After a quick flight from Bangkok, and an even easier shuttle to our hotel, we had arrived at the Shangri-La Chiang Mai: a luxury resort set in an ideal location in this ancient city.
As we arrived at the resort, our bags were taken and we were led to reception to check in, where we were given cold flannels to refresh our faces and lemongrass tea to cool us down and refresh us from the inside out.
Chiang Mai is probably the part of our trip I was most excited about as it is home to a lot of wonderful Thai culture – and it makes the perfect place to make friends with some incredible Nellys too.
The Shangri-La Chiang Mai reminds you of this as soon as you arrive with two beautiful elephant sculptures ready to welcome you to the hotel.
And of course, we couldn’t resist saying hello as we arrived!
After the clean elegance of COMO Metropolitan Bangkok, I was so excited to be staying in a more authentically Thai hotel. The rooms at Shangri-La Chiang Mai are decorated in a Northern Thai style, meaning that the hotel feels as though it’s right at home in its surroundings.
We were staying in a beautiful Deluxe Room with a pool view which had more than enough space to be the perfect, luxurious city hotel. The main area of the room is a wonderfully large bed, with a seating area right at the window meaning that whether you’re enjoying your morning coffee or an evening aperatif, you have the most beautiful view to admire.
And a blogger or business essential, a full size desk meaning you could write until your little heart is content. I loved having the space to set up my laptop and organise myself, which I can see being a real advantage if you’re spending more than a couple of nights at the Shangri-La.
I think it’s safe to say that it was one of the hotels Caitlin and I were most excited about, since neither of us had stayed in a Shangri-La hotel before. Needless to say I now have my eye on the eye-popping London property for a special occasion this year or next…
The location of the Shangri-La really is perfect: it’s just outside the main old city walls and set far enough back from the main road meaning you’re away from all the city business, but only a 10 minute walk from the night bazaar allowing you to comfortably venture out for the evening. The location was a real deciding factor for us since we knew we would want to retreat to the pool on hot afternoons but not be so far out of the city that we couldn’t come back in the evenings.
And talking of the view…
Although the rooms are called pool view rooms I think you can see that it’s so so much more than that! Looking out onto the green forest and the hills in the distance you couldn’t forget that you’re in the hills, in beautiful Northern Thailand.
The bathroom had an indulgent bath as well as a separate shower, as well as the usual toiletries you would expect of a luxury hotel like the Shangri-La. If you’re on a romantic trip, the idea of sitting in the bath and opening the sliding door to let you look at the view sounds incredible, to me!
Oh, and they clearly cater for a traveler like me who forgets her toothpaste and hair bobble!
With a slightly marbled bathroom it was a bit of a blogger dream! The only thing was I wished the shower was a little more powerful.
The Shangri-La brand prides itself on hospitality and service, and certainly every member of staff we met greeted us with a smile and the receptionist remembered which room number we were as we checked out. With a hotel as large as this one the service wasn’t as personal as it could have been, but there was no doubting that every time you walked into the hotel a warm greeting awaited you.
If you can tear yourself away from your room, and I recommend that you do, you can wander down to the ground floor, past the business centre and the restaurants and out into the peaceful grounds which sit behind the main hotel.
Past the water feature, and down the windy paths you walk…
Admiring the art as you hear the flip-flop-flip-flop of your shoes… Have you figured where we’re going yet?
Before you reach the pool! Situated between the hotel and the spa the pool gets the perfect afternoon light to allow you to come back form a day of exploring the city and sit in one of the sun beds reading a book.
Past the pool and underneath the coconut trees, you wind your way to the tropical paradise that is Chi Spa.
Even just walking into the spa area you feel relaxed and as though you’re already beginning to unwind.
And with little touches like these elephants, even when you’re so relaxed you’re virtually asleep you’l remember where you are!
After all that relaxation you might need a little pick me up! Fortunately, there’s a cute as a button pool bar set slightly back from the water for you to enjoy. Or, if you’re not quite done with lying at the pool, there are plenty of pool attendants to bring you your desired cocktail straight to your sunlounger.
Breakfast is served in Kad Cafe, the hotel’s casual restaurant, and is a buffet affair. There’s a huge range of options, but we found that many were aimed at Eastern breakfast palettes rather than Western.
The hotel itself is large, but in most places still retains a quiet, peaceful feeling. The lobby is the heart of the hotel, and was decorated to celebrate the Year of the Rooster for Chinese New Year.
The whole space is modern, vibrant and bright, with huge glass windows allowing you to really make the most of that gorgeous sunlight and all the different views.
Or, if like us, the views are better appreciated when seated – the bar is an amazing place to sit and enjoy a few moments of peace and quiet.
Modern luxury in the heart of an ancient city. A pretty perfect balance if you ask me.
89/8 Chang Klan Road
Muang, Chiang Mai
We paid a media rate for our stay but all opinions are my own.