Focal Local fills an important niche in places to stay: it allows you to escape the sterility and impersonal experience of hotels and brings the comfort, service, and sense of familiarity of bed & breakfasts without the premium. And really, after our days slogging through 35 degree heat in Bangkok, coming back to Focal Local each evening was like nothing short of coming home.
Let me get one thing out of the way. You can book this place just for Karan, Focal Local's owner, manager, host, and resident breakfast chef. Karan has tremendous insight into attractions, transport, safety, and other logistical issues you'd encounter in Bangkok. He would inquire about our plans and offer up recommendations where helpful. He was prompt in e-mail and phone communication, and we even called him from a taxi when needing directions to a church we were visiting. Even Karan's father would check in on us and share his tips on getting around the city. This kind of service is not widely available in places to stay, yet is of tremendous value--for if you're on limited time in Bangkok, making decisions on your own can be costly.
The place itself is located in the south-west part of the city, in an area well outside backpacker and touristy haunts and red light districts. It is, however, still abuzz with the scooters, bright lights, and street food that lend Bangkok its enthusiastic character. Stroll down to the boulevard at sunrise and see street vendors rolling in to set up shop, and before long you're surrounded with local fruit, steaming cakes, and viands spicy, sweet, and savory and whose names you've never heard before and may never be able to remember. Further down the street is a sweeping view of the main river of the Chao Phraya (within walking distance, but far enough for tuk tuk), which can be enjoyed by candlelit dinner at the open-air, modern, and well-served Princess Terrace restaurant (get there early).
Inside Focal Local, the rooms sport a fun decor. The beds are plush and the rooms cool perfectly in the air conditioning. What struck me was the ubiquitous, sweet scent of pandan in the rooms and how spotlessly clean, white, and well-lit everything was. There are reviews of scooters outside awakening guests at night, but I personally didn't notice; I'd be too spent from the day's activities not to be passed out. (By the way, Karan can remove the pandan scent if it's not your thing.)
One consideration from other reviews is the overall location of Focal Local. I did find that at night, I may have had to hail two or three taxis before one would take me back; however, I didn't feel inconvenienced, let alone feel it necessary to move to Siam Square or Khao San Road. Bangkok, particularly with the effiicent BTS railway, is very easy to get around. The only critique I can think of is that the plants in front of the inn can obstruct the view of oncoming traffic, so they can be a slight hazard when crossing the street. Of course though, this isn't a dealbreaker.
But at Focal Local's rates, this is an incredible value.
Congratulations to you, your family, and staff on getting number one!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Focal Local is a boutique Bed and Breakfast located on Thonburi district in historic downtown Bangkok. Formerly known as the old capital of Thailand, Thonburi district offers the perfect getaway from busy city life without compromising on transport. The ideal location to visit a local touch of Bangkok, with local temples, daily markets and local food stalls. Focal Local is just 5 minutes away from the BTS sky train station and Chao Phraya River by Tuk Tuk [Thai Motor Tricycle Taxi]. Our different themed rooms are designed to match the diverse tastes of all our guests. In addition, the authentic Thai or Western complimentary breakfast is served upon guest's preference. We offer guests extra services including in-room WiFi, Internet corner, and free shuttle Tuk Tuk to BTS sky train or the pier. We can also assist you booking some tours in and outside Bangkok. We look forward to making your stay enjoyable. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Focal Local b&b
- Focal Local Hotel Bangkok