Five Best Hotels in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second major city, is Bangkok’s little Brother. However, as the development and modernization in Bangkok reaches almost breakneck speed, Chiang Mai defiantly refuses to let go of its rich history and traditions, molding it together with a dynamic, modern edge. Chiang Mai still relies on tourists as its main industry, but as the themes and architecture of Chiang Mai’s best hotels show, it does so without ever compromising its identity.

Our picks for the Top Five Hotels in Chiang Mai

The Four Seasons

The Chedi Chiang Mai

Shielded by a four storey bamboo wall, the Chedi creates a modern day Utopia right on the edge of the old city. It still has the old lanna spirit in the form of dome shaped lamps and tiered roofs, but the uniform arrangement and straight edges of its furniture takes its inspiration from contemporary design. If you stay in one of the top floor rooms, you will wake each morning to a wonderful view of the Mai Ping River.

Main facilities

  • 54 Deluxe Rooms
  • 32 Club Suites
  • 3 Lounges
  • 1 Bar
  • 1 Restaurant
  • Swimming pool
  • Spa
  • Health Club with Gym

Awards

  • Smart Travel Asia (top 25 hotel resorts in Asia
  • Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List Ranked second in Travel Advisor’s top luxury hotels in Thailand
  • Smart Travel Asia (Top 25 Leisure Hotels/Resorts in Asia).

Pros

Great location near the night market
Excellent service
Superb breakfast

Cons

Noisy location. Even after everyone has trundled home from the bars, you’ll hear the continuous croaking of frogs, and the occasional barking of a street dog.
Puts design before comfort.

The Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi

Mandarin Oriental, Chiang MaiStretching across this hotel’s 60 acres of land, some say the rice paddy fields and tropical gardens are too Disneyesque to feel truly authentic. Others disagree. They say that in a country dominated by its tourist industry the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi is about as real as you can get. Either way, when you are watching the sun set over the lake from the balcony of your colonial deluxe suite, it’s impossible to imagine you are anywhere else other than paradise.

Main facilities

  • 54 Colonial Suites
  • 64 Private Villas
  • 5 Opulent Residences
  • Fitness Center
  • Spa
  • Jogging Paths
  • Spa Academy (for training)
  • 4 Restaurants (Chinese, French, Thai/Lanna and breakfast/Sunday brunch)
  • 3 Bars
  • Bakery

Awards

  • Travel + Leisure Magazine, January 2013
  • Named as one of the Top 500 World’s Best Hotels
  • Condé Nast Traveler Gold List, January 2013
  • Included as one of the Best Hotels in the World for Amenities, Perks and Extras
  • Conde Nast Traveler, US – Readers’ Travel Awards, October 2012
  • Ranked # 11 in one of the top resort in Asia and The Indian Subcontinent
  • Honored in Trip Advisor’s Excellence award 2012, May 2012
  • The Robb Report 100 Resorts awards, May 2012
  • Voted as one of the top resort in Thailand
  • Travel + Leisure India & South Asia magazine’s inaugural India’s Best Awards 2012
  • Voted The Dheva Spa and Wellness Centre into the number one spot in the category of Best Destination Spa (World)
  • Travel + Leisure Magazine’s The World’s Best Hotels 2012 survey
  • Ranked # 2nd best in Asia and # 15th best in the world

Pros

Colonial Suite is excellent value
Huge area around the hotel to explore

Cons

Not so well maintained during low season
Varying quality of villas
Random design

Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel and Spa

Ping Nakara, Chiang MaiStep off the busy Thai street and through the doors of this elegant white building, and you’ll think you’ve arrived back in colonial times. Teak flooring, heavy velvet curtains and soft, lush sofas; even the the colorful silk hangings adorning the walls has something of the European collector about them. The owners of the Ping Nakara are so proud of it they have even published a book about its architecture and history. Perhaps you could read it as you stretch out by the pool with a cocktail.

Main facilities

  • 11 Grand Deluxe rooms
  • 8 Royal Grand Deluxe rooms
  • 1 Restaurant (Thai)
  • 1 Bar
  • Spa
  • Swimming Pool

Awards

  • The Gold Award for “‘Thematic Ideas and Culture”
  • The Silver Award for “Architecture & Design”

Pros

Location in the middle of the old town
Wonderfully designed

Cons

Noise from the busy streets outside
Travel desk expensive
Breakfast not up to five star standards

Rachamankha

The Ratchamanka is an excellent example of how the best attractions and services in Thailand tend to be privately, rather than publicly owned. Using pieces from his own art and antique furniture collection, the owner of this hotel has taken the time to design each room himself. If you are impressed by what you see, you can purchase some of the pieces in his boutique/antique shop upstairs.

Main facilities

  • 25 Rooms
  • 2 Dining Rooms (Western and Asian food)
  • Boutique Shop
  • Swimming Pool
  • Art Gallery
  • Pool Spa

Awards

Rachamankha hotel has been chosen as one Asia’s Top Design Hotels by the readers of Now Travel Asia magazine.
Winner Best Boutique Hotel
Winner Outstanding Culture
Winner Award for Architecture (Thailand boutique awards 2010)

Pros
Design
Quiet – despite close to the old town
Location

Cons
Not value for money
Not enough facilities for such a secluded hotel.

The Four Seasons, Chiang Mai

Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

Quite simply the Four Seasons in Chiang Mai is amongst the most beautiful places to relax and unwind in the world. A golf course, tennis courts, 3 pools and a shopping village surrounded by rice paddies and mountains. Just don’t expect it to be cheap.

Main facilities

  • 98 Pavilions and Luxury Villas
  • 2 Restaurants
  • 2 Bars
  • Spa
  • 3 swimming pools
  • Tennis Courts
  • Golf
  • Shopping Village
  • Gym
  • Cooking School

Awards

  • None listed

Pros

Beautiful natural setting
Close to tourist attractions such as Tiger Kingdom, elephant trekking

Cons

Pay for Wifi
Out dated designs and furniture
Expensive

Photo 1 : By Marty B

Photo 2 : The Mandarin Oriental

Photo 3 : Ping Nakara

Photo 4 : By Steve Jurvetson

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