TYPE: Guest House
RESERVATIONS: Strongly Encouraged, Especially During High Season (Dec. to Mar.)
ROOM TYPES: 22 Rooms in 5 Different Buildings. 9 Studio Style, 8 Separate Bedroom, 2 Budget, 1 Apartment, 1 Private Room and 1 Condo Unit. Configurations and Square Meters/Feet Vary.
RATES: 400 to 800 Baht (Approximately $12.50 to $25.00) Per Night Depending on Room Style and High/Low Season Rate. Monthly Rates Also Available but Do Not Include Electricity and Water. Prices as of Jan. 9, 2014.
PAYMENT: Cash & Credit Card via PayPal
LOCAL PHONE #: 038-720-946 During Business Hours, 086-575-4966 After Business Hours (Dave, Owner & English Speaker)
ROOM SERVICE: Available via Canterbury Tales Café During Business Hours
LOCATION: See Map Below
View Canterbury Tales Cafe, Bookstore & Guest House in a larger map
Lodging — Your Vacation’s Money Pit
Besides airfare, where you sleep is typically going to factor in to a large portion of your travel budget and will tremendously encroach on your vacation spending money. Most people spend 8 to 12 hours a day in their room and most of that is sleeping. Even though that equates roughly to a half day, you’re paying for a full day. Dollar for dollar, hour for hour this is a lot of money for very little use unless you’re the type of person who loves to lay out by the hotel pool, eat and drink at the hotel restaurants and bars or have room service delivered.
In these cases perhaps your money is well spent. But if you’re like me and look at your room as simply a place you’re paying to sleep, shower and store your things safely then a hotel is not the best option. Hotel prices can vary immensely based on factors such as:
- Room Size
Many travelers choose a slightly lower grade option by staying at a motel or budget hotel that typically have fewer niceties than a hotel but have a lower price. A Bed & Breakfast may come to mind for some, but these places are typically priced similarly to budget hotels or motels with the nicer ones in the hotel price range. Younger travelers likely are familiar with hostels, but if you’re out of the college age bracket you may feel slightly out of place at these establishments.
In the end, most people think that these are the only options available and either splurge on a nice hotel that has everything they’re looking for or they opt for an always disappointing budget or lower end hotel/motel.
The Guest House — Not a Hotel/Motel, B&B or Hostel
An often overlooked lodging option when traveling is the guest house. A guest house is like the forgotten middle child of places to stay. I’d place it right between a hotel and a hostel. You typically won’t have as many services or amenities like a hotel has, but you also don’t have the rules, regulations and sometimes shared sleeping/bathroom conditions that a hostel may have.
Guest houses can range from very nice to borderline terrible and everything in between. Typically they are not clustered in to one area like hotels. You can find guest house nestled in the same areas as 4 and 5 star name brand hotels, right in the heart of the action or slightly off the beaten path. They are usually owned and operated by independent proprietors and the rooms are often larger than any hotel room at 50% to 75% less cost per night. Guest houses feel much more like homey apartments rather than a hotel. Some basic things I expect when staying at a guest house are:
- A private, decent sized, secure and clean room with full bathroom
- Shower with hot water
- Cable TV and WiFi
- Air-conditioner and/or fan (depending on climate)
- Basic towels and bedding
- Cleaning service every 2 to 3 days
It’s important to remember that guest house lodging is not the same as a hotel but it should have more faculties than a hostel. It is a basic set up and the niceties and degrees of services varies from owner to owner. Do not expect an elevator, front desk, bellmen, concierge, phone, mini-bar, soap, shampoo or any other hotel-related types of amenities. Guest house rooms are sometimes located in nondescript buildings such as Canterbury Tales Guest House.
Review of Canterbury Tales Guest House
There are many guest houses available in Pattaya, Thailand. I chose Canterbury Tales as my place to stay since it was close to an area I enjoy staying near, price per night and overall good reviews I’d read about from similar minded travelers. This was my second stay at this establishment and my third booking will take place in February of 2014.
Safety & Security
This is my first and foremost concern. I was the victim of a robbery on a trip to Pattaya a few years ago. I was staying at what I thought was a safe hotel, yet an intruder was able to enter my room while I was away and steal my laptop. Sadly this was not the first or last incident at this hotel. The rooms at Canterbury Tales are located in 5 non-descript buildings that do not have signs. The entrances are secure and discreet. There are no guards, elevators or front desk. In the building I stayed in the door leading up to the rooms is secured with a magnet locking system that opens with a key card. The hallway leading to the stairs up to the rooms was equipped with security cameras.
