Bangkok’s Infamous Motel Transforms Into A Hip Street Hotel

If this hotel were the setting of a movie or series, it would be a post-apocalyptic dystopian fortress anytime between the 1930s and Y2K. The cast comprises a mixed-age group of mid- to upper-class survivors navigating the new world after it was nearly wiped out by [insert disease or government disaster here, as I haven’t decided].

Samsen Street Hotel’s courtyard has a pool and theater.

Nightly movies start at 6pm. Netflix and splash, anyone?
Entrance along Samsen Road. This red light district spot was a love motel before it was flipped into the Samsen Street Hotel.
The hotel intentionally left ample space for street vendors and mobile food stalls to set up shop during their events and parties.

Pale pastel green scaffolding and gray cement plaster make up most of the hotel’s architecture, from the bedboxed exteriors to indoor fixtures such as balustrades and exposed pipeworks. The place gives off a vintage-meets-modern industrial feel. I can imagine my movie characters getting in and out of the entrance using complex analog locks while looking over their shoulders. Only the strong and fast are allowed to get in and out of the place, while the remaining residents are entertained by the common pool, courtyard theater, restaurant, game rooms, and endless nooks furnished with upcycled materials. The metal elements bolted to the building keep it from being penetrated by the bad guys or monsters.

The mobile chairs and tables can be moved around to make room for food carts and performers.

Resto entrance. Featured on the wall is a map of the neighborhood.
Breakfast buffet at the indoor section of the restaurant

Snapping you back to reality: Samsen Street Hotel is an award-winning hotel designed by Chat Architects, who was inspired by construction workers’ houses. The four-storey hotel features rough balconies and common spaces fashioned from scaffolding. Each room has a balcony, which will give you a view of either Samsen Street or the pool and theater. Each stair landing overlooks the courtyard.

Checked-in guests can have their free breakfast buffet at Samsen Restaurant on the ground floor. You may also order food from the resto and have it delivered wherever you are in the hotel—the poolside tables, sunbeds, or mobile outdoor lounges.

Kate was here. Check out the retro-meets-industrial style lobby.


There are plenty of nooks and spaces to hang out at the hotel. You’ll almost forget that there’s a bustling Bangkok street life just minutes away.
The light pastel green color scheme is inspired by Samsen’s nearby shophouses.

Oh what fun: Follow the dotted lines to your designated room number!
You’ll find the mapped-out dotted lines in the lobby and hallways of the hotel.

I recommend you book one of the balcony rooms. Just open your window and dangle your feet while watching fellow guests come in and out of the courtyard, or watch the nightly movies projected at the outdoor theater. For a fun experience, have your food delivered to you at the balcony via the vertical pulley system.

Fun fact for those who didn’t grow up near Bangkok’s Samsen Soi 6 neighborhood: For 47 years this spot was a sex motel, complete with curtained parking spots attached to the dark rooms for couples sneaking in anonymously.

I booked the superior twin room overlooking the street. I realized I should have specifically requested the balcony facing the pool and courtyard, which gives you the full Samsen Street Hotel experience.

Four-star amenities with trendy boutique hotel elements
The day bed can serve as a separate bed for your kid or another guest.

The original structure was flipped and transformed into a street hotel that’s lively enough to brighten up the neighborhood, close enough to Khao San Road and other tourist spots, but tucked well enough to be considered a quiet hotel.

The hotel is rated four-star, but I can’t call it that in the strict sense. While they offer mostly private rooms, they also have dormitory rooms for the budget backpacker, and you can spot them hanging their laundered clothes on the balcony or strumming their guitars while you’re lounging at the pool.

Spicy lunch by the pool

This novel vertical pulley system delivers food to balconies.
View of the courtyard from the fourth floor

They have fun activities, from occasional street parties to nightly movie screenings reminiscent of the hostel scene. The restaurant and rooms are big enough to be considered four-star, but with quirky elements similar to boutique hotels. As for the clientele, it’s a mix of families, couples, backpackers, and flashpackers like myself who want a hotel that’s both social and quiet.

Samsen Street Hotel is located at Samsen Road, Ban Phan Thom, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.