Luxury Hotels

NORTHERN THAILAND

More memories, more wishes to return – say to Chiang Mai. Girlahead first visited FOUR SEASONS RESORT CHIANG MAI a few years after its opening in 1995. It was, before, a fairly-moist forest of teak trees and, as so often with his multitude of properties, Minor’s visionary Chairman Bill Heinecke had the idea of a resort. The result, as you can see above, is a horseshoe-shaped compound of two-floor villas each holding four units, to give a total of 64 keys. Room 1601 was upstairs: turn left from the bed and look out across paddy fields. Mun Long mountain, 460m asl, is in the distance. Take the bridge-walkway from 1601 direct to your private sala and soak up the atmosphere. What a sense of place!

Yes, you know where you are at a resort like this (apart from anything else the teak floors must have come from trees felled a few metres away). Learn about local horticulture by admiring, and ‘visiting’, the working buffalo family toiling around the resort. Each animal has a name, say Mrs Mud and so on. At breakfast, the honey comes from Hill Tribes’ bees. Practise your own food skills in the resort’s Lanna cook school.

Head out to other parts of Chiang Mai. Nimmanhaemin Road, 17 kms away, is a favourite of many regular visitors (long-time former Four Seasons hotelier Jörg Rodig was so enamoured of its boutiques and cafés that it sounds like one of the highlights of his entire round-Thailand trip). One guidebook says Nimmanhaemin Road is ‘packed with various styles of residences, hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, entertainment, coffee shops, bookstore, furniture & deco, art gallery, and more making this place so vibrant’.  Ristr8to is the most famous of the cafés. It has won numerous coffee awards.

Or head further afield, to FOUR SEASONS TENTED CAMP GOLDEN TRIANGLE in Chiang Rai – Sean Mosher heads both the Chiang Mai resort and this camp, 200 km north. Drive if you want, or fly and finish off the journey by river boat. The tented camp, by the way, is all-inclusive, so no need to source local places.