Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen Boutique Hostel, Bangkok: Review

Democracy Monument as seen from Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen

So close to Democracy Monument that it may as well be on the roundabout itself, boutique guest house Baan Dinso makes for a convenient spot to rest your head in the heart of Bangkok’s old town Phra Nakorn district. The newer sibling to the original Baan Dinso guest house just down the road on Thanon Dinso, this more modern setup took over the site of a pharmacy in 2012 and is variously referred to as Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen and Baan Dinso 2.

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Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen

Even today, most of the ground floor level of the building is taken up by a branch of Thanachart bank; the entrance is through a small café setup that offers a selection of cakes and salads, and a few seats from which to soak up the sun through the practically floor-to-ceiling windows that bathe this part of the lobby in natural light. The larger lobby and reception area is down a short flight of stairs on the basement floor, while rooms are on the further three floors above ground level. The slightly odd location of the lift on the second floor, running up to the third and fourth floors but not down to the ground, might make access difficult for some – presumably this is a limitation of the building’s original design.

Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen

Beautiful dark wood flooring lines the bedrooms, with large, firm beds, but the other furnishings are somewhat of a mismatch of retro 1970s grain-effect light wood and darker mahogany pieces. In some places the contrast between the two could work towards achieving that much sought after vintage effect, but somehow here it just doesn’t quite pull it off. The fridge, kettle and a limited selection of coffee, instant noodles and crisps are all well concealed in a large cabinet beneath the large TV, but the little details are missing – tea would be a pleasant alternative, for instance, and even the coffee sachets come without sugar, milk or creamer.

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RECOMMENDED: Book Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen online with Agoda

Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen

There is further lack of attention to small detail in the insufficient and poorly located power sockets – check behind your pillows if you can’t find any – and yet these are the sort of considerations that it is reasonable to begin to expect in this price bracket. Cable TV provides only a limited selection of channels, which seem to be exclusively news broadcasts, while, despite having a separate wi-fi network for each floor of the property, in-room signal is weak, though much stronger in the lobby and corridors. A bigger issue was the often cold water of our shower, with intermittent lukewarm spurts – this appears not to be a regular problem but is nonetheless something the hotel is working on.

Democracy Monument as seen from Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen

Baan Dinso 2‘s location is easily its best selling point, its front door literally opening onto the Democracy Monument roundabout. Our fourth floor deluxe room (for which the hotel’s rack rate is THB 2,650) afforded stunning views of the monument, even with their very minor obstruction by way of a lamppost. The noise of traffic is a slight issue – though a non-stop drone in daylight hours, things quieten down significantly in the late evening – but even so, the room makes for a fantastic vantage point over the fascinating, never-ending buzz of cars, buses, tuk-tuks and motorbikes circling the monument. Sitting to watch the constant flow from the comfort of an armchair by the window is addictive.

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RECOMMENDED: Book Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen online with Agoda

Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen

To complement the basement lobby area, where a sadly rather uninspired menu of food and drink is available from 8am-11pm (there are plenty of better options at street stalls and simple restaurants on the neighbouring roads), there are pleasant communal reading areas on each floor, with welcoming armchairs, shelves of books and magazines to explore and pleasant prints on the walls. During our stay the whole place did, however, have a very empty feel – the owner admitted in advance that it has been difficult to fill the numerous single rooms, which are small but immaculate and well-designed, all with windows, air-con and modest wall-mounted TVs. These and similar twin rooms share likewise immaculate toilets and showers dotted on each floor. Rack rates are THB 1,200 for singles and THB 2,200 for twins; admittedly comparatively expensive for the area, though as of November 2014 the Baan Dinso web site indicates promotions on these rooms starting from THB 650.

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Breakfast at Baan Dinso

While it appears that breakfast is usually served in the basement reception area, at the hotel’s invitation we too ours at the original Baan Dinso guest house, a two-minute walk from Ratchadamnoen Avenue down Thanon Dinso. This older feeling property has the genuine atmosphere of a family home, set down a quiet residential alley. Despite the proximity of the two hotels, and while even here the hum of traffic permeats, the gentle trickle of water in the lotus pools dotted around the courtyard adds a spectre of tranquility.

Baan Dinso

While we ate our breakfast set of khao tom boiled rice there – an American breakfast and health-conscious option are also available – warm and friendly barefooted staff busied themselves clipping and repotting the lotus plants. A notable personality difference exists between Baan Dinso 2 and the original property, and we felt more at home here thanks to the smaller and more intimate setting, compared to an equally friendly but much more hotel-like and less personable ambience down the street at Baan Dinso 2.

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RECOMMENDED: Book Baan Dinso – the original – online with Agoda

Baan Dinso

Baan Dinso 2 is clearly well run and has no outrageously negative aspects, but sadly neither does it jump out and impress with any wow factor. Aside from temporary cold shower issues it is a solid option for a comfortable and reasonably well executed place to rest your head in a location central to the old city and with killer views of the monument – though finer touches could do with more attention. The original Baan Dinso, meanwhile, boasts the charm and intimacy to pull you in and shine so much more; the latter is definitely the place for a more romantic, idyllic backwater Bangkok experience.

Baan Dinso - photo by Baan Dinso

Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen is directly opposite McDonald’s and Sidewalk Ratchadamnoen café on the other side of the roundabout, on Thanon Ratchadamnoen, while the original Baan Dinso is located on Trok Sin, a small alley just off Thanon Dinso (on the corner of which sits the newer property), on the right-hand side as you approach from Ratchadamnoen.

Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen, 78/3 Thanon Ratchadamnoen Klang, Phra Nakorn, Bangkok 10200; 086 815 3300
Book online with Agoda for the best available rates!

Baan Dinso, 113 Trok Sin, Thanon Dinso, Phra Nakorn, Bangkok 10200; 02 622 0560
Book online with Agoda for the best available rates!

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary one-night stay at Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen (with breakfast at the original Baan Dinso) for the purposes of this review. All of the opinions in this article are of course my own.

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2 Comments

Filed under Bangkok, Evergreen, Thailand

2 Responses to Baan Dinso @ Ratchadamnoen Boutique Hostel, Bangkok: Review

  1. Hi Chris,

    Neat! We’ve walked by Democracy Monument many times; seems like a great spot to take in a fun area of the city 😉

    Ryan

    • Thanks for the comment, Ryan – it’s a great base to explore this part of Bangkok and, if you can get one of the higher rooms facing the monument, it’s a fantastic vantage point from which to sit and watch the world pass by!

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