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The Chedi Chiang Mai Elevates Thailand’s Northern Mountains.

Click photo above to book the Chedi Chiang Mai.

Arrival at the Chedi Chiang Mai in the mountains of Thailand, an hour’s flight north of Bangkok, brings about a physical transformation. As one enters the lobby, set in a landscaped courtyard with a large reflecting pool, one feels the travel and big-city pressures dissipate. In the moments between check-in and room set-up, the sense of calm taking hold of your body cannot be ignored.

Set on the Mae Ping River The Chedi
reflects contemporary Thai design.

By and large this welcome tranquility is due to The Chedi’s successful design scheme and the resort atmosphere created in the heart of Thailand’s second-largest city. Set on the bank facing the Mae Ping River, the hotel is the compound of the former British Consulate in Chiang Mai. The original 1920s building has been retained and integrated within the hotel design, which employs a contemporary interpretation of traditional Thai themes.

The lobby lounge welcomes guests
with an inviting atmosphere.

Chedi suites have all the amenities
that please exacting travelers.

The main building consists of guest’s rooms on four stories in an L shape around a large courtyard facing the river. The 52 deluxe rooms and 32 Chedi Club suites feature dark-timber floors, hand-made red wall tiles, terrazzo plinths together with teak and rattan furniture. A bedside button controls a wood-slated screen on a glass wall that faces a private courtyard, bringing light, on your command, into the space. In each bathroom a sliding screen in front of the free-standing tub can be opened to the room, producing a view that stretches from the bath to the river.

Proudly, The Chedi staff informs you, all of the hotel’s furnishings are made locally. One soon discovers that this staff, in their muted grey and tan uniforms, balances beautifully the art of being attentive without being intrusive. In this way, they facilitate the feeling that, for a few days anyway, the place is really yours. The Chedi atmosphere of order and harmony add up to an experience best described as meditative luxury.

Come To A Place Called Lanna

Saturday markets draw locals and
hill tribe people selling native crafts.

The 16th century Wat Phra That
sits atop Doi Suthep Mountain.

Until late in the 19th Century, Thailand’s region north of the plains remained independent. Built as a cultural center, Chiang Mai has for decades been a draw for wealthy Thais with second homes, and backpacking travelers who praise the mountain area for its cool climate, gracious people and laid-back atmosphere. On any given day dozens of Ex-pats can be found hanging out at the Aum Bookstore Café. Many plan treks to one of nearly 3500 hill tribe villages nearby, home to some 800,000 indigenous people, where life has been preserved with little change over thousands of years.

Remnants of the town’s 750 year-old rectangular wall set within a two-kilometer square moat delineate a place of bustling markets, restaurants, handicraft shops, yoga studios, cooking schools and night bazaars held within fertile land that gave the old northern kingdom its name of Lanna.  The 600 year old Wat Phra That, atop Doi Suthep Mountain overlooking the valley, is just one of forty area temples that provide a spiritual backbone to the region. The 32,000 students of Chiang Mai University present a steady flow of talented young men and women who invigorate the town as they mix with Buddhist monks, native northerners and the many travelers from Thailand and abroad.

Enter The Era of Five-Star Luxury

Chedi Club Suite guests
enjoy aded conveniences.

In recent years the arrival into Chiang Mai of several five-star hotels has broadened the region’s appeal to a new set of increasingly up-market visitors. A relative newcomer, The Chedi stands atop this tier of luxury properties catering to the extraordinary demands of its Thai and international clientele.  Beyond its incomparable Asian style, every room at The Chedi is equipped with the expected amenities: Wi-Fi and broadband, LCD satellite TV, electronic safe, complimentary mini-bar, Espresso machine and Bose CD/DVD sound system. Chedi Club Suite guests enjoy complimentary butler service, laundry and dry cleaning plus access to a private lounge for complimentary breakfast, evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

A Colonial Masterpiece Revived

The beautifully restored consulate house
is at the center of the resort.

The open-air terrace bar for cocktails
or after-dinner cognac and cigar.

The 1920s era consulate house has been restored to its former stateliness and stands at the center of the property where it holds the hotel’s restaurant and bar on the ground level, and the terrace bar and cigar lounge on the second floor. The restaurant offers Thai, Indian and International cuisine and has both indoor and outdoor seating with a choice of air-conditioned private and semi-private dining rooms.

