Monday, August 26, 2013

Four Seasons, Chiang Mai Thailand

 A peaceful luxury retreat in northern Thailand's gorgeous countryside, Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai captures the graciousness of old Siam.
 With views of the rice paddies and Suthep mountain range beyond, even from “the gorgeous infinity pool,” this resort on a working rice farm is “almost like heaven.” The architecture is classic Lanna, including steeply pitched roofs. “Magnificent rooms” have vaulted ceilings, teak floors, private salas (open-air spaces), and art from the Siamese kingdom. Pool villas display the typical north Thai Lanna colors of red, orange, and gold. “The service is very good, and the cooking school is especially fabulous.” The resort has its own organic garden and a shopping village with five stores.

This lush, landscaped beauty nestling in the tranquil Mae Rim Valley 20 mins outside the city, is the grand dame of Chiang Mai’s luxury resorts and still going strong. Each of the two-storey Lanna-style pavilions has 2 suites, one downstairs and one up – but insist on an Upper Rice Terrace Pavilion with little outdoor salas and rice paddy views for maximum romance. Rooms are a traditional mix of western comforts and classic Thai décor with solid teak floors and amply spacious bathrooms. The grounds and fields are beautifully kept with masses of nooks and crannies for ambling and spooning, but where the property really comes into its own is at night when hundreds of twinkling candles, lamps and flares cast their magical glow – if hubby doesn’t jump you here, he’s dead, bury him.

Quite apart from the generally excellent grills at alfresco Terraces (they also do a decent martini), and Thai cuisine at Sala Mae Rim, we loved the extensive buffet breakfast layout during our stay – fab congee – but it’s the Cooking School and Spa that really give the property that extra oomph. The Four Seasons cooking school is hands down the best in town and probably the whole of Thailand. The seriously sexy Bill Bensley-designed rustic, multi workstation kitchen accommodates up to eight singles or couples, in a glassed-in sala with signature beaten zinc exhaust hoods – well, you don’t want to reek of curry, Velma.

Over at the beautiful Spa there are seven spacious treatment suites, all with outdoor showers and soaking tubs, and private herbal steam rooms, utilizing Thai therapies and focusing on organic and natural herbs, oils and spices. The purpose-built Yoga Barn will have you in downward dog before you know it, and there are heaps of things to do including golf, ballooning, tennis, horse riding, elephant treks, orchid farms and even kickboxing lessons, if you fancy wearing voluminous silky shorts and kicking your legs up. Four Seasons Chiang Mai is an unashamedly romantic property, but kids are very welcome, so if you’re dragging the sprogs, there are on-site baby sitters, concierges with hordes of kiddy things to do and even children’s menus in the restaurants.  
Go glam with the fam!

More info & Online booking

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