Room 201 Layout — Split Level Studio Style
After checking in at the bookstore I was led down the road for about 2 minutes with one of the workers who helped me with my bag. Upon entering the room I was pleasantly surprised at how large it was; more than twice the size of a hotel room.
The layout was a split level design. Directly to the right was the refrigerator, kitchenette area and bathroom. Just up one stair to the second level was the king sized bed, nightstand, flat screen TV, DVD player, dresser, and shelving holding the microwave, kettle and various reading materials and menus for food delivery. There was also a 3 speed standing fan in lieu of a ceiling fan.
Also on this level was a separate sitting area that included a sofa, coffee table, two chairs, a large cabinet with more drawers, a small electronic safe (properly installed) and another small mirrored sitting area.
Despite all of these items there was still plenty of space and nothing seemed cluttered at all. There were 4 small sliding windows, 2 of which that opened (also locked), had screens and looked out on to the main road. Rooms facing this road may be too loud for some individuals, but I can sleep through most anything.
Some rooms also have balconies, but I tend to stay away from these as I’ve found sliding glass doors in Asia are not secure and can easily be lifted off the track allowing entry from the outside despite being locked.
Kitchenette & Bathroom
The kitchenette is basically just a sink and cabinet outside of the bathroom. A few plates, plates and silverware are included. The medium sized refrigerator nearby is empty but there are plenty of mini-markets nearby so you can stock up on what you like yourself.
The bathroom is of fair size. There’s a sink with cold water only, mirror and some shelving. The shower has a hot water heater and the pressure is good but the hot water didn’t get as hot as I would have preferred, but it was hot enough for a shower and shave.
The one downside in most bathrooms I’ve encountered in South East Asia is the lack of a containment area for the shower water. Once you shower, the entire bathroom floor remains wet. This can be slippery and messy if you don’t dry the floor or let it dry naturally. Neither of these are good options as you don’t have enough towels to dry the floor plus high humidity and lack of ventilation make for long natural drying times. I’ve also noticed that faucets are usually not connected securely to the sink. I’m not sure why this is, but these are small annoyances that I can overlook for the price per night.
- Free WiFi – In my visits I’ve found the WiFi to be very stable, a solid signal and relatively fast. This can change day to day in countries like Thailand but I’ve never had an issue in the buildings I’ve stayed in at Canterbury Tales.
- Air Conditioner – Each room’s air conditioner I’ve stayed in has worked well. Even though the electricity is turned off when you leave the units cool down the rooms very quickly once you return.
- Bed – The mattress is on the very firm to hard side. In my experiences outside of name brand hotels this is fairly standard in Asia.
- Management – You may not even meet Dave on your stay, but he is readily available to take care of any issues you may have via cell phone and texts. During my stays I’ve run into several small issues that were resolved quickly and efficiently simply by texting Dave who dispatched his workers to attend to my problems.
- Cable – The channel selection is good, but if you only speak English it’s limited to an extent. Many channels are in Thai. There’s plenty of news and sports stations (showing mostly games like curling, soccer, cricket, etc.) but very few entertainment/movie channels in English. In my stays I think I’m watching 2 or 3 channels total.
- Food & Snacks – There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and safe street carts available 24/7 in the surrounding area as well as many that will deliver to your room. There are also numerous 7-Elevens and Family Mart stores where you can buy just about everything you need to stock your room with snacks and drinks.
The video below gives you a good idea of the size, style and layout of the room.
Canterbury Tales Guest House has been in operation since 2009 and the rooms are often booked months in advance. There is good reason for this. Dave and his staff run a clean, efficient and fairly priced guest house. In my opinion it is one of the best run guest houses I’ve stayed at and a great value for the money. The location is fantastic and you’re less than 10 minutes away via Baht bus from the main attractions in Pattaya like TukCom Mall, Central Festival Mall, Walking Street, Pattaya Beach and Baht buses to Jomtien. You’re steps away from Soi LK Metro which is a lively area with many bars and restaurants.
If you’re heading to Pattaya on a budget and haven’t ever stayed in a guest house I would highly recommend checking out these often overlooked establishments. You might find that these types of lodgings are more suited for your travel accommodations and Canterbury Tales would be a great first experience for you if it’s not fully booked.