I had a love hate relationship with Hemingway’s, the restaurant on Soi 14 Sukhumvit – just a few steps away from Asok BTS station. I loved the building, the surrounding, the history of it all. What an amazing place to spend the early evening – on the patio or in the garden with a cool glass of beer of a 1920s colonial mansion. It made you feel like the perfect time-machine moment.
I didn’t care much for the service and the staff as it was very much geared to making money from expats and tourists who did not know any better. But I kept coming back to show my friends and visitors from overseas this magically beautiful old house in the midst of Bangkok’s business district. It was like an oasis of calm in the chaos.
When I rounded the corner the other day, I stopped in my tracks. Instead of the graceful, majestic old home of a French ambassador, there was a bunch of rubble and some construction equipment. The house had been completely destroyed and the trees have been pulled out of the earth respectlessly. Hemingway’s is no longer.
I read online that it had to make room for a new hotel – as if there were not enough hotels in Bangkok, let alone in the Asok area – because that would be more profitable for the owners than a restaurant.
There are no laws or building protection codes in Thailand, so land owners can do with their property whatever they want. Even tear down historic buildings that allowed a glimpse of times passed.
There is no point in crying over spilled milk, but it did make me sad and nostalgic that there is no regard for the old Bangkok.