Even regular visitors to Thailand are prone to devoting most of their stay to Bangkok or Phuket. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, only there are gentler, more pleasurable pursuits to be had in the country’s cooler north. In recent years, Chiang Mai has been stealthily making a mark for its remarkable combination of raw natural beauty, agreeable climate, gently preserved local culture, and fabulous cuisine. Little wonder that the Akaryn Hotel group is so quietly confident about its newly opened Akyra Manor Hotel. The all-suite property is a collaboration with Singapore-based designers Manor Studio whose creative director Chaw Chih Wen has modeled the 23 suites around the idea of a focal courtyard in which sit a covered outdoor hot tub and bathroom. This subtle nod to local architecture is carried through to the hotel’s exterior which is inspired by the crumbling brickwork of Chiang Mai’s old city wall. The in-house restaurant, Italics, serves – a little oddly, we think – contemporary Italian fare, though that might be just the excuse you need to explore the neighbourhood’s haul of local eateries and art galleries. Just be back in time for a sunset cocktail at the rooftop bar with its views of downtown Chiang Mai.