Anantara Chiang Mai: A true urban oasis
WHEN you walk into the Anantara Resort & Spa from the busy streets of central Chiang Mai you instantly feel the calmness and serenity of this urban oasis. From the sleek and seductive decor to the friendly and professional staff, you know you are in for a memorable experience.
It is the attention to detail, the care and thought that have gone into the little touches that make this hotel special. The décor mixes traditional, colonial and modern, while the immaculately kept grounds are a pleasure to stroll through, especially at night when lit up with lanterns and candles.
The rooms are smallish, but feel spacious with the open plan layout, teak flooring and muted tones, and are extremely comfortable and well appointed. A sliding door separates the bathroom from the bedroom and this adds to the flow of the space. The ensuite bathroom has a deep bath with a range of complimentary bath salts, and a separate rainshower. Each of the 84 rooms or suites have their own private balcony or courtyard. Tea and coffee making facilities, flat screen TV and free WiFi are all come as standard.
Outside, the infinity pool is perfectly located on the bank of the Mae Ping River. A small lily pond surrounds one side of the pool, and attentive staff are on hand to offer towels, cold water and fresh fruit throughout the day.
For the more active, the hotel has a well-equipped gym with separate studio that offers yoga and aerobic classes. The restaurant offers cooking courses that include trips to local markets with the chef to buy the ingredients before the cooking lessons begin back at the hotel.
The restaurant itself offers decent Thai and Western cuisine with riverside views and live music. The Anantara’s central location means there are countless dining choices within a 10-minute walk, and there are definitely better deals nearby. The buffet breakfast, though, is as good as you’ll find anywhere.
The Colonial House offers a delightful afternoon tea and high tea experiences, while the bar and lounge are ideal places to sip some cocktails or try specialty cigars in the evening, if that’s your thing.
For those who want to bring their relaxation to the highest level, the Anantara’s spa offers a range of massages and treatments in tranquil surroundings. Again the attention to detail is superb, down to the background music and which oil scent you’d prefer during your treatment. You are then led to your own private treatment room designed in contemporary Asian style. I tried the Anantara signature massage which started with a relaxing foot wash and massage with lavender salts and juniper milk, followed by a traditional Thai massage.
You would be forgiven for not wanting to leave the hotel during your stay and, really, the busy streets of Chiang Mai seem a world away. But if you do decide to venture out, it’s all right there on your doorstep. Chiang Mai’s renowned night bazaar is just a five-minute walk away, while the Old City is no more than 10 minutes. There are loads of travel agents nearby, offering treks, tours, elephant riding, temple visits and all the other northern Thailand must-dos.
Personally, I would rather lounge by the pool watching the locals across the river casting their nets. The Anantara is a special place and I am looking forward to visiting again.
123 Charoenprathet Rd, T.Changkran Muang, Chiang Mai Riverside, Chiang Mai, Thailand – See map