I was not surprised when Bangkok was again voted the top travel destination in several World Travel rankings. Tourist-friendly and affordable, yet without compromising on design and quality, one would be spoiled for the array of choices offered by the city’s accommodation. Bangkok also has reputedly some of the best designed boutique hostels in the world, and I checked out one, the 2 year old Loftel 22.
This pristinely restored Thai Chinese concrete shophouse hostel is located in the Talad Noi (達叻仔) neighourhood in Bangkok’s Chinatown, the only one to operate in this mixed residential-commercial district. Most of the facade of the building was kept intact, and the wooden doorframe on the first floor was refurbished to give it a classic dark yellow-brown hue to reflect the Teochew Chinese heritage of this building. Back in the 19th century, Teochew Chinese merchants started their trading businesses such as rice, spices, herbs and mercantiles here. Many settled in the area and their descendants continued to live here. Centuries old businesses also remained till this day including the tailor and hair salon several doors down. The long rows of shops opposite the street selling weighing machines also co-existed with many Chinese medicinal halls on the side of the Loftel.
(I usually go to the cheap and reliable tailor next door to tailor my clothes too.)
The 2 year old Loftel 22 is a 3 storey shophouse (with 2 mezzanines) that used to have 4 Thai Chinese households living in it before it was converted into a hostel.
First floor of the hostel is the Loftel 22 Coffee, a cafe opened to the public, and they are also popular with the high school kids living in the area. I would not recommend the food here since the food street of Bangkok’s Chinatown is only 5 minutes away by foot. This is however not a bad place to have coffee, chill and enjoy AC. Retro floor tiles gave a lot of character to this space.
The designs of the roof lights on the ceilings are similarly well thought. Covered with upcycled zinc from unwanted zinc roofs, this was almost a love-at-first-sight for me. Brilliant design, even though many might not have even noticed it.
Once checked in, you will receive a security card to let you into the dorm room, which is covered in concrete and mostly wood. The double decker beds are designed with plenty of space in mind so you don’t have to worry about hitting your head, like in a capsule. Each bed also comes with a power supply, lamp and small wooden chest on the side.
The hostel provides complimentary clean towel and blankets. The communal bathrooms also come with attached coin laundries/ dryers!
Come night time, backpackers, locals, food peddlers and tuk-tuk travelers mingle outside the hostel, as if the hostel was part of the neighbourhood’s fabric.
A sight to behold and instagram-worthy, I wished i had brought my DSLR along.
This hostel experience was indeed special. That special connection you get when you see a building comes to life! You see the opening of hostels in historical places around the world leading to gentrification, but not this one which has successfully assimilated into the neighbourhood, and not to mention the efforts that went into its restoration and aesthetics.
Best of all, SGD$10/ night!
The above article is written by Guest Writer @ramenking2016. You can find him on instagram where he shares his love for food and travel.
952 Soi Charoenkrung 22,Talad Noi, Charoenkrung Road, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand
Tel. +66 02 117 9322/ +66 086 807 1144
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org