor and the hotel’s websites looked nice, and more importantly, a lot of reviews on TripAdvisor mentioned not only about the nice hotel facility but also the wonderful staff they had there. Booking was quite easy; done online using a site called agoda.com.
We stayed at Bangkok Loft Inn for two nights, and the stay exceeded our expectations. We only interacted with the front desk staff during our check in, whenever we went out or back in as we passed the front desk, and when we check out. But just those short interactions were memorable, and they really served as great ambassadors for their country that reflect Thai hospitality. Upon our arrival, they helped us make reservation at a restaurant and the manager even helped us get a taxi and provided instruction to the driver in Thai to ensure we get to our destination. On the following day, on our way out for our full day to explore Bangkok, the manager stopped us, and surprised my cousin Kristi with a little birthday gift. That day was Kristi’s birthday, and the manager found out about it from looking at the passport when we checked in the night before (about 12 hrs before, already at night). So during that short time she got a little gift nicely wrapped ready to give to Kristi in the morning. She also gave us some warning/advice against scam on visiting the Wat Pho temple that ended up to be part of experience when we got there. And on the last day of our stay, when she found out that we were heading to the airport from the hotel for the next leg of our trip, she offered to have the hotel’s car (I think it’s a family car) take us to the airport at no charge.
The photo below was taken at the hotel lobby after Pat the manager gave Kristi the birthday gift. It’s one of those unexpected moments interacting with the locals that you would remember from the trip, and it’s a reason to always have a digital camera handy for capturing these moments.