Chiang Mai Hotels – Where To Stay

Updated: May 14, 2018

Great hotel in downtown Chiang Mai, near Night Market.

My favorite hotel in central Chiang Mai: The Anantara

Amora Thapae Hotel Chiang Mai

Pool at convenient and affordable Amora Thapae Hotel
High-rise, convenient, serviceable and affordable. Towering over everything else nearby, the Amora faces the moat and remaining walls just outside the eastern side of the Old City. All rooms are apparently decorated in a ‘contemporary Lanna’ (old Chiang Mai) style, but this is not immediately evident, and disappointingly, balconies are only used to store the air-conditioning units. The Deluxe Rooms feature pleasant wood panelling. The 2 windows (1 full length) add to the welcoming feeling of light, space and air, with some angled nicely to maximise views of the Old City and distant mountains. However, most rooms and suites, which are comfortable and contain 2 bedrooms, overlook the kidney-shaped pool on the 2nd floor. The area around the pool is breezy and offers some limited views, but lacks shade, which is not unexpected for a high-rise of this standard.

Anantara Chiang Mai Resort

Rooftop infinity pool with amazing views at chic and functional Anantara Resort
Austere design, chic décor, riverside and some history. Along a street of colonial-style boutique hotels, this seems so unappealing from the outside, with the wing of suites across the road resembling a carpark. However, the setting for the hotel is superb and based around the whitewashed century-old former British Consulate, which now houses a fashionable restaurant. Functional but unremarkable, the suites are similar inside, with a fully-equipped kitchen, laundry and 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms. The hotel rooms are more appealing: ultra-modern, with an open-plan bathroom, tiled walls and huge balcony for views of the garden or river. The Infinity-edged pool on the rooftop of the suite offers divine views of the river, city and mountains. And the position is ideal: along the river, quietly removed from the Old City bustle, and within walking distance of the food stalls and cafés at the Night Bazaar.

De Chai the Deco Hotel

Sunny L-shaped pool at boutique De Chai Hotel
Trendy, friendly, and quiet location. One in a chain of boutique hotels across Chiang Mai, the exterior of brick and glass resembles an office block, but it’s pleasant inside and with only 50 rooms on 5 levels service is personable. Perhaps trying to be too fashionably Art-Deco, the layout of the Deluxe Rooms is odd. The quasi-entrance lobby with a minuscule desk leads past a cubicle with a bathtub and shower side-by-side to the bedroom with a corner sofa and another desk. The mirror behind the bed makes the rooms appear more spacious. Some face the quiet street, but most overlook the L-shaped pool which could be noisy. Although deep and sunny, the pool does lack shade. Inexcusably not signposted, it’s along a laneway, which is a 5-minute stroll past plenty of shops and cafés to the eastern walls and moat of the Old City.

De Naga Chiang Mai

Stylish, traditionally-designed and spacious De Naga Hotel
Modest, stylish, convenient and traditionally-designed. Looks can be deceiving: the block is larger than expected, and extends further from the main road than imagined. The Lanna (old Chiang Mai) design is tasteful, with a lobby packed with Thai statues, vases and wall-hangings. Most rooms are in 2-level blocks facing the gardens and are huddled together, so guests could suffer from noisy neighbours. Most are Deluxe Rooms – spacious with crimson colours and traditional furnishings, such as ornamental lampshades. Views of the street means proximity to the busy road, but most rooms are far quieter, although facing roofs and other walls. The pool is serviceable but might not attract a lot of sunshine. The hotel is on the corner of a delightful suburban lane and the busy road circling the eastern side of the Old City, with oodles of cafés and shops at the doorstep.

