The Prince was one of Asia’s oldest cinemas. When the era of talkies came it rolled with the times, screening Hollywood lassics, but the onslaught of malls and multiplexes eventually took its toll, and the distinguished old theatre declined
into showing nudie films before finally giving up and locking its doors.
Its location probably saved the Prince from being demolished, crammed as it is on a small footprint of land amongst shophouses.
But still, we live in changing times. The rise of the budget airlines has caused a new breed of tourist to evolve, and consequently demand for a new kind of accommodation. Not hostels, exactly, but poshtels; and not backpackers, but posh backpackers, or flashpackers.
Once more the Prince Theatre has flickered back into life, this time as the Prince Theatre Heritage Stay Bangkok, with accommodation that runs from suites and duplex lofts, down to dormitory rooms. In keeping with the hotel’s heritage there is a cinema-style lobby, ancient projection equipment, screenings of classic movies, and even salsa dancing.
Elsewhere in Bangkok, old buildings that have outlived their original purpose but which for various reasons cannot be
knocked down are being converted into heritage hotels and poshtels.
Within a couple of minutes’ walk of the Prince Theatre stands The House of Phraya Jasaen, a boutique hotel formed out of seven old shophouses and offering a choice of thirty-two rooms and suites, including dormitory rooms suitable for families and flashpackers.
Phraya Jasaen was the great grandfather of the current owning family and had served as minister of the interior under Rama VI, the king bestowing upon him the land upon which the shophouses stand in recognition of his loyal service. The
renovation of the old property has left the ambience and many of the original features of the building intact.