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Chillin' at the Chedi
By Roderick Eime
20 July 2013

There are many things to love about Thailand and one of my favourites is being able to stay at world class hotels and resorts at a fraction of world class prices.

I've just checked out of one fabulous property in the relatively undiscovered northern city of Chiang Mai which offers a welcome alternative to some of the bawdy beach locations further south and the sometimes oppressive crush of Bangkok.

Founded in 1296, Chiang Mai means "new city", so-called because it was the new capital of the Lanna kingdom, succeeding Chang Rai. It attracts up to 2 million foreign visitors every year who come for the cleaner air, relaxed pace of life and natural and adventure attractions like the gold-domed temples, Maesa Elephant Camp, Tiger Kingdom and Baan Tong Luang, a Hill Tribe cultural preservation village.

Now while there may be some split opinions about the value of cultural and natural 'exhibition', there is no debate about the quality of the accommodations.

My choice was The Chedi, ranked #2 (out of 326) on TripAdvisor, a Conde Nast lister and the only 5-star property located on the scenic Ping River which runs through the centre of town. It has 84 rooms across two categories; 32 100sqm suites and 20 50sqm deluxe rooms, all facing an inner courtyard overlooking the renovated former British consul's residence that now forms the restaurant.

In the old house you'll find exquisitely finished dining and drinking salons. Here is where the famous Chedi High Tea is served, an attraction in itself that draws many out-of-house guests (especially Chinese) for the lavish selection of sweet pastries baked right in front of you. It's a curious sight to see couples and groups photographing themselves in and around the architecturally designed grounds all day long.


My strong recommendation is to go for the Club Suites and enjoy included extras like nightly cocktails and delicious nibblies, laundry, private check in/out, airport transfers and breakfast. Naturally there's a spa on site offering a head-spinning array of pampering treatments.

While there are meeting facilities too, don't plan on finding room for your annual Amway extravaganza. Instead consider an executive retreat for the board members or top executives.

When visiting Chiang Mai and many parts of Thailand, be sure to take precautions against mosquitoes. Don't leave doors open unnecessarily and The Chedi provides a can of spray which you should use before you go out for the day. Otherwise enjoy!

The Chedi Chiang Mai is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) and is part of the GHM Hotels group.

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