As the plane dropped through the clouds, Thailand came into view. The air was thick and brown, and the city was dotted with glittering, sharply peaked temples.
We quickly peeled off our wintry Japan layers in the stifling immigration line. This was by far our worst immigration experience — three hours slowly shuffling through an incredibly full and incredibly hot room stuffed to the gills with impatient tourists.
Occasionally we were transfixed by some unlucky soul being escorted to the quarantine room that loomed ominously to our left.
Eventually we got through, past hordes of excited Chinese and American tourists, and emerged triumphant into the steaming March weather.
Hopping into a taxi, we sped along the high expressway into the city.
By the time we arrived at The Atlanta forty minutes later, I felt more familiar with the face of recently lost King Bhumibol Adulyadej than my own. Memorials to the king dotted billboards and lifesize gold framed portraits were hung from the buildings.
Unassuming, adorned with signs that can only be described as understated (aside from their infamous “Sex Tourists Not Welcome” placard) and at the end of a long soi (alley) off busy Sukhumvit Road, it’s a serious challenge for taxi drivers. But step inside, and suddenly you’re in the ‘20s, or the ‘50s, or a ‘50s vision of the ‘20s. Adorable art deco signs dot the stylish lobby, a sweeping stairway leads up to the rooms, and a little library full of books written by guests is down the hall.
Kate waits for pad Thai
The Atlanta restaurant
The gardens, which were described to us by a very friendly pint-sized Dutch boy as “So beauuuuutiful!”, are lush and jungly, populated by turtles and cats, and full of winding paths, little benches, and what they claim was the first hotel pool in Thailand. The rescue turtles, also introduced to us by the aforementioned Dutch boy, lounge languorously in the ponds.
It’s also a “budget club,” which means it’s cheap, provides lots of amenities, and of course, being a regular here is aspirational. But really, you should just go look at their website. It’s hilarious.