Empress Chiang Mai

Popular old thai-style and conveniently-located Empress Hotel
Affordable, Thai-style, unpretentious and interesting location. Ostensibly designed for Thai business people decades ago, this high-rise has become increasingly popular among western tourists for its likeable old-style charm – e.g. the lobby is bursting with carvings, and the sprawling staircase adds a little royal flavour. Many rooms overlook the large pool, which is surrounded by potted trees (and artificial grass), while others have decent views of the mountains or city. The Deluxe and Superior Rooms are similar, with an appealing pale green décor, although some furniture needs updating. The Executive Rooms are also the same size, but contain more modern furnishings, while the 1- and 2-bedroom suites feature a bright lounge area, floor-to-ceiling windows and a corner kitchenette. A short tuk-tuk trip from the Old City centre, there are a few cafés and shops nearby, and it’s an easy stroll to the Ping River and eateries at the famous Night Bazaar.

Frangipani Serviced Residences

9 spacious and comfortable apartments at Frangipani
Serene, quaint, convenient – ideal for longer stays. A delightful alternative to an undersized boutique hotel, there are only 9 spacious apartments on 3 levels. Each has 1 or 2 bedrooms, and is lovingly designed and tastefully decorated by the live-in Thai-Swiss owners. Apartments feature a colonial-style desk, plenty of brightly-coloured seats, Thai decorations, numerous windows and a spacious bathroom. The second and third bedrooms can easily accommodate an extra single bed, so it’s ideal for families, especially if staying a week or more. All have a kitchen and dining table so guests can provide their own breakfast. And some have views of the temple across the road from a substantial balcony of potted palms and rocking chairs. Along a shady tranquil street in the centre of the Old City, with plenty of facilities within 200m, it’s difficult to initially find but well worth the effort.

Le Méridien Chiang Mai

Excellent views from stylish Deluxe Rooms at Le Meridien
Fashionable décor, unremarkable rooms and prime position. Easily seen from the centre of the Old City, this is one of very few high-rises in the immediate area so views of Chiang Mai and the surrounding hills are unobstructed from most rooms. The overall décor is contemporary with subtle touches from the Lanna (old Chiang Mai) period. The standard Deluxe Rooms are stylish but unexceptional, with a long sofa next to the full-length window, but the bathtub is undersized. More elegant and spacious are the suites and Executive Rooms. The Infinity pool isn’t huge, but beautifully designed, with spouts, ‘waterfalls’ and wooden decking – the views are also excellent. Along a road dotted with international fast-food outlets and home to the renowned Night Bazaar (with a myriad of eateries) it’s 5 minutes by tuk-tuk to the Old City and walkable to the Ping River.


Ivy and art covered internal courtyard at classy Makkachiva
Tasteful, welcoming, central – and shoes off, please! This classy 4-level boutique hotel is immediately likeable with an entrance shaped like a temple, a lobby of elegant Thai furnishings, corridors lined with colourful art and an internal courtyard smothered with ivy. The Deluxe Rooms are designed very much with Buddha in mind, and also contain a rocking chair and extended desk, but oddly there are no cupboards (so hang clothes from hooks on the wall). Best are those on the top floor, which feature a raised arched ceiling. Views from balconies of the temple across the road are marred by electricity poles and wires, and all rooms facing the front would suffer from traffic noise, although the double-glazing is effective. Facing a busyish street lined with cafés and shops in the centre of the Old City, the hotel is narrow, inconspicuous and easy to miss.

Mövenpick Suriwongse Hotel Chiang Mai

Unshaded pool with astroturf at Movenpick Suriwongse Hotel
Unpretentious, affordable and functional for families. The exterior looks remarkably like a hospital, and the stark lobby doesn’t improve the tone, despite recent renovations. With a surprising 266 rooms across 3 wings, it’s along the street known as the Night Bazaar for its seemingly endless food stalls and cafés, and only a brief tuk-tuk trip to the Old City centre. The Thai décor in the Deluxe Rooms is delightful, but spoiled somewhat by a bright red sofa and non-matching curtains. In the Premium version, it feels like the lounge area is separate (but isn’t) and the broad windows face what appears to be a balcony (but isn’t). The Executive is massive, while the Family Suites for 4 are excellent, but a little dark inside. The pool on the 3rd floor is substantial, but the artificial grass and total lack of shade are disappointing.

Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort

100-year old Rain Tree near the saltwater pool at Na Nirand Resort
Incomparable riverside refinement and classy colonial elegance. Based around a magnificent 100-year-old Rain Tree along the Ping River, this marvellously graceful hotel of only 45 rooms boasts an old-world charm that extends to staff wearing majestic uniforms. The Deluxe Rooms face the saltwater pool, which has black tiles, wicker chairs in the shallow end, and ‘islands’ of trees. These rooms feature a Lanna (old Chiang Mai) décor with cloth wall-hangings, shuttered windows and rattan furniture. The colonial-style Riverfront Suites are truly regal and individually-named (e.g. ‘Siamese Love’). They contain abundant Thai arts and crafts, an arched ceiling, and substantial balcony overlooking a second pool alongside the river. The attractions continue with a pool bar shaped like a rice barn, yoga and cooking classes, and an exquisite upstairs library. Along a quiet dead-end street, it’s a quick stroll to the cafés along the renowned Night Bazaar and a speedy tuk-tuk to the Old City centre.

Panviman Chiang Mai Spa Resort

Pool with waterfalls and views at Panviman Spa Resort mountain retreat
Marvellous mountain retreat, ideal for families, but notably isolated. Although spread extensively across a lofty valley, this self-described ‘Heaven in the Hills’ is admirably limited to just 55 rooms and villas. Many are distant, and most paths are steep, so buggies are provided. The very spacious Valley Deluxe Rooms feature modern facilities with an old-world charm. The suites are even more serene, stylish and comfortable, although the poorly-lit sofa alcove seems pointless considering the size of the brightly-coloured balcony offering jaw-dropping views. Also appealing are the colossal spa/yoga centre with ‘meditation cave’, outdoor games area, and lagoon-shaped pool. And it actively encourages families, with a kids’ club and a range of activities. The isolation (one hour from the Old City and airport) is offset by free shuttle bus services. There are a couple of cafés nearby, but the hotel restaurant offers top-notch meals at reasonable prices and the sublime views are free.

Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa

Pool with open air lounge and restaurant at Ping Nakara
Petite, elegant, colonial-style and riverside. With whitewashed walls, tiled terraces of clunky fans, and dark-stained wooden stairs, this gorgeous hotel feels like it was built in 1880 rather than 2010. And with only 19 rooms, service is impeccable. The lowest standard are the Grande Deluxe Rooms, which feature a hardwood floor, antique furnishings (e.g. a handlebar telephone), wooden shutters and a balcony overlooking the pool or cluster of trees in the empty lot across the street. Perfectly matching the white exterior, the dazzling blue pool is raised and lined with bamboo poles, while the open-air poolside lounge is bursting with chess sets, books, ancient maps and antiques. Halfway along a tranquil dead-end street, it’s a 10-minute stroll to the famed Night Bazaar lined with eateries, and a short tuk-tuk trip to the Old City centre.


Pool at new, colonial-styled and sophisticated Rachamankha
Unparalleled colonial-style elegance, but out of the way. Resembling a beautifully converted colonial-era military barracks, the Rachamankha is only a few years old. All rooms are in 2-level blocks with dark-stained railings, lofty terraces and whitewashed walls facing palms, ponds and stone paths among billiard-table lawns. This design however, means that some rooms are huddled together and dark inside because windows are limited. The interiors are as exquisite as hoped: bursting with antique furniture and Lanna (old Chiang Mai) rugs, plus all the expected modern facilities. Other attractions include the fashionable breakfast café, extensive floor-to-ceiling library, and pool, which is deep blue and so inviting. Along a peaceful suburban street in the western edge of the Old City, it’s adjacent to arguably the city’s most famous (but least visited) temple, and a 10-minute amble to a cluster of tourist facilities. With such sophistication and only 25 rooms, book far ahead.

Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai

Large, welcoming, decent for families, but imposing neighbour. The lobby, where some staff wear uniforms seemingly from a Wizard of the Oz musical, stretches over 2 of the 12 floors. The spacious Deluxe Rooms featuring a colourful décor, bed-head of Thai crafts and a floor-to-ceiling window are a step above the motel-style facilities expected. All rooms face the pool, distant hills, or the main road about 75m away. The lagoon-shaped pool on the ground floor is shady and lined with cabanas. However, the neighbouring resort is so monolithic and so close that it significantly intrudes on the setting, not to mention the views, sunlight and privacy, of the gardens and pool. Other attractions include the 4th-floor tennis court, free aqua aerobics classes, and (airless) Kids’ Centre for toddlers. On the outskirts of the Old City, it’s an easy stroll to the Ping River and renowned Night Bazaar, home to a myriad of eateries.

Tamarind Village

Pool at colonial-style old and elegant Tamarind Village Hotel
So different, so elegant and so worth a splurge. The entry lane of arched bamboo plants leads to a curved corridor lined with art and a lobby choked with lovely Thai furniture. Adding to the appeal are the terracotta roofs, whitewashed walls and wooden railings, all reminiscent of a colonial-era military barracks. Rooms are in 2-level blocks facing gardens of ivy, chrysanthemums and immaculate lawns featuring the namesake 200-year-old Tamarind tree. Because of the old-style design with thick stone walls and minimal windows, many rooms are dark inside, but they all feature likeable colonial touches, as well as a bathroom containing a copper sink and accessible through a rattan cupboard. The pool is broad and shady, and flanked by delightful decking. Activities for guests include painting, flower-weaving and a guided walk of the nearby streets. It’s a peaceful 100m back from the main road lined with tourist facilities in the Old City centre.

The 10 Best Luxury Hotels in Chiang Mai

1. Anantara Chiang Mai Resort

Stunning, tranquil, riverside resort, blending contemporary Thai & colonial styles with bright, stylish rooms and suites featuring teak wood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, deep terrazzo tubs, mini-bars, coffee/tea facilities and massive furnished private balconies with daybeds and expansive garden/river views. Suites have double the space of rooms, add indoor daybeds, open plan bathrooms, dining areas, coffee machines and special exclusive privileges (lounge access, buffet breakfast). The old city and the night market are within easy walking distance. Hotel Phone: +66 53 253 333.

2. Le Meridien Chiang Mai

Trendy hotel with a modern art & local culture aesthetic, featuring contemporary, carpeted rooms and suites with bathtubs and mini-bars. Upgraded rooms have spectacular mountain views and the suites (very spacious) add Bose sound systems, Lavazza espresso machines. The top-end, grand, apartment-size suites have vibrant artwork, wooden floors, jacuzzi baths, dining spaces and kitchenettes depending on the category. Hotel is steps away from the night market and the hotel’s artistic keycard gives complimentary access to an umbrella making center. Hotel Phone: +66 53 253 666.

3. Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

Exquisite, secluded, Thai-village style resort set in 20 acres of lush grounds with a working rice farm, lakes, waterfalls, and lily ponds with magnificient Lanna (Northern Thai) style pavillions, pool villas and private residences, having vaulted ceilings, artwork, teak floors, mini-bars, tea/coffee makers, soaking tubs, ipod docking stations, mp3 player connections and own furnished outdoor Thai salas. Pavillions have salas with swing sofas and outstanding terraced rice field/garden views, pool villas have private pools & gardens, sundecks and Thai dining salas. The top-end, wide range of private residences ranging from 1-bedroom spa residences to 4-bedroom split-level residences with pools, all include luxuries like kitchens, live-in butlers, and buffet breakfast. Resort also has plenty of activities like rice planting, a cooking school, and guided nature trail tours. Hotel Phone: +66 53 298 181.

