Although it’s located in Thailand’s second-largest city, the 84-room Anantara Chiang Mai feels far away from the hustle and bustle. Recently refreshed, the resort-like property sits on the banks of Mae Ping River — where the British consulate was once based — within minutes of the Chiang Mai airport, local night bazaars, famous Buddhist temples, restaurants and shops.
During my family’s recent visit, we watched Thai dancers perform on the hotel’s lush lawn, took laps in the beautiful pool, enjoyed a cocktail and some Shirley Temples at the rooftop deck overlooking the river, and dined on green curry and pad Thai at dinnertime. The hotel’s knowledgeable team was also able to arrange local excursions.
Rooms and suites are quite spacious, ranging from 538 to 1,130 square feet, and all feature patios or balconies furnished with tables and chairs or daybeds, looking into the grassy central courtyard. Just renovated a few years ago, the sleek rooms are outfitted with lots of wood paneling and trim, floor-to-ceiling windows and Thai textile accents. All room types also feature soaking tubs.
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For families who need laundry facilities and/or kitchenettes, the property also has a sister building of 26 serviced suites just across the street. The suites, spread across seven stories, vary from one-bedroom to three-bedroom configurations. Our family’s two-bedroom suite included a spacious sitting area, a dining table and a small kitchen with induction stove, sink, refrigerator and microwave. While we didn’t cook elaborate meals, the dining area was great for preparing snacks or bringing back the occasional takeaway from town.
In a country known for its wellness practices, the resort’s spa is a stunningly calm space, with 10 treatment rooms and a steam room, sauna and relaxation area overlooking the pool. After a full morning of sightseeing, it was a treat for me to sneak away for a 90-minute Lanna Ritual massage, which combines Thai, Burmese and Chinese techniques to improve energy flow and general well-being. The herbal foot bath as a start was a lovely touch!
Meanwhile, the rest of my gang splashed a bit in the lap pool overlooking the river. Though it’s not designed to be a family pool with the requisite slides and toys, it’s still great for cooling off, given the balmy temps. The pool is also a stunner and a favorite spot for photos.
There are several onsite dining options to choose from, but the main indoor-outdoor riverside restaurant, Bodhi Terrace (in the shade of a stupendously giant fig tree), is where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. Thai breakfast spreads are quite the affair, and Anantara Chiang Mai’s is no different, from platters of fresh fruit such as mango, papaya, pineapple, and watermelon to egg stations to waffles and pancakes to Thai cuisine itself. Most mornings we opted for khao soi, an aromatic curry noodle soup common to northern Thailand (and its neighbors Laos and Myanmar) made with coconut milk and topped with sliced shallots, cilantro and chili sauce.
The team was very flexible with dietary restrictions and modified many dishes to be vegetarian or vegan for us during our two-night stay. Come dinner, the restaurant serves an extensive menu of Thai dishes, including soups and salads, curries and seafood specialties.
There’s also a restaurant and bar, The Service 1921, within the original teak house that housed the British consulate. The dramatic midnight-blue space is a good spot for an adults-only meal, since it offers a whiskey and cigar area as well as a tea service.
The resort can arrange a variety of experiences on-property or in the area, such as Muay Thai (Thai boxing), private cooking classes, temple tours, golf and even paramotoring. Our guided tour of Chiang Mai’s temples, including Wat Chiang Man and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (where we symbolically circled the central temple three times and offered lotus flowers), was informative and engaging; it also included transport and time for lunch in Chiang Mai’s old city center.
Editor’s Note: Tanvi received a media package from Anantara Chiang Mai in order to review the property for families. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Tanvi Chheda except where noted.
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