THE BACKGROUND: A prime contender for one of the most visually stunning hotels in the world. It may be only six years old but the approach to the hotel is more akin to that of a (Burmese-style) palace with intricately carved wooden roofs, etc. The enormous hotel grounds are like a botanic garden with hundreds of (imported) trees, flowers and streams. The property is made up of suites of many varied styles and sizes dotted around the gardens and the Colonial Suites around the Colonial Pool.
WHERE IS IT? A short tuk tuk or taxi journey away from the centre of Chiang Mai. A complimentary shuttle operates three times a day. On the resort, electric buggies take guests to their rooms.
THE ROOM: Huge, all three of them! The living area had a sofa, chaise longue, easy chairs, a small desk, occasional table and of course the essential wide-screen TV. It also had a small cloakroom just inside the entrance door. French doors open on to the vast balcony with table and chairs which stretches along the whole width of the rooms. Another sofa , easy chair, occasional tables, and wide-screen TV grace the bedroom as well as a large bed with side tables. And then there’s the palatial bathroom with a walk-in wardrobe and a vast and entirely marble rain-head shower.
THE RESTAURANT & BARS: Cocktails are served in the ultra-cool Horn Bar but then it’s a choice of four restaurants. The Akaligo serves Mediterranean food and is also where breakfast is taken, and brunch is served on Sundays. The three other restaurants serve Thai, French and Chinese cuisine.
FACILITIES & ACTIVITIES: There are two fabulous swimming pools, tennis courts, a kids’ club, a library with more than 5000 books, CDs and DVDs and the Crafts Village, a showcase of daily life in the ancient Lanna culture. There’s a number of shops and boutiques, fitness centre, yoga pavilion, Dheva Spa, Wellness Centre – and an Organic Vegetable Garden!
RECOMMEND TO: The hotel is perfect for couples but would also suit families as there is a great kids' club.
THE COST: From around 14,000 baht (£288) a night for a deluxe Colonial Suite. Many UK tour operators package the resort.
THE DETAILS: Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai, 51/4 Chiang Mai – Sankampaeng Road, Tambon Tasala, Chiang Mai. Tel: 0066 53 888 888; Fax: 066 53 888 999
An unexpected oasis on the outskirts of Chiang Mai where superb service and a sense of space were the two most impressive ingredients. My stay was like living in an elegant palace for the weekend where nothing was too much trouble.
Managing editor, Selling Long Haul