Anantara — Chiang Mai, Thailand
When it comes to location, Thai hotel brand Anantara, could not have picked a more desirable spot for its Chiang Mai outpost. Set on the banks of the city’s Mae Ping River, the 84-room hotel is a peaceful bolthole that feels as though it’s far from the madding crowd, but is just a 20 minute stride from the temples, bustling markets and ancient Lanna ruins of the old city.
Australian architect Kerry Hill has masterminded a clean, understated design that centres around the original 1920s colonial building of the former British Consulate. A bamboo-clad façade provides an organic look that further enhances the building’s muted aesthetic, while an abundance of open airways encourage a smooth breeze, providing relief from Chiang Mai’s stifling heat. The timber-lined guest rooms all feature balconies with daybeds, open-plan bathrooms clad with handmade red tiles and terrazzo flooring and guests staying in the Kasara Suites have access to the Kasara lounge, where drinks and snacks are served the whole day.
Throughout the hotel, water has been used to great effect, bringing a sense of tranquility, reflecting scenes of life on the river. The early morning views are especially evocative, but if you want to make the most if it, an excursion to Doi Suthep - the city’s holiest and highest point - is where panoramic vistas of Chiang Mai are best seen.
Personally, we’re staying put for the spa’s signature 90 minute Lanna Ritual, which uses a mixture of Thai, Burmese and Chinese techniques that ends with making a wish on a golden heart Bodhi leaf.