Praya Palazzo Hotel’s History
History Hotel in Bangkok
Praya Palazzo is steeped in history, the beginnings of which date back to 1923. At that time, Bangkok had an influx of Italian artists arriving at work under the commission of King Rama V. Famous artists such as Galileo Chini and Carlo Rigoli worked on projects all around the city. Praya Chollabhumipanish – a noble of the Royal Court Custom Department – assigned to design and build the villa, was greatly influenced by these Italian artists. The original building called “Baan Bang Yee Khan” is typical of the Palladio architecture of this period. Located right on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, its position was ideal as an observation point for the owner’s customs duty as well as his home.
Praya Chollabhumipanish, his wife and their 10 children had many happy years in the villa. In 1946, when the main means of transportation changed from waterways to roads, the family moved to the Sukhumvit area, on the other side of the river. The house’s owner was then transferred to the Foundation for Muslim Community and it was turned into the Rachakarun School.
From being a house of a noble family to a school for children, “Baan Bang Yee Khan” still stood to offer warmth to the students, teachers, and borders without religious distinction. The school operated until 1978 when it closed due to financial difficulties. Five years later, the building became the Indara Vocational school until 1996.
After a decade falling into decay, the old Palladio attracted the attention of Assistant Professor Wichai Pitakvorrarat who had been looking at it from across the river for a long time. Convinced of its value, Khun Wichai teamed up with his wife to restore and renovate the building, in spite of the heavy cost of this enterprise. The flood damages, as well as the transportation issues, did not stop Khun Wichai; he believed in the importance of conservation and thoroughly used original materials and craftsmanship to finally reinstate the house’s former glory. ‘Praya Palazzo’ was brought back to life in 2009.
Praya Palazzo first opened its restaurant, which has received many praises among the Bangkok community since, and 2011 saw the first guests check-in at the residence