I cannot begin to describe how amazing a hotel this is. First of all, the people working there are some of the most hospitable, kindest employees I have come across in my life. From our airport greeting, to our greeting at check in, to the presentation of our room, to cocktails with the manager, everything was phenomenal.
Everyone who works there immediately drops what they our doing, gives us a traditional Thai greeting, and asks how they can help us, every time we walk by. During out time there, the staff got to know us, our names, our likes and dislikes, and did whatever they could to accommodate us and make our experience magical. I am not used to such impeccable service.
The grounds are beautiful. Sadly, the website does not do it justice; you have to see it to believe it. The hotel has been build based on a lot of traditional Thai beliefs, cultures, plants, and rituals. The hotel staff uses these as ways to teach visitors about the Thai culture. . Walking around the grounds, was like walking through a fantasy land. The orchids, trees, lotus ponds and rice paddies were designed so well.
Many of the employees loved chatting with us, learning about our experiences, and sharing their experiences. They would even teach us about things that they do, and what their family is like, and bring us “real” Thai dishes that were not on the menu.
The spa is magical; multiple treatment rooms in multiple styles exist to suite your likings and needs. The staff spends so much time to make sure they give you a truly fabulous experience. I help thinking, “am I dreaming.”
The food at the three restaurants we tried was incredible. So many flavors, so much variety, and the northern Thai food is now my new favorite. When you ask for Thai hot at the restaurant, they listen. No bland food toned down here, it’s the real thing. The funny thing is, we also tried some Middle Eastern food at the pool bar, and it tasted better than Middle Eastern food I have eaten in the Middle East itself.
The hotel has a great travel desk that lets you plan trips by looking at costs, pros, cons, and environmental impact. Based on other experiences, I believe this hotel lets you choose the right tour for you, not who will give the hotel the biggest kick back. They help you make appropriate decisions, and offer an extremely fair price. We went into an elephant camp, and took elephant rides, at a humane elephant preservation site that only allows one show per day so as to not wear out the elephants. The trip for two, admissions, a personal guide, a driver, and the use of the hotel car for the day, only cost us around $250 USD total.
Some of the food and drink is on the high end for Chiang Mai, but the quality is incredible and the price is actually very low compared to NY Prices. Also, it’s worth paying a little more than in town just for the experience and freshness. For example, when we ordered ginger mint mohitos, the bar tender ran out to the garden and dug up fresh ginger and mint for our drinks. In fact everything served is grown locally, or purchased from local farmers to help with the local economy.
The price was on the high end compared to what we were originally looking to spend, but still very fair for what we got. We had a two story pool villa overlooking the rice paddies and it cost around $350 USD per night. We were also welcomed with drinks, given a welcome bottle of wine, and treated to all sorts of fresh fruit grown locally every day.
One of the most unique features was that every area of the hotel gives you cool towels as Chiang Mai is very hot. These towels are scented and each section of the hotel has their own scent.
This trip was truly memorable, and was the first time my wife and I didn’t plan where we would go next during our vacation, but planned to return to the same place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai is set on 60 acres of verdant tranquil grounds in the historical heartland of Northern Thailand. The hotel's unique design draws from the region's rich architectural and cultural heritage that flourished during the Lanna period, which lasted from the mid-13th century until the mid-16th century, and enjoyed a further resurgence in the last 200 years. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai Hotel Chiang Mai
- Mandarin Oriental Chiang Mai
- Mandarin Chiang Mai
- Chiang Mai Mandarin Oriental