Blog : Uthai Thani

Uthai Heritage Hotel: From Old Schoolhouse to Boutique Hotel off the Beaten Path

Uthai Heritage Hotel: From Old Schoolhouse to Boutique Hotel off the Beaten Path

/ Uthai Thani, Thailand /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Courtesy of Supergreen Studio /

Like going back in time, a new boutique hotel has opened in beautiful small town Uthai Thani, one of the last few unspoiled places in the countryside. Named “Uthai Heritage”, it’s an off-the-beaten-track place of accommodation nestled in a peaceful neighborhood untouched by urban development.

Uthai Heritage Hotel

Formerly the home of “Uthai Withayalai School”, the property was tastefully renovated as a boutique hotel in a class of its own. It was meant to be an alternative travel destination for those wishing to escape the popular tourist traps. An amazing hidden place people often miss, Uthai Thani lies to the north of Kanchanaburi and west of Nakhon Sawan, a major city 250 km north of Bangkok.

Uthai Heritage Hotel

By way of introduction, the school was fully operational from 1957 until 1995. The difficulties that ensued from a decline in economic activity and environmental neglect resulted in it gradually falling into disrepair. But the owner was determined to keep the two-story buildings on the property in working order by checking and repairing regularly.

The owner felt a sentimental attachment to the wooden schoolhouse. After everything has changed, he thought it wise to give it a complete makeover, transforming it into a boutique hotel. In a way, it contributed significantly to the preservation of the historic identity of his neighborhood and, at the same time, attracted new tourists to the area by providing affordable hotel accommodations.

It was a metamorphosis of purpose that saw most of the classrooms transform into hotel rooms while others were remade as reception halls and venues for social activity, including a café and nearby cozy swimming pool.

Uthai Heritage Hotel

Uthai Heritage Hotel

Architecturally speaking, the renovation project was thoughtfully devised to ensure the old wooden structure remained intact. At the same time, a solid framework of steel was added for long-term strength and durability performance.

Uthai Heritage Hotel

To showcase the small town’s history and cultural identity, old building parts were kept in perfect conditions, including door and window shutters as well as the old school flagpole and the signboard at the front. At the same time, they were meticulous about making the strengthening structure and materials fit right in with the original wooden buildings.

Uthai Heritage Hotel

Uthai Heritage Hotel

The overall effect is impressive. For increased privacy and soundproof qualities in the rooms, the walls are built of brickwork and plastered to form a neat, smooth surface. The new boutique hotel boasts the simplicity of a U-shaped floor plan with lush green lawns at the center hemmed in by native plants and well-designed corridors and connecting spaces.

Time has left its imprint. A friendly message on the stairway wall calls to the mind fond memories of old school days.

Uthai Heritage Hotel

Because heritage matters, the old flagstaff remains where it has always been as storytelling artifact. Where necessary, new units of construction are added to the existing building plan to support and facilitate new business operations. They include new hotel rooms and hallways providing access to places on the premises.

Uthai Heritage Hotel

Uthai Heritage Hotel

Uthai Heritage Hotel
Parts of the original framework are preserved for their power of historic and cultural storytelling.

It’s a comfortable place, allowing people to feel relaxed and at home. Air conditioning is there, although it’s used very little by guests who prefer reconnections with nature and the sound effect produced by rain and leaves rustling in the breeze. If a journey in time is your cup of tea, you’ve come to the right place.

Uthai Heritage Hotel
Like a journey through time, the U-shaped schoolhouse transforms in to an attractive boutique hotel with lush green lawns hemmed in by native plants.

Uthai Heritage Hotel

Architect: Supergreen Studio

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Four Tropical Houses Combined into a Resort in Tranquil Living

Four Tropical Houses Combined into a Resort in Tranquil Living

  Uthai Thani, Thailand /

 / Story: Wuthikorn Sut / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Damrong Leeviroj, Xaroj Phrawong /

Saving every tree on the property” is the motto from this resort owner. Studio Miti designed these tropical houses that blend in with the forest, as architecture that fuses modern and traditional Thai tropical living styles.

The house-on-stilts design allows nature to permeate and ensures good air circulation. Plenty of under-floor spaces allow small vegetation to thrive.

At a glance, the houses conjure up images of little houses in the big woods. Four beautiful and tranquil tropical houses are nestled in a surrounding forestland of northwestern Uthai Thani.

This house-becomes-hotel is the brainchild of the owner, Chantita and Paisan Kusonwatthan. They started re-growing and restoring the area some thirty years ago. Later when development began in earnest in 1996, the area was meant to be their retirement home.

Through hard work and dedication, the property grew to become a lush woodland full of vitality. It gave rise to the idea of opening it to the public.

Now the post-retirement project becomes a resort, appropriately named “Bansuan Chantita.Bansuan is Thai for garden home.



The architect of the project, Prakij Kanha of Studio Miti, explains:

“First and foremost, we set out to save every tree on the property. It is our duty and responsibility to find common ground between nature and architecture.”

In the design process, the architect took great pains to measure every space among the trees. The average area was then used as the basis for designing homes on the property.

Only after that did the design team begin work on the design concept. The project took the form of a “plus” symbol as its layout.

The tropical living house design and remain Thai lifestyle by design terrace in front of the house.

“The plus symbol plans fit in well amongst the trees. The result was perfect harmony between architecture and the existing natural environment. The design scheme was about putting together five rooms, all of which are easily accessible from the central court,” explained Prakij.

“The four homes come complete with wood decks, seating spaces, bedrooms, and bathrooms. The house-on-stilts design keeps them elevated from the forest floor.

“Each home is set at a different level to promote good air circulation through the hotel property. It is the different level design that creates an enchanting aesthetic.”

All living spaces are designed to be proportionate with one another in size, amount, and frequency of use. Different spaces are designed with different needs in mind.


The design scheme calls for the four tropical houses to be conveniently linked by a system of wood passageways winding through the lush botanical garden setting. From the outside in, the resort looks and feels like it is an inextricable part of the forest in the backdrop.

By emulating the Thai-style design, the architect ensures that no space goes to waste. Small vegetation thrives on the forest floor below. Crisp, cool breezes are ever present, and nature permeates everywhere.

Inspired by the Thai-style house design, the wood deck provides a lot of nature at the doorsteps and easy access to all parts of the hotel.

The house’s exterior walls and outdoor decks are made of recycled wood. The preference was based on two reasons.

First, it was a smart move because the price was right. Second, it creates a warm and enchanting atmosphere in the midst of nature.

Recycled wood still shows signs of use, while painted surfaces in a variety of colors serve as camouflage clothing that blends in with the surroundings.



The owners, Paisan and Chantita, on the wood deck of their little homes in the big tropical  woods

Somehow it is the roofing made of steel sheets that often go unnoticed. Asked why he chose steel over other roofing materials, the architect said:

“If boats made of steel can float on water, likewise roofs crafted of steel can effectively keep the weather out.

“Steel construction is expedient especially where roofing is composed of multiple parts. Such is the case here.”


What makes these tropical houses stand out is the understanding of nature and the knowledge to incorporate it into the design scheme. The garden paradise is an escape into nature.


Owner: Chantita and Paisan Kusonwatthan.

Architect: Prakij Kanha of Studio Miti (