A Trip To The Anantara, Chiang Mai

Anantara Chiang Mai 2

I love Chiang Mai. This city in northern Thailand provides a lovely contrast to a Thai beach trip.  With direct flights from Hong Kong and beyond, it’s a convenient destination for those who want a long weekend away.  I last visited a few years ago on a press trip when HK Express sailed its inaugural flight.  Having been a bit out of the loop on the latest in Chiang Mai, I’m pleased to bring you Sarah’s review following her trip in December.  Sarah stayed at the Anantara with her husband and four year old son.  If like me, you once enjoyed a stay at the Chedi in Chiang Mai, you’ll find the Anantara very familiar. Because it is indeed the same property (something I only worked out after thinking the pool area looked the same!)

The weather over end Dec/early Jan was perfect  – early 30’s during the day and mid 20’s in the evening.  No rain at all and a scattering of clouds during the day.

How did you book the trip? 

We always use Lightfoot Travel for all trips so booked  flights and accommodation through them.  The price included breakfast, airport transfers etc.

Anantara bedroom

We stayed in a Club room so lounge access all day for soft drinks and hot drinks. In the evening from 6 – 8 there was free-flowing wine, beer, spirits and cocktails.  Because we had a child under 12 they were not allowed in the lounge for this period however we were able to enjoy this 2 hour benefit either on our balcony or in the bar downstairs which was great.

We arranged airport transfers through the hotel as well which made the whole trip seamless.  The hotel is only 15 minutes from the airport so even better – occasional planes going over during the day but not disruptive.

Did you have to organize visa in advance?

Not needed

How was the flight?  

Only 2.5 hours Dragon Air – old plane with no entertainment but iPad at the ready!

What did you think of the hotel?

We really love the Anantara brand and have stayed in a few of their properties around Asia.  The only downside is that the Anantara Chiang Mai is not very kid friendly.  No activities, pool, club or child friendly areas in and around the hotel however as ½ or day trips are so widely available this was fine for our 6 day stay.

Kids menu was good and there is obviously an excellent chef in the hotel as every meal was great.

How was your room? 

Beautiful if a little dark – poor lighting!

How were the facilities?

Anantara Chiang Mai

There’s a pool and spa and that’s it really. Nothing for kids. Also the sun beds are on the “wrong” side of the pool as sun sets over hotel around 3.30pm.  they need to move them to be riverside so people can come back after day trip and chill n the sun for a couple of hours instead of in the shade.

What excursions did you do?

We did two great trips; a half day city tour and full day elephant camp.  Both were organised through the hotel concierge and both were excellent.  Guides very knowledgeable and fluent English. Both female and very experienced.

How was the food?   

Very good.  There is a massive menu with wide range from Thai – Indian – western.  All excellent, every dish we had.

Ate out at Whole Earth which was also good, DK Kitchen was fully booked unfortunately as also heard this is good from a friend.

How was the staff?

Bob in the bar and Polly at the front desk stood out as super helpful and went out of their way to be warm and friendly.  The level of English was better than we have experienced in Thailand in recent years and everyone was kind and smiley.

How was the trip overall?  What tips would you give to someone booking this holiday?

Don’t take kids if they need amused within the hotel as nothing for them to do.  Chiang Mai is a good destination for a short break with lots of excursions.

Would you go back?

No – tend not to do the same place twice except the Nam Hai in Hoi An!  Also I thought Chiang Mai would be more villagy however it’s a huge city with lots of hustle and bustle!

Chiang Mai Sunday Market


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