The lowdown Set in seven acres of lush green landscape, fragranced by frangipani and punctuated by lotus ponds, the Shangri-La hotel, Chiang Mai, lives up to the concept of a city resort, and then some. For beyond the serenity of the hotel, and the stone elephants that front it, lies a bustling city with sights and sounds yearning to be enjoyed.
The second largest city in Thailand, Chiang Mai was the capital of the 13th century Lanna Kingdom, and, as such, is steeped in culture that is played upon a backdrop of towering mountains and dense jungle greenery. Only a short distance from the airport but at the heart of the city, the Shangri-La hotel provides the perfect base from which to explore the temples, elephant sanctuaries and shopping streets, while offering facilities and a level of comfort that makes it very hard to leave!
Aside from the stunning gardens, free-form swimming pool, health club and rooftop tennis courts, a visit to the hotel’s CHI Spa is a must. With treatments performed in private villas that spur off from the spa’s ‘Sanctum’, unwinding couldn’t be easier.
The rooms The combination of thoughtful touches (think bookmarks at bed-down) and no-nonsense function (complimentary broadband internet, for example) provides instant home-away-from-home appeal, while opulent Asian fabrics and furnishings are oh-so luxurious throughout the 281 rooms.
Opt for a Horizon Club room and enjoy the benefits of, among other extras, the Horizon Club lounge, which boasts fantastic views of the garden and mountains beyond, plus complimentary drinks and canapés at sundown.
Dining The Kad Kafe offers all-day dining that covers nearly every cuisine in a freshly cooked, market-style buffet, while the pool-side Dhala serves up delicious drinks and snacks, and afternoon tea can be taken in the light and spacious Lobby Lounge.
Not to be missed, however, is a meal at the hotel’s Silapa Thai Lounge and Bar. An innovative take on Thai cuisine, Thaipas (like Spanish tapas) are the perfect way to sample new dishes and taste new flavour combinations in a fun, sharing manner. Meanwhile, with ingredients that count everything from lemongrass to rose petals, the mouth-watering cocktails you’ll want to keep all to yourself!
InStyle recommends Bartering to your heart’s content at the Night Bazaar. A matter of minutes by foot from the hotel, the renowned market showcases the handicrafts typical of the surrounding provinces including colourful textiles, hill-tribe jewellery, stunning silks and intricate wood carvings.
Details Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai, 89/8 Chang Klan Road, Muang, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand. A double room at Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai starts from 5,379 THB (approx. £108) per night. Prices includes breakfast, tax and service. To book visit www.shangri-la.com or call 0800 028 3337.
By Sarah Smith