Upon arrival to the Rachamankha Hotel in the old city of Chiang Mai, Thailand, it is easy to tell what the experience has in store. Set off of the street in a quiet enclave, the only Relais and Chateaux property in northern Thailand is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of tuk tuks and markets just outside its main walls.
The hotel, which is designed to echo the Lanna period, is quaint — it has only 25 rooms ranging in offerings from superior, deluxe and suites. The superior rooms, which line two lush courtyards, hold one king bed or two single beds (in typical style, these two beds are placed next to each other). I stayed in one of these rooms, and it was magnificent. The bed was soft, the linens crisp and the air-conditioning strong against the humid and wet weather outside of my double door. Each room includes a flat screen, DVD player, air-con (score!), complimentary Wi-Fi and more. The rooms, like the property, are filled with historic relics including 19th century Chinese furniture and Asian art. My favorite thing about the room? Aside from the spa robe and slippers, there was a cute little teddy bear sitting in the closet for me.
For those with a bigger budget, there are the deluxe and suite accommodations, too. These rooms are larger and include more romantic touches (think silk drapes and dark wood ceilings).
The property also features an elegant restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every morning, there is a three-course breakfast guests can enjoy included in the price of the room. Fresh squeezed orange juice, soft scrambled eggs, fruit plates and more, can be eaten either in the pristine dining room or outside on the patio overlooking a courtyard. One of the days I was there, the King’s nephew paid a visit to the restaurant for lunch, causing the streets outside the hotel to be shut down for hours. (Yeah, the food is that good and the property is that prestigious.) Above the restaurant, guests can explore the Gallery which showcases the history and culture of Chiang Mai.
For those looking to chill out after a day exploring the old city, there are two bars, a gallery to wander, a boutique to shop, and yes, a spa.
Despite the overcast sky and occasional rain, I still found time to take advantage of the hotel’s most important amenity for the tropical environment — the pool. This gorgeous pool comes complete with comfortable and cushioned lounge chair, umbrellas and trees filled with the soft chirping of birds.
The property has received numerous awards — Best Boutique Hotel, Outstanding Culture and Architecture, as well as the Thailand Boutique Awards recognition in 2010.
The bottom line: While it is a more luxurious and pricey option than the guest houses, it certainly makes for a perfect escape from budget travel. It is extremely private, staff is very attentive and the rooms are very well maintained. After spending a week at Elephant Nature Park, I went from hut to haute and booked into the hotel. It was the perfect mini-vacation to unwind and decompress. Rooms here start at around $200USD a night. The location is perfect for exploring the Sunday Night Market, Wat Phra Singh, and plenty of shopping, dining and drinking options.
Editor’s Note: I was a guest of the Rachamankha Hotel, however all opinions are my own. If you have questions regarding this, please read my disclosure policy.