Earlier this year Travel + Leisure readers voted for the best resort hotels in southeast Asia, and not one, but 5 hotels from Luxurious Chiang Mai made the top 10 list! That’s a pretty amazing feat and more evidence as to why Chiang Mai should be considered a luxury destination for discerning travellers. Amazingly most tourists still flock to Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Samui in search of luxury, and while the hotels there do have some beautiful features (namely rooftop pools and private strips of beach). But what the hotels in the south don’t offer is the chance to explore the culture of Thailand, in an intricate and quirky city (that was voted best city in Asia by T+L) with some of the best food, nature spots and activities in Thailand.
2017’s best resort hotel in southeast Asia is the outstanding 137 Pillars House. In the peaceful Wat Gate area near the Ping river, the hotel is surrounded by history, and in fact the property itself protects a little slice of the past. The main structure of the hotel, the 137 Pillars House, dates back to 1889, but has been refurbished back to historical standards by a team of architects and local conservationists. The 137 Pillars House used to be the headquarters of the British Borneo Trading Company, but was eventually abandoned and was left to decay for over half a century . It was eventually re-discovered by a Thai family looking for a place to retire and once they realised what the building was, they decided to renovate and share the history of the house with the world. Today the property features a museum on the ground floor and the upper floor, a living room with a grand piano, fit for a colonial high tea, the snug Jack Bains Bar and the refined Palate dining room.
The 137 Pillars House features just 30 suites and while it only occupies a small area of land, the property still feels spacious and private. The open courtyard with comfy daybeds, the 80-foot swimming pool with its stunning green wall, and the giant Banyan trees dotted around the property (or rather that the property was built around) all contribute to a sense of harmony and connection to the past.
The rooms have been fitted with classic, plush features and the fine details are the likely reason for the property being voted best hotel in southeast Asia. From the four poster bed that you can melt into, to the spacious balconies with daybeds overlooking the 137 Pillars house. And then there are the bathrooms – indoor and outdoor showers as well as the ornate Victorian stand-alone bathtubs, and separate dressing rooms decorated with real orchids and photos of old Chiang Mai.
For guests, it’s hard to leave the room, let alone the property. With two restaurants, a spa offering a range of traditional treatments, yoga and Tai chi classes, high tea, a wine cellar, and the best breakfast in town, it is possible to spend your entire holiday within the 127 Pillars House. If you do venture outside then they also have a range of exciting packages; Luxurious private jets, wedding and honeymoon packages, the golf lovers tee time package, as well as the exclusive two night package complete with a helicopter flight over the old city of Chiang Mai, over the lush national park and around Thailand’s highest mountain Doi Inthanon.
For local residents of Chiang Mai, 137 Pillars House welcomes guests for high tea, dinner, an evening drink in the Jack Bains bar, and also regularly hosts special events such as wine tastings. Outside guests can even book a massage in their ornate two roomed spa, but due to space and popularity, it is wise to book in advance.
For more information or to reserve one of the 30 suites, head to their website or contact them below. Also check out its sister hotel 137 Pillars Suites Bangkok for the best rooftop pool in the capital.
Address: 2 Soi 1, Nawatgate Road, Wat gate
Tel: +66 (0) 53 247 788
Email: [email protected]