Located in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok, The Atlanta hotel is one of the more atmospheric places you can choose to stay in the Thai capital if you are on a budget. The hotel is unashamedly old-fashioned which will appeal to some and deter others.
Much of the charm of the hotel lies with the period features and art-deco styling. The Atlanta proudly declares that it has the oldest unaltered hotel foyer in Thailand. It was also the first Thai hotel to include a swimming pool (in 1954) and is home to one of the oldest travel agencies in the country. The old-style ambiance extends to the classical music played in the morning and the jazz music composed by the King of Thailand which is sometimes played at lunch-time. If you are lucky during your stay, you may even catch a display of classical Thai dancing or traditional Thai puppet theatre which is put on in the foyer for the benefit of guests.
The Atlanta is located towards the end of a small soi (lane) off the main Sukhumvit Road and is approximately a 10 minute walk from the nearest Skytrain station at Ploenchit with major shopping centres such as Siam Square and Central World Plaza just a short hop away. The Atlanta hotel is also sited just a few streets away from one of Bangkok’s main adult entertainment venues at Nana Plaza, but don’t let that put you off. You will not see any undesirable elements in the hotel which is something the management go out of their way to make clear. On the Atlanta hotel website the message reads:
‘Bangkok’s historic hotel and institution. Bastion of wholesome, culturally sensitive and eco-aware tourism. Sex tourists not welcome.’
If visitors are still in any doubt, signs inside and outside the hotel make it clear that people that the management consider undesirable will not be permitted to stay.
That all sounds fine, but what is it actually like to stay here? Well, I last stayed at this hotel a long time ago (almost 6 years ago) so things may have changed in the intervening period. My personal opinion of The Atlanta at the time was that it was an interesting place to stay, but not necessarily a place that I would stay at again. The rooms are basic and in my case the room I was staying in needed redecorating and the bathroom needed a good scrub. That said, I only paid 500 Baht a night and to an extent you get what you pay for with the hotel catering largely for budget travellers and independent tourists. Also, it couldn’t have been that bad because I ended up staying an extra 2 days on top of the original 3 days I had planned. I only ate at the hotel a couple of times because I found the Thai food to be average and there were better options nearby. I didn’t use the pool during my stay so I can’t comment on that, but I was fortunate enough to catch a display of traditional Thai dancing in the foyer (pictured top) which was a lovely touch which the hotel lays on at regular intervals for the enjoyment of the guests.
In summary, I would say that The Atlanta was a reasonable place to stay, but with a change in attitude from the owners and a bit of money spent, could easily become an excellent place to stay. The Atlanta is certainly a unique and atmospheric hotel, but in my opinion not quite as good as it could or should be. Please keep in mind these comments are based on my visit to The Atlanta hotel in 2003 and I would recommend checking more recent reviews from guests for a balanced assessment of whether the accommodation will fit your needs.
Update: November 2012
Not too far away from The Atlanta and highly recommended is Wendy Guest House, which is currently my favourite budget choice in Bangkok.