4. The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai

Breathtakingly beautiful, Lanna-style, lavish palatial resort, set in 60 acres (rice fields, gardens) featuring a wide range of spectacular traditional villas (authentic teak wood rice houses) with Thai salas, whirlpool tubs, outdoor decks (some with private jacuzzis), plunge pools (some), private kitchens (top-end) and stunning signature residences with high ceilings, pianos, walk-in closets and features like private pools, gardens, and kitchens (depending on the category) and stunning rice field/garden/resort views. The top-end royal residence has 6 private Lanna-style pavillions connected by walkways, open-air salas, private jacuzzis and saunas, and a free-form lotus pond. Lots to check out, including a large library, an open-air shopping village, cooking academy, arts and crafts demonstrations (basket making, bamboo weaving), and rice planting. Hotel Phone: +66 53 888 888.

5. Rachamankha a Member of Secret Retreats

Exuding old world charm, this 25 room boutique hotel set in the old city, with architecture reflecting with Lanna & Chinese influences (lime plastered brick walls, Chinese cabinets, antiques, couryards) features very elegant rooms and suites with mini-bars and ipod docks. The larger suites add big living rooms, kitchenettes and tea/coffee facilities. Has a beautiful library and the hotel is just next to Chiang Mai’s famous Wat Phra Singh temple. Hotel Phone: +66 53 904 111.

6. Holiday Inn Chiangmai Hotel

Modern hotel, overlooking the Ping river, featuring big, comfortable rooms and suites with blackout shades, bathtubs, mini-bars, mini fridges, tea/coffee makers and panoramic river/city/mountain views (from the higher floors). Suites add living rooms, dining tables and whirlpool/spa bathtubs. Hotel Phone: +66 53 275300.

7. 137 Pillars House

Stunningly beautiful, 30-suite boutique hotel set in a historic, restored teakwood building featuring sumptuous suites with hard wood floors, high ceilings, 4-poster/super king beds, free standing colonial style claw bathtubs, dressing rooms with walk-in closets, mini-bars, espresso coffee machines, music systems with iPod connectivity and vintage tiled verandahs with expansive daybeds, rattan rocking chairs & lovely garden views. The top-end suites have private outdoor plunge pools, sunken bathtubs and butler services. Hotel Phone: +66 53 247788.

8. Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel And Spa

Serene, Lanna colonial-style, 19-room boutique hotel with gorgeous rooms featuring hand-carved fretwork, hard wood floors, high ceilings, hand-crafted furniture, mini-bars and bathtubs. Upgraded rooms have balconies with garden views and the top-end rooms have jacuzzis and balconies with pool views. Hotel has a library and is within walking distance of the Chiang Mai night bazaar. Hotel Phone: +66 5325 2999.

9. Dusit D2 Chiang Mai

Modern hotel, right next to the Chiang Mai night bazaar, featuring stylish rooms and suites with sleek interiors, contemporary Thai touches, mini-bars and coffee/tea facilities. Suites add living and dining rooms. Upgraded rooms and all the suite guests are entitled to Club Privileges such as private check-in/check-out, and breakfast. Hotel Phone: +66 5399 9999.

10. Rimping Village

Within walking distance of the night bazaar, this simple hotel features spacious, comfortable, good-value rooms and suites with coffee/tea facilities and mini-bars. Upgraded rooms and suites (the latter adds seating areas) have bathtubs. Hotel Phone: +66 53 243915.

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2 Questions and Comments

  1. Best Resort for Elephant Camp Tours

    What is the best hotel in Chiang Mai for doing elephant tours?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      The elephant camps are located outside of the city. If you want to stay close to the camps and cut down on driving time then the Four Seasons is a good choice – located about 30km north of central Chiang Mai and much closer to a few of the camps.

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