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Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai

Dhara Dhevi

Arriving at Dhara Dhevi is like entering a Thai palace, the intricate traditional design and opulent decor setting the tone for a stay at what is one of Chiang Mai's most atmospheric hotels. Over 1000 craftsmen took five years to build this tribute to northern Thailand's Lanna Kingdom preserving in the process many of the region's traditional construction skills.

The resort is laid out to resemble a village with buildings grouped around manicured gardens, tranquil ponds, trickling fountains and small rice paddies. Guests are encouraged to explore by bike with the 123 rooms divided between delicately-detailed Lanna villas and elegant colonial-style suites. The villas are set over two levels with living space on the ground floor and bedrooms and a spacious terrace above. Some also have and a private plunge pool and outdoor Jacuzzi.

There are five restaurants serving Thai, French, Cantonese and Italian food, cooking classes and daily cultural, arts and crafts activities for guests, as well as two swimming pools, a gym, tennis courts and a spa.

The hotel runs a complimentary cultural walking tour of the property every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while a shuttle service is available to take guests the short journey into central Chang Mai.

Our rating: Deluxe

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Rooms

The palatial rooms at Dhara Dhevi are divided between colonial-style suites and traditional Lanna-style villas. All feature elegant, classical styling with high ceilings, large windows, hard-carved woodwork and furniture, raw silks and locally-woven rugs and fabrics. The colonial rooms have separate sleeping and living areas with ground-floor suites offering direct access to the main pool and gardens, while first-floor rooms have spacious balconies. The two story Lanna-style villas are built in the style of traditional teak rice houses and have a living area on the ground floor and bedroom above. All have a spacious outdoor seating area and some a private plunge pool. All rooms offer free Wi-Fi.

Location

Dhara Dhevi is located approximately 15 minutes from central Chiang Mai in a peaceful area. The resort offers a scheduled shuttle service into the city should you wish to visit the night markets and city restaurants. The international airport is also about 15 minutes away.

Food and drink

It's worth eating at all of Dhara Dhevi's five restaurants over the course of your stay to appreciate the fine decor as well as the excellent food. A buffet breakfast is served in Akaligo, which features modern Thai-style decor and serves Asian and international dishes later in the day. The bright, high-ceilinged Allegro serves Italian dishes, Farang Ses features a menu of French classics in opulent surroundings, while Fujian serves Cantonese and contemporary Chinese food. For classic Thai and Lanna dishes accompanied by traditional dance performances Le Grand Lanna is the place to go. Succulent macarons, homemade ice cream, cake and pastries as well as fine teas are served at the Victorian-style Dhara Dhevi Cake Shop.

Families

The hotel has a kids club and offers a babysitting service.

Facilities and activities

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday guests can join a free guided tour of the resort to learn about Lanna history and architecture. There is also a craft village which runs a daily program of cultural, arts and crafts activities. You can learn to cook alongside one of the hotel chefs or take part in a private rice planting and buffalo riding activity which is popular with families.

Our opinion

We love the way Dhara Dhevi immerses you in traditional Lanna history and culture while at the same time offering all modern facilities and comforts. Don't miss the macarons, they're widely regarded as the best in the country.

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