Chiang Mai is full of hotels, as well as a very large number of guest houses. Most hotels used to be tourist class, clean and comfortable but not necessarily anything special. That has changed in recent years with the opening of several new five star properties, with apparently more on the way. Hotels are concentrated in two areas, one along the river and the other along the road leading to Suthep mountain.
Our favorite area to stay is around the Night Bazaar. As there are several hotels near the bazaar, it's easy to find one in your price range and there are a number of tourist services in the district. I've stayed at a lot of hotels in Chiang Mai over the years. See all of my Chiang Mai hotel reviews.
We've listed a few selected hotels below. For more hotels, you can compare rates from dozens of sites at Hotels Combined.
Location, Location, Location - Chiang Mai Hotels Near the Night Bazaar
As mentioned above, we prefer a hotel near the city's famous night bazaar. Even if you're not very interested in shopping, the area is full of restaurants and other entertainment venues, making it easy to make several pleasant evenings without having to navigate yourself to other parts of the city. Taxis tend to gather around the bazaar, so even if you do want to go someplace else, it's easy to find transportation.
There are hotels around the night bazaar in all price ranges. We've listed a few options below. At the top end the D2 is right in the middle of things, with it's urban chic extreme make-over of the old Chiang Inn. Joining the D2 is the Anantara (formerly The Chedi), a posh hotel on the river-side built around the old 1912 home of the British Counsel.
Thai Style -- Out of the Ordinary Chiang Mai Hotels
Chiang Mai was something of a pioneer in creating hotels that displayed traditional design ideals, while still incorporating all the modern conveniences that international travelers expect. Any of the following will definitely make your stay unique.
Chiang Mai Hotels to Pamper Yourself
Sometimes you just have to pull out all the stops and stay in a place where you can totally enjoy yourself. It wasn't long ago that there were very few options for places to stay that were a cut above tourist class, but now there are more and more hotels in the four and five star class available.
The Four Seasons Resort was among the first of the new high end resorts. It's located about 20 minutes outside of Chiang Mai, in a valley of rice fields backed by forested mountains. In 2004 it was joined by the Dhara Dhevi Hotel (formerly the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Hotel), which is slightly closer to town. There's no easy way to describe the Dhara Dhevi. It's a fantasy design incorporating the look of temples and palaces from several cultures and periods of Northern Thailand. Lastly, there's the only truly top-end hotel in the city proper, the Anantara (formerly The Chedi). The hotel is built around the 1912 residence of the British Counsel, now restored for use as the hotel's restaurant.
Special Hotel Features
There are places you won't find on the major hotel reservation sites. These include small guest houses within Chiang Mai as well as unique resorts in the countryside. Below are some of the places we've come across in our travels that we think you might want to know about.
- Baan Orapin
- West of the Ping River, near Wat Gate, is a beautiful bed and breakfast residence built around a 90 year old teak house.
[Update November 2005:] Recent guests report that Baan Orapin just gets better. They've paved the courtyard and are even planning to add a pool. Everyone we've heard from has nothing but raves for the place.
- Kaomai Lanna Resort
- Those looking for a truly unique experience will want to consider Kaomai Lanna Resort, which was built within old tobacco curing barns.
- Seven Suns Guest House
- Within the walls of the old city, near some of the city's largest old temples, is a guest house with a bit of a difference. Seven Suns is operated as a non-profit business to help fund vocational development and AIDS education among the disadvantaged of northern Thailand and Burma.