Upstairs, in the atmospheric terrace bar, guests gather on cozy day beds to imbibe a variety of beverages while enjoying panoramic views of the River Ping. Try the Asian luncheon buffet any day from 1200 to 1430 or traditional afternoon tea 1500 to 1800. A guest’s favorite is the Sunday jazz brunch each week from 1200 to 1500 when the victuals are served up with a live performance of the area’s best jazz musicians.

Superbly Hosted Small Business Meetings

The boardroom is set in corporate
style to take your business meeting.

For small to mid-sized meetings The Chedi is ready to serve your business needs with a large 17 Sqm. Boardroom and 55 Sqm. meeting room on the second floor of the main building. The meeting room features floor-to-ceiling window access to an open air terrace, and direct access to the restaurant’s semi-private dining rooms through the terrace bar and cigar lounge. Facilities include Wi-Fi, broadband with bandwidth for video-conferencing, independent telephone lines, AV screen, LCD Projector, CD/DVD player and more. It’s the most intimate, efficient meeting environment in Chiang Mai.

A Sanctuary of Serenity

Partners can bond as one in
the deluxe double spa suites.

Adjacent to the picturesque pool, set right on the river’s bank, each of The Chedi Spa’s ten private suites comes complete with steam showers and terrazzo baths. The deluxe double spa suites are also equipped with herbal steam rooms and aromatic saunas. Stimulating body polishes, nurturing envelopments, romantic bathing ceremonies, rejuvenating beauty rituals, therapeutic massage – all are designed to pamper and restore vitality.

The Chedi Massage is the house special, a dynamic fusion of five massage styles including Shiatsu, Thai, Swedish, Balinese and Hawaiian Lomi-Lomi. Two therapists work in synchronization to lull you into a blissful state. Guest’s daily routines often include a workout of resistance training, cardiovascular and free weights at the second floor health club, followed by a visit to the spa, so one can say the indulgence has been earned!

Spirit Houses and Happy Chinese New Year!

On a small deck tucked into the northeast corner of The Chedi property are two miniature houses, the “spirit house” or Saan Phra Prom, and the “land god house” or Saan Phra Puom.

Spirit houses are important in Thai life.

  Michael Gaehler, Executive Asst. Manager
prepares for Chinese New Year.

These spirit houses are found throughout Thailand and are considered dwelling places for helpful spirits. Some say spirit houses are built for spirits, such as guardian angels, that live in the land. Others believe the spirits own the land and must be given a better place to live than the house or building that will be built. Spirit houses show respect for the spirits of the land. People must care for the spirits because the spirits are believed to protect people, grant their wishes, and bring them good luck and good health. In exchange, the spirits are given shelter, food and gifts.

During January, the month of our stay — and one of the best months for mild, dry weather — Chinese New Year is celebrated.  The yearly ritual includes the preparation of elaborate offerings: platters of chicken, pork and beef, fruit bowls, colorful drinks, incense, paper money, cigarettes, pots of tea and chocolates – on this day, all made ready by The Chedi staff, and carefully positioned for the ritual that will occur at the hotel’s spirit houses.

The elegant infinity pool overlooks the peaceful Mae Ping River.

The enchanting Chedi
glows in the candle-lit night.

At an auspicious moment, with all the fixings in place, celebrants gather to place the offerings at the houses, bowing in homage to the spirits Thai’s believe play an integral role in their daily lives. Fireworks are lit and the crackling that follows brings delight to the participants, who in the moment share a peaceful and respectful beginning to the new year.

Whether for holiday or business The Chedi Chiang Mai is unsurpassed as a haven of style, service and serenity in a city whose rich culture and distinctive charm make this former kingdom of the north a must-see for any who travel to Thailand.

Room Rates and Location

Rates are quoted in Thai Baht currency. As of this writing 1,000 Thai Baht equals $28US or 22Euro. The exchange rates are the "on-shore" Thai rates as per the Bank of Thailand. Rates are subject to 10% service charge and 7.8% tax. Room Type with rates: Deluxe, 13,700 Thb, The Chedi Club Suites, 20,600 Thb. Suites include private check-in, complimentary 2-way airport transfer, continental breakfast for two, mini-bar and laundry service.

The Chedi Chiang Mai
123 Charoen Prathet Road
T.Changlan, A.Muang
Chiang Mai 50100 Thailand
Tel: (66) 5325 3333
Fax: (66) 5325 3352

— Feature by Jim Hollister, Jetsetters Magazine Luxury Travel Editor.  Photography by Robin Hollister and The Chedi Chiang Mai.