Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Praya Palazzo

Praya Palazzo Hotel At Dusk

We travelled to Bangkok last Thursday in order to witness the Royal Barge Procession on Thursday 9 November.  The Royal Barge Procession is a unique Thai event that has been conducted 17 times during the 66 year reign of Thailand's current King.

Based upon Richard Barrow's Facebook comments and his blog www.thaitravelblogs.com, I became aware of a small boutique hotel in Bangkok called Praya Palazzo.  I was interested in staying at Praya Palazzo due to its location.  The hotel is located on the bank of the Chao Praya River across from Phra Sumen Fort and a liitle ways downstream from King Rama VIII Bridge. More importantly for photography, the sun would be at my back for taking pictures of the Royal Barge Procession.

Further research on the hotel's website as well as on my preferred travel site www.agoda.com convinced me to book our stay at the hotel.

Praya Palazzo is a renovated mansion that was built in 1923 by a noble man, Khun Praya Chollabhumipanish, who worked in the Royal Court Custom Dept.  Later the home became a Muslim school and eventually was abandoned and entered into severe decay.  It was later purchased and renovated by a university architecture professor.  The hotel opened for guests in 2011.

The hotel is advertised as being accessible by water which is true in general.  There is limited land access which involves walking a ways along the top of a 2 foot wide cement dike along the Chao Praya River with local canals and homes on the other side.  Supplies, trash, and guests are transported on hotel boats which are much more pleasant and safer mode to get to and from the hotel.

We took a taxi from the old Bangkok airport, Don Muaeng, to Phra Athit Pier directly across the river from the hotel.  We called the hotel and a short time later the hotel boat arrived.  Upon arrival at the hotel's pier, we were greeted by the hotel management and staff.  We were given a glass of apple juice and a cool hand clothes to refresh ourselves.  While our check in was handled in the adjoining office, we were given a tour of the facilities.  The facilities are very tastefully decorated with attention to detail and commitment to historical accuracy.

Room 132 Ready for Guests

The hotel has 17 guest accommodations.  Our room, Room 132, was a superior room located on the ground floor on the front end of the main building.  It was very comfortable and relaxing - just what one would expect and hope for from a boutique hotel.  We had a tub in our bathroom with plenty of water pressue and copious amounts of hot water.  The brass plumbing fixtures fit in very well with the decor of our room.

Fresh Flowers Placed by Staff As Part of  Downturn Service
The entire staff was extremely friendly and attentive.  It seemed more like we were staying in someone's home rather than at a hotel.

Morning At Praya Palazzo
We ate all our meals at the hotel rather than crossing the river.  Due to the Royal Barge procession the river was closed to traffic the morning of November 9.  The service in the hotel dining room was excellent.  The food was very good and beautifully presented.

It turned out that the hotel was in a perfect location to view the Royal Barge Procession.  In addition to the great location to view the barges, the staff and other guests at the hotel proved to be very interesting people to while away the time with leading up to the procession.

Our stay at Praya Palazzo was memorable and very enjoyable.  I have stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel before and although it's loction is more convenient for touring the city, I prefer the Praya Palazzo for its overall value based upon price and most especially the atmosphere created by its staff.

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