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  You are here: ZingTravel > Hotel Bookings


By : Amit Gilboa

Welcome to the Atlanta!
Welcome to the Atlanta!  
Bangkok’s dozens of fancy hotels are very nice places to stay but they tend to lack any real character. You could go to sleep in a Westin, wake up in a Sheraton, and not notice that much difference. The same is true of Bangkok’s thousands of largely interchangeable and cheap guest-houses. There is, however, one hotel in Bangkok which is utterly and completely unique.

"the oldest unadulterated hotel lobby in Thailand"  
Located at the quiet end of Sukhumvit Soi 2, the Atlanta Hotel oozes a ‘retro’ charm which would be dismissed as kitsch if it weren’t so thoroughly authentic and enjoyable. On its name card, the Atlanta boasts of having "the oldest unadulterated hotel lobby in Thailand." The red Naugahyde chairs, gold coloured wall tiles and bronze statues of hunting dogs are not what the decorator at the Hyatt would choose but that’s the whole point. Everything looks straight out of the 1950’s, from the metallic floor fans to the rotary telephone switchboard, and it all feels familiar, comfortable and inviting.

‘Back to the Future’: Naugahyde chairs and rotary phones
‘Back to the Future’: Naugahyde chairs and rotary phones  
The Atlanta was founded in 1952 by Dr. Max Henn, a refugee from Nazi Germany who spent the war years in India. Dr. Henn was en route from India to Santo Domingo and eventually the USA when a short stopover in Thailand turned into permanent residency. Dr. Henn planned to build a hospital but, instead, took the advice of the US Ambassador who foresaw the escalating US presence in nearby Vietnam. In fact, the Atlanta hosted General Westmoreland and family, as well as innumerable GI’s on R&R.

Bright, airy and the largest selection of vegetarian Thai food the world
Bright, airy and the largest selection of vegetarian Thai food the world  
The Atlanta’s guests benefit from Dr. Henn’s long experience in the region. A pedestal in the lobby supports a booklet offering "Some advice before you go out on the streets of Bangkok for the first time." With authority and humour, the booklet covers everything from traffic to prostitution and should be required reading for every farang (Thai word for foreigner) entering the Kingdom. Similarly, a series of laminated maps near the main lobby detail almost anywhere you would want to go in Thailand.

Beat the heat, float in the pool
Beat the heat, float in the pool  
The 59 rooms at the Atlanta range from modest fan rooms with private bath for 355 Baht (US$9), to aircon suites for 535 Baht (US$13), up to a grand, two-bedroom suite for 1,284 Baht (US$32). Service is not as ruthlessly efficient as some 5-star hotels but there is a more personal touch here; the staff are allowed to chat and joke with guests. The pool (the first hotel pool in Thailand) is a respectable 17 metres. While many of the city’s other hotels also have pools these days, none have the same unique characteristics such as a supply of inner tubes so you can float the day away, the equally relaxing pool-side hammocks or the tranquil fountains cascading into the pool. Adding to the relaxed atmosphere is the lush garden setting around the pool. Were it not for the occasional rumble from the nearby expressway, the walk between lobby and pool could well be up country, tucked away in a jungle.


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