Friday, 16 January 2009

Orchid Hibiscus, Sukhothai

Orchid Hibiscus Gardens

We have spent our six nights visiting Sukhothai Historical Park at the aptly named Orchid Hibiscus Guesthouse. Orchids and other flowers brighten the beautifully landscaped gardens within which the rooms and bungalows are set.

Orchid Hibiscus
In front of one of the rooms

Orchid Pool
Oval Orchid swimming pool

The OH is a bit of a price step-up for us at 800 baht for a double room, which is way more than our usual 200-300 baht on this trip. But is is worth it. The only guesthouse in Old Sukhothai below 1200 baht that has a pool. A decent-sized oval pool with lots of space for yoga at that. Most guesthouses are at New Sukhothai 15km away which is useless when you are getting up for the dawn light. By staying in Old Sukhothai we can both easily cycle to the ruins when we like. The gardens and pool are an ideal place to relax during the heat and flat light of the middle of the day. There are a couple of budget guesthouses in Old Sukhothai too, so if you want to see the ruins it is much more convenient to take a tuk-tuk from the bus station in New Sukhothai straight to the Old and find a place next to the Historical Park.

Paolo & Pinthong
Paolo & Pinthong

We certainly recommend OH to anyone on a mid-range budget. As well as the 800 baht doubles there are 1200 baht family bungalows. All are around and in a beautiful garden, the rooms are nicely decorated and the owners – Paolo and Pinthong – are incredibly friendly without being in your face. They lay on an expansive breakfast of eggs, toast, jam and marmalade and wild honey still in its comb and served on a bamboo stick. Breakfast can easily continue for an hour and is best eaten after an early visit to the ruins. You will need to cycle plenty to work it off. The service is impeccable – any question or problem immediately rectified without fuss. All the staff are friendly and efficient, even to the point of moving your drying washing into the sun if you forget. The garden is maintained every day and the whole place is immaculately clean. There are an outdoor jacuzzi for use at 300 baht a person, and a couple of chilling areas with bamboo hammocks and wooden benches. They also have mopeds to hire and recommend a bicycle hire place that will come and collect your bike the morning after you’ve finished with it so that you don’t have to think about returning it yourself.

Orchid Breakfast
Part of the Orchid breakfast

Orchid Jacuzzi
Outdoor jacuzzi
Go on, treat yourself if you plan to visit Sukhothai.

1 comment:

  1. Update October 2009.

    We visited the OH for a week in October this year. Glad to say everything was as we found it earlier in the year. The breakfasts are as good and with the addition of delicious handmade coconut puddings.

    Paolo and Pinthong have just opened another guesthouse - the eponymous PinPao which is a large new house on the main road into Old Sukhothai. They were just putting the finishing touches to PinPao while we were there and Pinthong showed us around a couple of days before they opened its doors to guests for Loi Krathong. The place is fantastic inside. It is a guesthouse rather than bungalows or rooms around a garden so it is different in character to the Orchid Hibiscus. Each room is ensuite and slightly differently sumptiously decorated in Pinthong's signature contemporary Thai style. Expect lots of plump cushions, cereamic flowers and handpainted woodwork. PinPao is on the riverside and breakfast will be set on a terrace overlooking the river. Paolo and Pinthong are looking into boat trips along the river to the Historical Park.

    A wooden footbridge leads over to a swimming pool set in a concrete lido, with more ceramic flowers, and garden. The pool and garden were coming to the end of construction when we looked around.

    PinPao is another five-star mid-range guesthouse for Sukhothai, building on the success of the Orchid Hibiscus. Prices are the same - currently 800baht for a double room with the same style breakfast included. PinPao also has a cafe specialising in authentic Italian coffee, as you'd expect from Paolo. The main advantage of the PinPao over the Orchid are its position on the main road which put it much closer to the Historical Park. This means it is an easy walking distance to the Park and other amenities of Old Sukhothai. You can expect the same high quality service and rooms as well as a swimming pool but not quite the same extent of gardens nor family romos. If 800baht is your budget, even just for a few nights of a longer trip, I doubt you'll be disappointed by either of Paolo and Pinthong's guesthouses while in Old Sukhothai.