There aren't many hotels in Kalasin. Since this review I've discovered Phaiboon Place, which has some good feedback. it's much newer than the Rimpao but the Rimpao is close to my wife's home so we tend to stay there.
You'll have to excuse the the lack of room pictures in this review. I didn't have time, so you will have to take my word on that aspect of this review until I grab some more on my next visit.
Let's do this…
Situated about 10 minutes drive from the centre of town, the Rimpao Hotel is very well located. You might argue it could be closer to Kalasin centre, but then you have shops close by if you need them and there isn’t anything I can think of in the town you will need to be close to, unless people you are visiting need you to be there.
There is a massive Tesco that is walkable from the hotel too. And if you drive 5 minutes down the road to Baan Koksri there is a Tesco Express.
You'll more than likely be travelling in a car to local places of interest, and the hotel is nicely situated on the major road you'll need to join to get to surrounding towns.
The rate on the website is the rate you will get at the desk, 1,000 Baht for a single room, 1,100 for a twin room, which means 2 beds NOT pushed together.
You'll need to upgrade to the suite for the luxury of a double bed, which is 4,000 Baht per night – I wasn’t paying that for a rural hotel with 70s’ décor.
The price does include breakfast. Checkout is 2pm, which suits me nicely and is something I wish city-based hotels would implement instead of the 10am/12pm standard.
The Grounds & The Building
The Rimpao Hotel is set in large grounds with pretty trees and well kept green areas. You enter the grounds over a small bridge, under which runs a quaint but sometimes dry river. It looks very grand as you roll up, and the imposing building is an unexpected architectural treat.
One thing you'll notice immediately is how well kept everything is and how well presented and spacious the grounds feels. A simple walk around or even a chill on the steps outside the hotel is in itself a very peaceful outing.
The lobby is lovely. It's huge and adorned with classic furniture. The design keeps it lovely and cool, which is perfect for sitting down reading a paper or answering some emails. The lobby has two computers for guests in case you don't have your laptop.
70s’ looking it might be, but the room certainly was clean. The huge window bay offered a beautiful view of the pool in the morning too – make sure you request a pool-facing room as the other side isn't much to look at. The bed was firm, and I must say, for someone that doesn’t often sleep well in hotels, I slept like a baby.
You get a full UBC package showing international football, films and soaps, a minibar with very reasonably priced drinks and room service up until 12am, carrying a broad selection of meals and snacks.
The bathroom was clean and the shower very powerful – take care in getting the right temperature before you jump in, the hot water is very hot! You also have a deep bath for a long-soak after a day out in the sun.
Not bad, but nothing like you'd find in a 5 star hotel. It could have been worse though, and to be fair the selection provides something for everyone. Here's a quick rundown of what to expect:
- Thai rice soup (with pork)
- Thai curry
- Thai vegetables
- Scrambled egg
- Fried eggs
- Toast – jam, marmalade and butter for spreads
- Orange Juice
- Fruit – Watermelon/pineapple/dragon fruit
Lunch & Dinner
You can pretty much have the same food for lunch as dinner. I had mixed vegetables with tofu and steamed rice for lunch and dinner twice (non-meat eater). That said, in truth the Thai food wasn’t all that impressive. if you're looking for the real deal I would venture out to a roadside gaff or go into town.
The dining room is made very pleasant in the evening with entertainment from local singers singing Isaan and Thai songs. Perhaps the best treat of all was that they sell Campari! Always a nice evening tipple.
As I said, the singers in the dining room were pretty good, and their enthusiasm certainly deserves a pay rise. I was one of about seven people in there on a peak night and they still put on a good show.
There's a disco venue on site that runs throughout the year, which will come as a blessing for some considering Kalasin doesn’t have much in the way of nightlife (closed at present).
There's also a massage service downstairs and a poolroom and bar.
The Swimming Pool
The pool is well worthy of its own section in this review because of its epic size.
Complete with a smaller pool sectioned off for kids, the Olympic, or thereabouts, sized pool is clean and surrounded by pleasant trees, plants and tables to lounge on. I really was shocked by the size of the pool, and boy do you have the weather in April for swimming in Isaan.
The pool, along with the traditional north eastern decor in the lobby, is the standout feature of the hotel. It's a real rare find up these parts and something a number locals pay to use after 4pm.
Absolutely no complaints on this front. The reception staff is very friendly and all have a decent command of English. The porters were helpful and the restaurant staff extremely pleasant. What the hotel lacks slightly in modernity it certainly makes up for in smiles and great service.
All in all I had a great stay at the Rimpao Hotel, and I will certainly stay there again. The location is great, the service is good, it's a nice place to chill, and unless a brand new hotel with a rival pool is built in the future, I won't be scouting out alternative accommodation when visiting Kalasin again.
If the Rimpao upgraded the breakfast slightly, perhaps added in some cereal options, brown bread and other bits n bobs, and perhaps carried out a slight refurbishment on the room and corridor décor, the place would really benefit.
But it's not bad and nothing annoyed me about the hotel. One must also consider that they probably don’t get anywhere near as busy as a big city hotel, and therefore I doubt if the budget permits much renovation.
The price of the standard rooms is fair, but the bigger rooms are way too expensive in my opinion.
The hotel is a great asset to a beautiful town full of wonderful people. I am a fussy fellow when it comes to hotels, yet I was pleasantly surprised to find a hotel like this in a small north eastern town.