Monday, December 22, 2008
THE ATLANTA HOTEL
Our abode in Bangkok is the Atlanta Hotel, a “venerable” institution, dating from 1952. lisa found this place on the www when she was frustrated that all hotels in Bangkok were either $200 US per night or cheap and hovel-like. I had the same experience in Delhi. Nice and expensive or cheap and bad!! The Atlanta was nice AND cheap. And has a history and a mission.
The hotel makes a statement at the front door “SEX TOURISTS NOT WELCOME”. At every corner we read that you can't take “new PAID FOR girlfriend” here. You will get kicked out. Even Siena and Avocet noticed the large number of older Western men with young Thai women (girls sometimes) throughout Thailand. The Atlanta wears its mission on its sleeve.
The history of this place includes having the first hotel swimming pool in Thailand (and quite nice), a restaurant that serves food using 1950's recipes and a lobby that has been in more movies than any other lobby in Thailand. It's unique in that everything you need to know about the hotel and Bangkok is explained in voluminous detail by the owner, a Dr. Henn. Pictures of its history are all over the walls.
Nothing much has changed for fifty years. The rooms are 1950's style; spartan, but with the materials of the past: nice terracotta concrete floors, beautiful teak wood used in a reading room and, I understand, most of the same bathroom fixtures, repaired instead of being replaced. I read on one of the literature boards in the lobby that General William Westmoreland, famous (infamous, really) for being “in charge” of the US involvement in Vietnam, stayed in what are now rooms A-5 and A-6. We stayed there! Who knows what strategies were wrung out behind these closed doors. Today it's much simpler with the girls playing Webkinz on the laptop using a very nice wireless signal. How things have changed!!
We would all like to thank Roger of the Atlanta for helping us along our journey. He has been communicating with lisa for over a year and helped us on numerous occasions: helping us book train tickets to Chiang Mai while we were still in Italy and for assuring us that Bangkok was still a good place to bring your family after the airport takeover and the protests that followed. We enjoyed having good conversations with you about travels and the City of Bangkok. LONG LIVE THE ATLANTA!!