If Chiang Mai does turn out to be the next big Thailand destination, it’ll be because it’s something a little different. Far from the sandy beaches of the southern coast or the sheer sensory assault of Bangkok, Thailand’s second city lies high in the mountainous inland north, on the banks of the Mae Ping river.
The Chedi is built around what was once the British Consulate building: in the courtyard behind sits an open-air restaurant, and the rooms and suites stretch along the perimeter. Once past the facade of the consulate building, don’t expect a colonial look — the accommodations are modern in style, sedate and restrained in warm colors and teak and terrazzo floors. The Deluxe rooms are spacious, with sizable balconies and eye-catching red-brick bathrooms, and the Club Suites are twice as large, with indoor sitting areas, balconies with daybeds, and private butler service. All are furnished and outfitted like sophisticated urban apartments; no desert-island chic, just polished surfaces, sleek modern furnishings and LCD screens.
Despite the urban setting there’s something of the resort getaway about the place, once you’re within the quiet confines of the courtyard. There’s a spa with ten treatment rooms, an outdoor pool and a yoga room, perfect for relaxing by day — by night there’s nothing better than the terrace bar on the second floor of the old consulate building.