In the two or so decades since the Four Seasons launched its Chiang Mai hotel, the property has amassed a legion of fans, not least for its cinematic countryside vistas and remote location about half an hour north of the city centre. Set over 32 acres within the pretty Mae Rim Valley, speckled with rice farmers, lakes, lily ponds and waterfalls, the 99-villa hotel is a peaceful bolthole far from the hum of northern Thailand’s largest city, but still within striking distance of its famous landmarks.
Now, the hotel’s appeal has become even more honed with the launch of Rim Tai Kitchen, a cooking studio and restaurant. And while Thai cooking classes are hardly big news, this one scores points for its location in an old teak house surrounded by lush gardens dotted with banyan trees and views of the hotel’s rice paddies.
Inside, designer Bill Bensley has continued with the hotel’s traditional Lanna aesthetic, but has embellished the teak flooring and furnishings with dramatic bell hoods above the stoves and a dazzling chandelier that hangs over the communal table.
An itinerary of activities including market visits, organic tea classes and fruit and vegetable carving sessions are on offer, but we suggest heading over in the evening when the studio is transformed into ‘Thai Kitchen Live’, an interactive open-kitchen restaurant experience, where chefs show you how to whip up classics from papaya salad to wok-friend minced pork – the perfect dishes to be washed down with a post-dinner tipple on the adjacent cocktail lawn.