Shandelle Battersby checks in to one of Bangkok's oldest hotels — and the set of Lawrence Arabia's music video for Another Century — The Atlanta Hotel.

Getting there:

Taxis still reign supreme in Bangkok when it comes to airport transfers because it's quite a haul into the city. We arrived about 9pm so in this case it was best to travel on the taxi's meter and pay the tolls ourselves. To the hotel it was roughly 400 baht (about $18.50), which included the airport fee for the driver of 50 baht. If you fancy braving public transport, the hotel is near the Ploenchit BTS Skytrain stop, which connects with the Airport Rail Link.

Check-in experience: Friends and I have been staying at The Atlanta for years and walking into its original 1950s lobby is like coming home to Mama. We were offered a welcome drink and had a quick supper at onsite restaurant, Ah!, before climbing the four flight of curved stairs to Floor D and hitting the sack.


History: Built in in the 1950s by Dr Max Henn, The Atlanta has a storied history and is very proud of its anti-sex tourism, anti-drugs and anti-smoking stance, as large signs everywhere constantly remind you. The hotel is also proudly the home of Thailand's first hotel pool, which is open 24 hours and ideal at the end of a steamy Bangkok day. It's surrounded by a rockery and jungle-like garden with its own population of turtles. Fans of Kiwi popster Lawrence Arabia may recognise the hotel — and the turtles — as this was the setting for his music video Another Century.

Room: They are spartan but clean and spacious. Ours had air-conditioning, two deliciously hard double beds and a basic en suite. We overlooked the busy expressway but there is a bewildering line-up of room types (12 in total) so you can choose to stay on the other side of the hotel.

Price: About $25 per night each. This is why we keep returning. Bookings were only accepted by fax until recently; these days you can book online. Note that you can't pay ahead or by credit card.

What's so good about this place? Its charm, the price, the location (the cheap and convenient BTS Skytrain is so close and the main malls are within walking distance if you fancy a sweat), the onsite restaurant and the pool. It's also home to several rescue cats and one dog.

And the bad? Nana, the red-light district, is the next neighbourhood over so if you're out exploring, chances are you may encounter the seedier side of Bangkok.

Toiletries: BYO everything, though this time there was a cheap bar of soap.

Food and drink: Ah! has a large, cheap menu of Thai vegetarian dishes as well as Western food.

Exercise facilities: There is a small gym, which I actually saw someone walk out of on this visit; Personally, I'd go for a few laps in the pool and hiring a bike if I were you.


Wi-Fi: Yes, pretty good too.

Perfect for: A cheap, cheerful and memorable stay for not much baht in the heart of Bangkok. As they say on their website, "If you understand what The Atlanta is all about, you will love it! If you look upon The Atlanta as just a place to stay, you will miss the point!"