Friday, June 25, 2010

Accommodations, Part 5: Om Yim Lodge

From the West side of the Chong Nonsi BTS station

Accommodation-wise there's something for everyone in the Land of Smiles; from Big Fancy Hotel folks to Khao San Road back packers. It all comes down to your sense of adventure and comfort level while exploring different places, really. While I enjoy the pamperings of a full-scale luxury hotel I always feel a little out of place, but a simple fan-only room with a shared bathroom along the hall is just a little too close to camping - even if it they can be found for 300 baht per night (or less). There's an introductory post about accommodations in Thailand here.

My personal preference is somewhere comfortable, but cozy; a place where I feel more like I'm visiting people I know when I come straggling in the door after a long day of being out in the heat and humidity. We've already covered two places that fill that bill - PJ's Place in Chiang Mai, and Baan Dok Mai in Pattaya.

This post is long overdue, but as I went through photos of past trips I let myself be distracted fooling with other images and didn't get enough pictures gathered together. Now I see I've got too many, but so it goes.

Om Yim Lodge (Om Yim means little smile) sits nestled in a row of businesses along Naratiwat Road, right below the Chong Nonsi BTS station. It's right about in the middle of the block between Silom and Sathorn Roads, making it a comfortable 10 to 15 minute stroll from the Patpong Night Market and the other assorted nightlife in the area. Being right at the Chong Nonsi station it's even quicker to take the BTS and go the one stop up the line to Sala Daeng.

Part of the dining room - with Note at the coffee cart out front

There are a couple of photos of Naratiwat Road in front of Om Yim in April 5th 's "Now THERE’S Something You Don’t See Every Day" post, and to get to the Silom area you'd be walking in the direction of the movie shoot I mentioned. If you went to the left at that intersection and up the stairs into the first complex you'd find Arena Massage. HIS Massage used to be there, but it's long gone - leaving only the lettering on the window. There's a March 27th post about my visit to HIS here.

So... now that we've established the desirable location for Om Yim - close enough to be convenient but far enough away to be quiet - let's talk about the Home Away From Home itself. The lodge consists of 13 rooms above the ground level dining area, a small internet set-up and a reading area - all in one large open area. The front windows face East, so it's warmly lit in the morning for breakfast and the morning papers. In the panorama above you can see Bert Gerbrands, the resident curmudgeon (a title I think he'd accept, being able to take it as well as dish it out with good humor) reading the paper, with Ying on the left, heading back behind the counter and who I believe is Ya at the lodge's reservation computer to the right.

Bert is a long-time friend of Om Yim owner Aek (below), and keeps busy helping oversee reservations, communication and day to day operations on a somewhat flexible schedule while he maintains his own business: the "Oh..Ho..." restaurant that we'll cover in a future post. For now suffice it to say it's worth your time to visit, also.

Aek, owner of Om Yim

A continental breakfast is included, but a more substantial one is only a bit more. Good lunches and dinners are also available, but why would you fly thousands of miles to sit in a hotel?

The kitchen (above) is kept neat and clean - something meaningful to anyone with an unpredictable digestive system while traveling - and the food has always been tasty as well as reasonable for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There's a large flat panel TV high on the end wall that they'll turn on if it isn't already so you can catch up with news of the real world while on vacation, if you really must. One nice feature is the coffee stand, normally doing business right out front but evenings serving from the check-in counter-slash-bar inside. An iced mocha is a welcome sight coming in from the late afternoon heat.

In addition to Bert and Aek there are a number of others you're liable to run into, and seeing familiar smiles is also nice each time I come back to Om Yim. There's Ya (now off at school, but may return - we can hope)...

... a very pregnant Koong (she's since had the baby) standing next to Note...

...and Ying, that I have usable photos of. Bank also runs many of the night shifts, but I don't have a picture of him (as well as a few others, sorry to say).

The rooms are simple, comfortable and kept clean and tidy on a reasonable schedule. There are a couple of examples below, with a photo of the second floor landing (remember when booking that the "first floor" is the one right above the ground level) and rooms I've stayed in. There is no elevator - or lift, to some of you - so while I had friends staying in what they said was a very nice room on the
fourth floor, I never went up to see it! There are also plenty of photos and info on their web site.

There's always good water pressure in the shower and the refrigerator has always been clean (and
quiet , for you lighter sleepers). Speaking of light sleepers it should be noted that the bright, sunny rooms on the front side of the lodge have double-paned windows and black-out curtains, so neither the morning sun or the BTS trains running above nearby are ever a bother.

Sitting area on the first floor landing (above the lobby)

Each room has an electronic safe, extra pillows, a hot water pot (and ingredients for coffee and tea), cable TV, wireless internet connectivity and good water pressure. Laundry service is also available at a reasonable rate. All this and two 7-11 stores just across the street. Go figure.

For a relaxed, casual place to stay you can't go wrong... unless you wait too long to make a reservation - it's popular and tends to fill in advance, so I'd advise against hoping for a last-minute booking (although it's worth a try before going somewhere else)!

Full night shot of the lodge from the BTS station (detail near top)

1 comment:

Ray Pinkerton said...

I have stayed at Om Yim a few times and can recommend it. Aek and Bert are great hosts and the staff are very friendly The food is really excellent and well priced too.