IF you ask any Chiang Mai resident what is the best hotel in town, you’re only likely to get one answer: The Chedi. Combining outstanding service, cutting edge design and an ideal location, this hotel’s stellar reputation is richly deserved.
Chiang Mai has no shortage of top-class hotels, but many of the best ones are dotted around the city’s outskirts. If you want 5 star luxury slap bang in the middle of town, you’ll struggle to find better than this.
What makes it special?
Perhaps The Chedi Chiang Mai‘s greatest achievement is its creation of a serene and relaxing space in central Chiang Mai’s busiest quarter. Walking from street to lobby, which opens onto the hotel’s lush gardens, is almost a surreal experience, such is the contrast to the hustle and bustle on the street.
The Chedi is built on the grounds of the old British Consulate on the banks of the Mae Ping River. The heart of the hotel is the old consulate building, an attractive colonial villa with teak floors that houses The Restaurant, a bar and even an upstairs cigar lounge.
(HIGHLIGHT: The Chedi’s renowned traditional afternoon tea, served from 3pm to 6pm, is definitely worth a try. Grab a good book, curl up on a comfy chair and snack away to your heart’s content. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, even if you’re not staying at the hotel.)
The villa shares the courtyard with a state-of-the-art spa and a pool running parallel to the river. The health club, also offering views over the river, is situated above The Restaurant. Somehow, the colonial and contemporary architecture work together seamlessly to make an idyllic outdoor space.
What to expect?
The Chedi’s 52 rooms and 32 suites also rate among this hotel’s best points. They are housed in two wings, which form an L shape around the courtyard. Wooden floors and teak and rattan furniture give a traditional Thai feel that works in harmony with the clean, contemporary lines of the room’s design. Large glass doors open out onto a generous balcony with seats and a daybed. All rooms overlook the courtyard and rooms on the upper floors afford views of the river and the old iron bridge, one of the landmarks of Chiang Mai. Lounging on the balcony and enjoying a sunset drink as the courtyard lights up for the night is a real pleasure. Facilities, as expected, are excellent with a large comfy bed, WiFi, flatscreen TV and more.
(HIGHLIGHT: The Chedi’s rooms certainly have their own character. Open out the large wooden bathroom doors and you suddenly have a large, freestanding bath in the middle of your room. The bath-in-your-bedroom experience is definitely worth a try.)
The Restaurant, which we will review next week, serves Thai, Western and Indian dishes and has a decent winelist. Lunch is served throughout the afternoon while the combination menu/buffet breakfast served by the river is a real treat.
What is there to do?
With its peaceful atmosphere, comfortable rooms and top notch service and facilities, The Chedi is the perfect place for a relaxing break and for the first couple of days you probably won’t want to leave the hotel at all. When you do want to go out and explore Thailand’s second largest city, the best it has to offer is right on your doorstep. The riverside location means some of the best restaurants and nightspots in town are within easy reach, while the famous Night Bazaar is just a five-minute walk away. Tha Phae Gate and Chiang Mai’s charming Old City are also within easy walking distance, while hotel reception will gladly organize day trips and excursions further afield.
The Chedi Chiang Mai, 123 Charoen Prathet Road, T. Changklan A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand. Tel: +66 53 253 333.