The Atlanta is situated at the end of a quiet soi between the Calvary Baptist church and Annie's soapy massage, but you are left in no doubt as to which end of the moral spectrum the hotel occupies. Large notices everywhere announce that sex tourists are not welcome and that this is a clean-living family hotel. This is fine and the Atlanta is a welcome oasis of quiet and wholesomeness in an area that gets pretty unsavoury just a block away, but I couldn't help feeling lectured the whole time we stayed here. Moral pronoucements loom on every wall, even on the coasters in the restaurant, and this combined with the charming but gloomy art deco decor feels rather repressive.
Several people had recommended the Atlanta to us as a good value family hotel with a charming ambience, so we finally decided to try it out in Feb 2013 during a three day stopover in Bangkok. We had a mixed experience, there are some wonderful quirky and appealing aspects to the place and many people love it wholeheartedly and return again and again, but it is definitely not for everyone.
We did not get off to a good start. When I booked the reservations staff were extremely helpful via email but they could not guarantee us a room for the first night of our stay, however they encouraged us to come straight to the hotel anyway and they would try to fit us in, or else find us a room nearby. When we did arrive, hot and exhausted from our journey, the person at the front desk didn't seem to know anything about this arrangement and was extremely unhelpful. She kept us waiting around for half an hour while she thumbed through the reservations book trying to decide what to do with us. It was clear she did have a room available but thought she should hold it for someone else. In the meantime there was no A/C and a lot of mosquitos in the lobby and we were all bitten repeatedly. Tempers frayed. Eventually she sent us off to another hotel nearby, the Raja, a forgettable and pretty dodgy-looking place that I would not recommend, but we stayed there anyway because it was too late to start looking for anything else. My husband was ready to write off the Atlanta but I persuaded him to move over there the next morning seeing as we had a reservation and were close by. We ended up enjoying our stay there on balance, but I don't know if I would rush back.
On the plus side, the atmosphere is peaceful and family-friendly, especially welcoming to writers, artists and others of a creative bent; the restaurant serves fantastic food at low prices - definitely the best Thai breakfast I have had anywere - and the rooms are spacious and good value - we had a family room with two bedrooms (each with one double and one single bed, so you could sleep a family of six) a bathroom and small living room. Our kids loved the swimming pool and the gardens, although we did notice a smell of cat pee that was hard to avoid. The original art deco decor looks great, but the whole place does feel like a flashback to the 1950s when it opened. I don't think the bath towels have been changed since then! The rooms look and feel like an old-fashioned British boarding school with iron bed frames, painted green walls and cerise velour curtains, and they lack basic amenities like bedside tables, water glasses and a shower curtain.
There is no point in commenting on any of this - notices everywhere make it clear that this is what you get - take it or leave it. I am still undecided, there are more comfortable places out there for the same money but certainly nothing with the same character. The Atlanta is unique but whether it suits you or not is a matter of personal taste.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The historic Atlanta Hotel in Bangkok is, literally, untouched by modern pop culture. Walking into The Atlanta is like walking into another world, a long lost world. Most of what a guest sees and hears is old and classic - and authentic. ***The Atlanta Hotel in Bangkok, founded in 1952, features many superlatives, notably, the most photographed and oldest unaltered hotel lobby in Thailand, the first hotel swimming (diving) pool in Thailand, the largest selection of Thai vegetarian dishes in the world, a unique jungle-like garden right in the middle of Bangkok. The western menu features dishes made in the 1950s style - dishes that were on the original menu of The Atlanta, and prepared in the same way. ***The historic Atlanta Hotel in Bangkok has strict policies: sex-tourists, drug users, trouble-makers, and undomesticated people are not welcome. Any of these found on the premises are dealt with summarily. Because of these strict policies, The Atlanta Hotel has many detractors or even enemies. The Atlanta Hotel upholds its principles and policies without compromise. As of 1st September 2013, smoking will no longer be permitted anywhere on the premises. ***The Atlanta Hotel is also home to destitute cats and terrapins. Injured and abandoned cats seem to find their way to The Atlanta. Many are rescued from elsewhere. There are at the time of writing 36 cats. Some live in an enclosure on one side of the garden; others live in the staff section of the hotel. The terrapins are all rescued and saved from loss of habitat. There are at the time of writing 27 terrapins. They live well in and around the pond of the jungle-like garden of The Atlanta. Two staff are employed full-time to look after the animals, and visiting vets often volunteer their services, which The Atlanta welcomes. There is a celebrated drawing by a regular guest of The Atlanta of the lobby featuring cats lying on the round sofa. The caption reads (in Italian), "Cats, the real guests of The Atlanta." Guests of The Atlanta are typically animal lovers. *** The Atlanta, being at the bottom of a lane, has no passing trade. All our guests are either regulars or friends of regulars. The Atlanta has many returning guests who have been coming to The Atlanta since the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and, of course, much later. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Atlanta Hotel Bangkok
- Atlanta Bangkok