I walk past the gates of Baan Pra Nond and enter the peaceful surroundings of the estate named after its owner. The bustling sounds of Bangkok are left behind in the distance as I make my way through the garden fragrant with jasmine and orchids. It is like coming home.
Baan Pra Nond, one of Bangkok’s newest Bed & Breakfast boutique inns, offers a unique combination of charm, modern elegance and a distinctly colonial Thai flavor. The Inn is named after its original owner, Thai Supreme Court Judge Nondthapanya, and translated as ‘Home of Nondthapanya.’ The property dates back to more than seventy years ago where the Judge lived with his extended family.
Baan Pra Nond witnessed the modernization of Bangkok over the years. Canals in the surrounding areas were filled and replaced by roads and the BTS Sky Train, Bangkok’s Mass Transit System, was born. Oblivious to the changes in the city’s landscape, Baan Pra Nond continued to stand in its former grace.
A Blending of the Past with the Present
Over the years the property was forgotten as younger family members moved away. It was not until 2008 when Judge Nondthapanya’s granddaughter, Tasma Cotsmire, saw the property again with new eyes.
Tasma went to school in the United States. She returned to her native Thailand where she worked for an advertising company for nearly twelve years. A gifted artist and daughter of an architect mother, Tasma began to explore the possibility of converting her ancestral home to a Bed & Breakfast with a unique flavor.
Tasma realized that instead of the larger chain hotels, many travelers to Thailand were looking for more distinctive and personal accommodations. The idea of a Bed & Breakfast offering a true Bangkok home experience excited her.
Backed by her family’s support and encouragement, Tasma left her successful advertising career and took the first steps toward actualizing her dream. Preserving her ancestral home’s original Thai character and feel were important for Tasma. She was able to find the right architect who understood her vision and her desire to maintain the historic integrity of the home.
Working closely with the architect, Tasma directed every aspect of the remodeling process. “We agreed to keep the house as close to the original as possible. All that could be kept and reused we did, from the hard wood floors, windows, doors, some light fixtures and light switches,” she explains. Other details, such as the home’s original color scheme, have been maintained throughout the B&B. “All the paints, yellow exterior walls, light green interior walls and dark green windows and doors were faded, but we tried to match the colors as closely as possible,” Tasma elaborates. “Most of all, we had to keep in mind the usability and home-like feeling needed for a B&B.”
Since opening in 2009, Baan Pra Nond has earned the reputation as one of Bangkok’s most distinguished Bed & Breakfast Inns. Its accolades include being the recipient of The Award of Architectural Preservation in 2010 by the Association of Siamese Architects. It was also featured in the 2011 ‘LUXE Bangkok City Guide’ – a savvy travel guide recommending the hippest places to stay, dine and shop at in cities around the world.
Tasma’s attention to detail is evident throughout the restored estate. Each of the nine rooms has a different color scheme and is impeccably furnished with heirloom furniture. Rooms come with large baths, modern amenities and some open to lovely private balconies. One of the guest rooms has the original bed frame, wardrobe and powder table belonging to Tasma’s grandparents. Silk covered cushions and throw pillows, antiques and old family photos highlight Baan Pra Nond’s strong sense of place, evoking a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era. Combining the past with the modern, Baan Pra Nond gracefully fuses vintage with a modern chic sensibility.
Breakfast at Baan Pra Nond
Baan Pra Nond’s full gourmet breakfast reveals yet another creative side of Tasma. She makes it an interesting affair by serving up a different menu each morning. Through advance preparation and experimentation, Tasma has come up with several dishes with her special touch, including French toast with spiced pears, traditional Thai chicken rice porridge and pan eggs from Thailand’s eastern region. She also serves local fruits every morning – my personal favorites are rambutans, mangosteens and pomelos.
Tasma’s signature breakfast makes people want to return here for special occasions. The reputation of her savory breakfasts is spreading locally and she frequently gets requests for breakfast even from non-guests. “I’m no chef – I just enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. That’s how all the different dishes come about,” she says about her culinary talent.
Owners of Baan Pra Nond
What sets Baan Pra Nond apart from most places are the owners themselves. Tasma and her husband Jason love meeting new people from around the world. Being a Bangkok native, Tasma has an insider’s knowledge of the city, and she and her husband generously share this information with their guests.
Tasma and Jason can suggest itineraries depending on your mood for the day. They are happy to recommend their favorite restaurants, markets for great bargains, off-the-beaten path antique stores and spas for the best foot massages. Whether you fancy a boat ride through the canals of Bangkok, spending the day at the temples or a stroll through the flower market by night, Tasma and Jason help navigate their international guests through this labyrinthine city. Indeed it is their warm hospitality and genuine caring for their visitors which make any stay here memorable.
Baan Pra Nond is the perfect destination for the traveler who is looking for elegance, charm and local character combined with the warm comforts of home. The journey to this enchanting boutique inn will make your experience in Bangkok all the more worthwhile.