Urban Retreat: Phranakorn Nornlen, Bangkok

Bangkok is like the fat on a steak; it gives food a strong flavour but is not good for your heath. You like it, but you also try to avoid it. Bangkok has many layers like this, from the chaotic traffic to the convenient sky train; Jim Thompson to Mandarin Oriental; street vendors to royal thai cuisine… it suits whatever you need.

But you do need a break in a city like this. Phranakorn Nornlen is something that can calm you down after a culturally shocking day. Situated in the historical part of Bangkok, not far from Grand Palace and Khaosan Road, this boutique hotel is hidden in one of the small local communities where you will find houses, a primary school, and many street vendors.

Don’t expect this to be another hip boutique hotel. Instead, it emphasizes harmony, nature & preservation. The moment you enter the hotel gate, you see a pleasant little garden with an open-air breakfast area and a living space, where you can read a book, sip a coffee and fall asleep.

The hotel is modified from a 30-year-old guest house with 40 rooms, but the owners only open 20 rooms for business to keep the place more spacious, Every room has a different theme such as flowers, birds and butterflies… all are hand-drawn by local artists. There is no TV in the rooms (there is only one in the lobby), but there are MUJI CD players because the owner wants guests to have a truly relaxing stay with fewer distractions. Most of the furniture in the hotel is either antiques or recycled, polished with light, bright colors.

A hotel can’t be good without a human touch from the staff. They are friendly and very helpful. If you are tired of big chain hotels, identical design, and are also looking for something peaceful and original, this is where you should take your naps.

T: 662.6288188.90
More photos.

Posted by Donald Woo on January 30, 2007 in Travel

Comments (2)

  1. marhas
    marhas says:

    I have read this review and decided to go to see Phranakorn Nornlen in old Bangkok, also called Banglamphoo. And I was not disappointed. It inspired me to start my blog, which shows for example, how you find the next pier of Chao Phraya River and move to Bangkoks attractions by boat or how you find restaurants and markets nearby.

  2. Karen
    Karen says:

    Thanks for the info. It does sound like a good place. I have been to Bangkok 7 times and always stay around the Khaosan Road area. The last time I was there we tried the New Siam Riverside. It was clean, comfortable, quite swish with a lovely cooling pool and breakfast by the river. A great retreat and good for kids also.

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