Not at all the typical Mandarin Oriental, and in fact quite unlike just about any hotel anywhere — the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, on the outskirts of the inland city of Chiang Mai, is no high-rise city hotel but a bona fide resort, Mandarin’s first. And what a resort it is.
The concept is one of total escape, total immersion in what amounts to a painstaking recreation of a centuries-old Lanna palace, complete with functioning agriculture, villagers hired to work the fields and put on displays of traditional crafts and culture. All exquisitely stage-managed, of course, but if you like a measure of fantasy in your tourism, you won’t be disappointed.
Accommodations are spread widely over the fifty-acre property, guests and staff alike traversing the grounds on bicycles or by golf cart. The suites in the central colonial-style building look out from balconies over an array of more traditionally-styled pavilions and villas, styled after traditional Thai farmhouses and rice barns, and the almost excessive Residences, each one a palace unto itself.
No luxury is spared, either in-room or out — butler service is just a call away, and the Dheva spa is the height of decadence, offering a comprehensive menu of treatments in an environment patterned after an ancient Burmese palace. Dining options include French, Chinese and traditional Thai offerings, and the leisure activities tend to the quiet side — yoga, cultural tours, a culinary academy. You won’t see much of Chiang Mai from this compound outside the city, but you will get a look at the traditional culture of northern Thailand that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:
This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at View full credits
This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at View full credits