Old Capital Bike Inn

Bangkok, Thailand Book from

Reviewed by Peter Myers
Eco-friendly, family-run boutique B&B ideally located for discovering the Thai Capital’s heritage district
Opened in 2005 (and previously named Old Bangkok Inn), this was one of the city's first boutique guesthouses and is still arguably its homeliest place to stay. Thoughtfully converted from a 1940s shophouse, it sits on Ratanakosin Island in the middle of Bangkok's historic quarter and has been in the care of the owners' family for 7 generations.

Stepping into the tearoom-esque lobby is to be transported into a somnolent but classy olde-worlde realm. Jazzy guitar music plays, ornate birdcages are from Chiang Mai, and much of the structure came from Ayuthaya, Thailand’s ancient capital (now specialising in reclaimed teak from dismantled old Central Thai wooden houses). Drift around the corridors and you'll find a glass walkway directly under a roof skylight, to naturally light as much of the hotel as possible, and tree-root-like banisters.


  • Home-away-from-home ambience with personal helpful service
  • Chances are owner Khun Nantiya will be sitting behind the reception to offer you a warm hello
  • Impressive green credentials - charity donations at check-in matched by the hotel, solar heating, water-saving taps, energy-saving light bulbs, bedding and towels changed upon request, no throwaway toiletries
  • Conveniently located for Bangkok's main historical landmarks: the Golden Mountain temple is opposite; the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha are a 20-minute walk
  • A fleet of vintage bikes to borrow and free night cycling tours of the city


  • There's construction work next door until at least October 2016 - check the latest when enquiring
  • Although all rooms are lovingly conceived, some are small, lighting can be subdued, the stairs to mezzanines are steep and storage can be limited
  • Taxi drivers are unlikely to find the hotel; to avoid getting lost, book an airport transfer with the hotel in advance
  • We're yet to personally visit since the property's transformative 2015 renovation, but feedback suggests it's as charming as ever
  • No pool and limited outdoor space
  • A little far from Bangkok's main shopping areas such as Sukhumvit

Best time to go

Bangkok can get very wet from July to October. Although the heat is on all year round, March to May is the hottest time to be in the city, and December to February the coolest.

Our top tips

Take a short taxi ride to the Chao Phraya River, and from there jump on a public river-taxi or rent a longtail boat and whizz along this sensation-filled aquatic artery which bisects the city. Make sure you explore the narrow tributaries off the river proper. It doesn't take long before the city buzz is but a memory, and you enter the pastoral realm of lackadaisical riverine life.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 10
  • Breakfast + tea room
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Garden Suite


In each charmingly unique room you'll find reclaimed teak furnishings, antique hanging oil lamps, hand-painted porcelain washbasins crafted by owner Nantiya and quirky flower-inspired metalwork. Each room carries its personalised floral scent in ceramic containers, hand-made soap and shampoo. Sumptuous dark fabrics and fresh flowers contribute to the elegant feel, and all rooms have air-con, TV and multimedia players, computers, WiFi and minibars.

The best rooms are the Family Suite and Honeymoon Suite, which both have sitting areas and outdoor bathtubs. The ground floor Family Suite in which we stayed impressed at first glance, then doubly so when we realised there was a door at one end which opened on to a narrow corridor with fridge, amenities, wardrobe, and a huge rainshower. Beyond, an outdoor, plant-flanked space with a huge green stone bathtub allows you to bathe amidst the plant fronds and enjoy almost complete silence. A tree-house-style room can be found up some steps; perfect for a second couple, or kids. Back in the bedroom-proper, the comfy kingsize bed - marshmallow-soft pillows and crisp white linen - rests on a wooden plinth.

There are also Twin Rooms, and Garden Suites with little indoor garden lounge areas. The Queen Loft Suites and King Loft Suites are duplexes with a bathroom/lounge on one floor and a rather precarious steep wooden stairs leading up to a mezzanine level bedroom.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Internet-enabled PC
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


This is essentially a B&B with no restaurant, although it does have a small tea room with limited food selection, but you're greeted with a welcome cup of tea and you can order freshly-brewed coffee or tea, fresh fruit juices and cookies in the lobby until 8pm. There is 24-hour room service from the small tea room.

Upon check-in, you will be asked to fill out a form to make your breakfast selection for the next morning which is taken in the lobby, where you can chat to owner Khun Nantiya. Our scrambled eggs and sausage were well cooked, the dragon fruit, pomelo and watermelon fresh, the toast adequate, the coffee delicious and the traditional Chinese pastries intriguing. Unless told otherwise, you will receive this breakfast choice every morning.

In one of the best foodie ideas we've seen at a hotel, a scrapbook in the lobby contains the owners' best-kept-secret restaurant recommendations, which guests would find impossible to locate on their own even with a guidebook. After each suggestion, several blank pages are left, so guests can comment on the recommendations. Brilliant.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Tea room


  • The hotel has a fleet of vintage bikes for guests to borrow free of charge and you can also join the night cycling tour to get a unique insight into the fascinating city (every other evening)
  • Climb the dazzling Golden Mountain temple across the street from the hotel, to watch sunset. Heritage monument Phra Sumen Fort is also only minutes away by foot, as is famed political landmark Democracy Monument
  • Phan Fah Boat Pier is just across the road. For a glimpse into Bangkok’s canal culture, take a river boat into the city centre (to Saphan Hua Chang Pier near National Stadium. Jim Thompson's famous silk shop takes just 10 minutes by boat
  • The Queen Sirikit Gallery is steps away, and holds regular exhibitions of artistic interest
  • The National Museum, Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha are all within a 20-minute walk from the hotel
  • Backpacker-ville, Khao San Road is a 20-minute walk away. This is the area to buy tacky clothing, fake CDs/DVDs, fraudulent degree certificates and press passes, and to drink until you drop. Or, more sensibly, feast on a diverse array of cuisines, from Israeli to Indian to Thai to fast-food

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Historical sites
    • Museums / galleries
    • Nightlife
    • Shopping / markets
    • Traditional cultures
  • Kids

    Cots are provided free for under 3s. Though this is a small hotel, so those with children may prefer somewhere with more space and a pool.

    Family friendly accommodation:

    The Family Suite sleeps 4 and the Honeymoon Suite has space for 3 people. Twin rooms are also available for older children. Note that the steep steps of the Queen Loft Suite and King Loft Suite are not suitable for toddlers.

    Baby equipment:

    Baby cots available on request

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Kid Friendly: Twin Room

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