Where: As soon as you arrive at Le Meridien in Chiang Rai, you know you are in for something special. It is located in Thailand’s most northern province on the Mae Kok River and just a few minutes’ drive to the city that was once the former capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom of King Meng Rai.
Set on an oasis of more than four hectares of manicured green lawns and well-kept tropical gardens, it’s a haven to rest and enjoy the facilities as well as do great day trips to the beautiful surrounding areas.
Step into the lobby and you will notice the great art work – including traditional ceremonial monk begging bowls, painted green that feature in an intriguing art installation in the lobby. It’s perfect for Instagram pics.
The 159-room resort set over five wings has recently been refurbished and rooms are well planned, spacious and so comfortable. Our second story room has sweeping views of the main building, pool, lake, and river. The room has beautiful timber floors, a comfy king bed, chaise lounge, large TV, work desk and free wifi. The bathroom, separated from the main room by a sliding door, is large with a bath for soaking in and a shower, with a cool green-tiled wall. The balcony has great views over the garden and beyond and a Lanna style daybed.
This hotel has one of the best breakfasts ever with an extensive buffet and food stations offering everything you could wish for from Indian roti to Asian dishes. There’s lots of fresh fruit, healthy juices and smoothies, as well as your favourite meats and salads, cheeses and eggs done every which way at the signature restaurant, Latest Recipe. There’s also a popular Friday night seafood dinner buffet and a relaxed Sunday brunch.
Love Italian food? We enjoyed an outdoor dinner at Favola, a great Italian restaurant where we dining under the stars, riverside. The restaurant serves simple Italian flavours from its signature wood-fired oven and chargrill, along with other authentic Italian dishes. It’s a great place to dine after a busy day.
Latitude 19 serves impressive coffees and cocktails as well as high tea on Saturday.
The three-tiered salt water infinity pool is a great place to cool off after a busy day of sight seeing. It sits beside the Mae Kok River, near one of the famous rain trees.Guests can stretch out on sun lounges and order a drink and snack poolside from the nearby Chill Bar. The blue tiled pools cover three levels.
The Library is located in the Lobby Wing across from the Lobby. It’s a great place to sit and read and you will find books, magazines and newspapers.
In need of a little pampering?
The spa offers a range of relaxing choices with spa treatments derived from the local mountains and streams. Parvati Spa’s offers natural spa products including massage oils, body scrubs, and wraps to clean, nourish, and moisturise the skin. Blended eastern and western massage techniques restore vitality and inner peace. With a multitude of massages, spa treatment, body spas, and holistic therapies offered, the spa includes four stunning treatment rooms, and steam facilities. The spa is located beside Favola along the Mae Kok river. Treatments include body scrubs, body wrap, couple’s massage, facials and massages.
Keep Fit There’s a fitness area with excellent gym equipment. Bikes can also be hired. There’s also a kids club, library and the Parvati Spa.
Rain Trees You can’t help but stand and admire these huge trees that are so well cared for at the resort.More than 100 years old they have a wonderful legend behind them. Situated about 100 metres apart but connected by the same root system, the raintrees are named after the Lanna Prince Sukaseam and a Burmese girl Mamia. Legend has it they fell in love while studying in Myanmar and the two were later separated when the Prince was forced to return home.
But don’t despair these trees flourish at this resort, forming part of a natural landscape that includes well-kept lawns and gardens, with glimpses of forest and the Mae Kok River, which flows next to the hotel.
Take time to look at the beautifully painted elephant statues that are spread throughout the hotel.The artwork is exquisite and each elephant is different. The Les Petits Elephants de Chiang Rai are painted by local artists transforming these gentle giants into works of art. the installation demonstrates the importance of elephants in the Lanna Kingdom.They were purchased from a special exhibition and are now permanently displayed at the hotel. They make great Instagram pics. There are also lots of commissioned works by talented contemporary artists.
What I loved
As well as the three-tiered pool and manicured lawns, those rain trees are intriguing. You can stand and look at their expansive branches for ages. The art work and attention to detail is also outstanding.
Service is excellent and there are free shuttle buses to the main dining and shopping area of Chiang Rai.
What to do
There’s some great tours that leave the hotel every day including visits to the stunning White Temple, excellent night market, and the fascinating Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park, which guests of the hotel can access free-of-charge.
A perfect haven in Chiang Rai where you wish you could stay longer.
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