I must have stayed at this guesthouse at least about 10 to 12 times over the last 9 years. Since I am in the habit of renting a car in Thailand, I often use it to sleep the first and final nights, thus avoiding Bangkok. The first time, I stumbled across it by chance having noticed some German tourists relaxing reading a book at wooden tables which were placed in front of the guesthouse at that time. My reason for returning was the wife of the couple who ran the place. She always made me feel so welcome and always gave me a discount of at least 100 Baht and usually placing me in the VIP room. The guesthouse has around 18 large, clean rooms with spacious bathrooms and satellite TV, but no wifi. Rooms have both ceiling fans and aircon. There also used to be a small restaurant on site and bus/train timetables were available plus information about tours. The place has its own private covered car park.
The place had deteriorated over the years, but it took a real blow in the Auythaya floods of 3-4 years ago when the water went a third of the way up the walls and destroyed all the beds and much of the furniture. The place resembled something of a war zone during my visit following the floods, but good progress is now being made bringing back some normality. However, it is difficult to locate unless you know where it is. There is no sign for the guesthouse proper from the main road, but there is a defaced one (damaged in the floods, no doubt) on another street. Few foreigners stay at the guesthouse and, except for my very first visit, I don't recall bumping into any on subsequent occasions.
Since the floods, prices have come down. A fan room is now priced 250 Baht and an aircon room 350 Baht although the aircon is not efficient in all rooms. However, it is still something of a bargain. It is probably best taking rooms 4 and 5 since these used to be the VIP ones, although they no longer resemble their previous glory. Room 3 is also ok, except for the aircon.
I am not sure whether the business may have changed hands recently as I have not seen the wife for about 3 years and even their teenage children who used to occupy room 18 and play video games on the computer are no longer there either.
The guesthouse does have good potential though.
I can't help but wonder how anyone could give this place a good review. Maybe some people have lower standards. If I can't get anything approaching a decent night's sleep, though, there
is a problem. I've slept better on crowded airplanes.
We arrived in Ayutthaya planning to stay at the Baan Lotus Guest House. It was off-season, so we assumed we could arrive without reservation. We were wrong. It was full. (The Baan Lotus is a lovely place, by the way.) The owner recommended Sunrise Place and even called. The operator of Sunrise Place was at the Baan Lotus in 5 minutes to pick us up. Well, we should have never gotten in the car.
The Sunrise Place is awful. The room itself was clean, but that’s the only good thing I can say about the place. My biggest complaint is that it is immediately next to a pool hall. The only way to drown out the constant sounds of balls smacking other balls and the mumble of voices all night was to crank up the AC and fan. The room got cold, so we turned the stuff off only to be overwhelmed by the pool hal sounds again. A decent place would have at least had an extra blanket in the room. This place only had the flimsy bedspread.
The noise and our chilled response was bad enough, but to make matters worse our pillows were hard as bricks. They literally wouldn’t conform to our heads! I don’t even know how you can make a pillow so hard.
Breakfast was a rip-off. We had two great meals the night before in a restaurant at the Hau Ra Night Market for 80 baht total. A plate of scrambled eggs, a slice of cold ham, three tiny “sausages” (mini hot dogs), toast and coffee was 90 baht! Our two breakfasts came to 210 baht, nearly three times the total for our dinner the night before.
The Sunrise Place is also not well located, especially for a town where tuk-tuks tend to stay on the main drags. It’s one thing to be wandering around in the daytime, but something else to be walking on dark streets at night hoping a tuk-tuk will pass – and one doesn’t.
Bottom line:this place is not worth the 600 baht.
Sunrise Place is the ground floor of an apparently unused shopping centre. It does not have the position that attracts passers-by, and if you walk or ride past the little shopping mall in front of it, you could easily miss it. Even many "tuk-tuk" drivers don't know it, at least by its English name.
How do you find it? Ask the driver to bring you where the air-conditioned buses and vans leave for Bangkok. Start walking back toward the city hall, passing the 7-11. The turning is on your left : if you are lucky, you will notice the yellow sign in English at ground level. Turn left, pass the steak restaurant on your left ("Steaks, Thai Food") in English and go straight into what looks like a parking garage. Keep going even when you think you are nowhere, and see a lot of old furniture, sewing machine, etc. At the left, you will see a reception desk. Straight on is the restaurant, with a little bar.
Once you can find Noi, who runs it, or Alec, her husband, you will be surprised. Their English is not perfect, but Alec is taking lessons and Noi can communicate: be patient and watch for slight misunderstandings. However, their hearts are in the right place and they will do anything to help you.
The rooms are on the ground floor, through a little corridor to the left. Inside you will find spotless air-conditioned rooms with colour cable TV, hot shower and own bathroom (sink and toilet), for B500 (about US$12.50): excellent value! Management also provide laundry service for B40 (US$1) per kilo: amazingly fast, and usually within the day.
The restaurant has typical cheap Chinese-Thai guest house fry-up (xxx fried rice or noodles) but watch for unique little surprises like "Spaghetti Noi" (my name, they call it "Spaghetti Thai Style") which is spaghetti with a nice Thai sauce (a little spicy but not too much) for about US$1, "American Fried Rice" which is fried rice with hot dogs, bologna, egg and a little chicken steak for about US$1.25, and "Sukiyaki" which is a kind of vegetable and rice noodle soup, with a hint of black pepper, for about US$1.25 plus rice. For vegetarians, there is sweet-and-sour vegetables with rice or "Kana Fried Rice" which is fried greens with rice, each at about B60 (US$1.50).
The Thai-Steak restaurant at the Naresuan Road entrance is also excellent, with western-style T-Bone Steak, Chicken Steak, Pork Steak, Bass Steak and Snapper Steak, and Pork or Chicken Barbecue. Each of these entrees, is priced less than B180 (US$4.40) (open-air restaurant, no decorations), and including salad and bread (mixed veg and french fries with the T-Bone), plus fizzy drink for B10 (US$0.25).
The area is very convenient: of course there are the buses or vans to Bangkok and a "tuk-tuk" terminal; but an it is an easy 5-minute walk into Ayutthaya City centre (Ayutthaya Hotel buffet lunch all you can eat for US$4 plus drink, local open market, Amporn Department Store and the local western fast food places KFC, McD, Swensons, and Pizza Company); with 7-11 and a Thai convenience store across from one another around the corner from Sunrise Place. You can also walk about 10 minutes (or hire a bicycle around the corner) to Phra Ram Park, a beautiful green respite for anyone coming out from Bangkok.