PHUKET: Two friends stayed at the On On a few years back when you needed a padlock on the door, just to be sure about security. Phuket Town was not exactly trendy then.
The pair played drums to each other on the wooden wall between their rooms until other guests complained quite loudly.
Phuket has reason to be grateful that the old hotel, which could have been replaced with something far less charming, has been restored and given a new lease on life.
These days, Phuket Town is becoming trendier by the day and The Memory at On On Hotel is at the centre of a 21st Century buzz for the old town's grace and style. Within walking distance are a handful of great restaurants, the fresh market and the bus station.
The remake at the On On deserves top marks for clever use of louvred windows, distressed walls and bright colors in all the right places. It evokes bygone eras in just the right way, while updating the plumbing.
The rooms are functional and neat, with maximum attention to the bed. The rest? Well, it's neat and appealing enough. Plenty of areas throughout the hotel are designed for sitting and relaxing.
There are still dormitory rooms for four or six people travelling together and breakfast is not buffet but table service. Some people like this idea, others do not.
Two friends who stayed there recently without drumming on the walls thought the table service was traditional and in keeping with the restoration, coming with a choice of dim sum, western or Thai food.
As Phuket's first hotel, opened in 1929, the On On pioneered the island as a destination for travellers. Our only wish is that more of Phuket's grand old buildings could be saved for posterity with such attention to detail.
The Memory at On On Hotel, 19 Phang Nga Road, Phuket Town. Tel: 076 363700. e: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Memory at On On Hotel is a contender for Phuketwan Phuket Resort of the Year 2014. As reviewers do not stay at the resorts, the review is a guide to look and design, not service.