“A welcoming oasis of calm amidst the ornate temples, exotic bazaars, food stalls and night markets of Chiang Mai”
You wouldn't know it, but spread around a handful of leafy courtyards are 47 bedrooms. The décor is simple: white walls, dark-wood kingsize beds, a large bamboo-woven headboard, and a rush mat on the polished concrete floor. There's a cabinet with a TV and minibar (with a crafts display on top), and a wall-mounted air-conditioning unit below the pitched ceiling. A pair of simple recesses with a clothes rail and boxes serve as wardrobes. The small rooms make the best use of space, and would make better use still if the coffee-making tray was put on the other side of the bed with the aid of an extension cord. Welcoming and cosy.
Through narrow saloon doors is a small bathroom with a shower - the head is fixed, so standard-issue Europeans may have to bend - plus a basin, loo and a nice range of toiletries including (what else?) tamarind soap, exfoliates etc...
The Lanna Deluxe Rooms have a small outside sitting area, ensuring a bit more privacy than the standard Lanna Rooms, which are accessed directly from the cloisters. During longer stays, that can be a boon.
The Tamarind Suites are spacious, and will suit families as there's room a'plenty for an extra bed. Extra benefits include living areas, a DVD player, an outdoor sitting area, and a tub in the marble bathrooms. The Spa Suite is the property's ultimate residence, located by the spa, with a half indoor/half outdoor set up. The large terrace has a daybed and there's an outdoor shower.
Since our visit, the Lanna Suites have also been added - we yet to personally view them.
In the lovely, open-sided sala beside the swimming pool you'll find the best breakfast buffet this side of the Ping river. Countless types of fruit, many of them unknown to Europeans (longan, pimelo), vie for space with waffles, bacon, vegetable stir-fry, sausages, croissants, yoghurts, toast, jams and a fine selection of fresh juices (including java plum and, of course, tamarind). Load your tray and take a place by the pool, where you'll notice - with the dismay of one who has already over-ordered - a young chap cooking irresistible-smelling omelettes stuffed with goodies. They're worth making space for. Just as you're about to tuck in, be prepared for the national anthem to strike up next door, enforcing a tantalising abstention until it ends.
There's an equally appetising dinner menu, which is handy if you're dead on your feet after all that shopping, or if you just feel like an easy poolside meal. It's also available for lunch, though chances are you'll be out and about in town. After a snack of deep-fried banana chips and northern pickled pork with your cold Singha beer (or indeed European wine), there's a choice of northern Thai specials (spicy sausage, minced pork liver, sticky rice); international fare (lamb chops, 'spag bol', sandwiches); and curries of almost every permutation (pork / beef / chicken / seafood with cashews / mushrooms / broccoli).
If you want to dine out, the quirky, candlelit Huen Phen restaurant is a real find: an Aladdin's cave of bric-a-brac and bizarre tribal dishes.
As city hotels go, this is a great place for kids of all ages. Extra beds and cots can be supplied, and there's even an English-speaking babysitting service if you want to hit the night market without them. Keep an eye on your children around the pool area, and when you venture out into the bustling city streets. Children aged 12 or younger stay for free if they share the parent's bed, but breakfast is extra. A roll-away bed can be provided at a charge.
Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking