Anantara Chiang Mai Serviced Suites— Deep in the heart of northern Thailand in Chiang Mai there’s an elephant sanctuary like no other. It’s there where I communed with the rehabilitated giants in a one-of-a-kind elephant training program. I was a Mahout (elephant trainer) for a day. I scrubbed the backs of the majestic royal animals in the muddy river. They surprised me with an elephant shower. I scrubbed some more. They sprayed some more. Talk about a post-dirty grime but hey who cares, I finally got to commune with the elephants.
Is there a way to top this ultimate bucket list experience?
Try a stay at the Anantara Chiang Mai Serviced Suites, a new kind of luxury urban living in Thailand’s second largest city.
The latest 27-room boutique residence is Anantara Chiang Mai Resort’s answer to the growing segment in the luxury hotel market to provide spacious private suites for either long stay vacationers or families.
The extra bonus is guests staying at the new Serviced Suites enjoy the inclusions and amenities from its sister property, the Chiang Mai Anantara across the street.
For elephant lovers and cultural sightseers who have completed a day of exploring Awesomeness around Chiang Mai, this luxe crash pad easily turns into a pleasure dome. Picture a rooftop infinity pool, a riverfront infinity pool, a spa with a decadent spa menu that includes a chocolate therapy wrap treatment (my go-to after my elephant encounter), and on-site activities. Guests get to relax with morning Tai-Chi, take a Muay Thai Boxing lesson, sign up for lessons for either traditional Thai massage, a fruit carving class or learn the subtle art of Thai cooking at the Anantara cooking school.
The property is a new build with luxuriously furnished condo-style interiors and has a parking area, a fully secured guest entrance plus a private pedestrian overpass allowing guests easy access to the neighboring resort where all the diversions are. There’s even a uniformed traffic cop who patrols the hotel’s corner ensuring guests at the Anantara Serviced Suites who prefer crossing the occasionally busy street safe passage. I did. No regrets.
Anantara Chiang Mai Serviced Suites provides easy access to the mighty Mae Ping River and the rest of Chiang Mai’s attractions are at your fingertips. It’s a five-minute walk to the famous Night Bazaar, ten minutes away from traditional attractions of the old moated city and fifteen minutes from Chiang Mai International Airport.
Serviced Suites Accommodations
There’s a choice of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom suite categories at this 27-suite boutique residence. The luxury interiors fuse a modern sensibility with traditional Thai design values. Simple, elegant detailing emphasizes the natural finishes. There are contrasting textures and warm tones accented by bright touches, natural light and bespoke lighting.
Plush bedrooms with ample closet space adjoin luxurious bathrooms with a rain shower, and some suites also have a bathtub. A dining table and kitchenette make eating in a pleasure. Living rooms double as a study with integrated shelving and floor-to-ceiling windows. Kitchenettes comprise an induction stove with hood, a sink, refrigerator and microwave, as well as a washer and dryer. Wi-Fi is free and there are flat screen LCD televisions in the living room and each bedroom.
My two-bedroom Serviced Suite
I thought after spending an afternoon communing with elephants in Thailand’s magical Chiang Mai, my spray-me-with-love Mahout-soaked attire was a right off. Grimy red soil stained shorts went straight into my suite’s washer and dryer. I threw in the complimentary laundry detergent my Serviced Suite concierge delivered after a quick phone call and hit the on button. My next big dilemma: which shower to use? I dove straight into one of the separate enclosed glass showers with its fabulous rain shower (there are two showers) and had signature toiletries at the ready. All’s well.
The suite, like all property suites, has a private balcony that spans the entire length of the suite with street facing views (Mine was Sridonchai Road). The thick windows and temperature controlled interior meant quiet, solitude and cool nights. Dark night shade curtains doubled in the pitch black sleep setting.
My main entrance opens into the living area. A dining table and kitchenette make eating in a pleasure. Living rooms double as a study with integrated shelving and floor-to-ceiling windows. Kitchenettes comprise an induction stove with hood, a sink, refrigerator and microwave, as well as a washer and dryer.
Wi-Fi is free and there are flat screen LCD televisions in the living room and each bedroom.
The Suite pluses:
Plush bedrooms with ample closet space have an adjoining luxurious bathroom with a rain shower, and a bathtub. 24/7 concierge service means any reasonable request is fulfilled.
The Suite drawback:
The super hi-tech lighting system. At the end of an action-packed day, know that you have to shut off all the lights before returning to bed. Mine was tricky after spending a day in the sun followed by a detoxifying spa experience which carried the relaxation vibe further into the evening by fine dining and … some wine. After a few learning curves, I ended up shutting off the lights the old fashioned way.. manually with each one.
Head across the street for ample pampering.
Wow, is the Food and Beverage scene a trip on its own. My morning started at The Restaurant, a superbly located resto with an outdoor riverfront terrace. I recommend ordering The Buffet breakfast due to the vast selection and scrumptious food stations.
In the afternoon it was High Tea Afternoon with traditional classics like gourmet pies, scones with clotted cream and bite-sized desserts served with a choice of specialty teas in a charming colonial style.
The culinary choices are like a world trip. The cuisine is tailored on the global guests they welcome so expect healthy grilled choices, Vietnamese, Chinese like spicy Szechuan, Thai dishes … and now Latin flavors. At the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort, the luxe property has unveiled the first and only ‘Peruvian Kitchen’ Menu in the fabled city. Expertly crafted by the resort’s Peruvian Executive Chef Patricio Basombrio Cadano, the Bespoke menu has an exclusive range of Peruvian dishes in the new ‘Cocina Peruana’ ‘Peruvian Kitchen’ – evoking sentiments of original home cooking, enjoyed in a convivial atmosphere.
For evening dining, the piece de la resistance is the landmark Service 1921 Restaurant so named due to its provenance. Back in the day, the heritage structure was the British Consulate. I’m told lots of MI5 types, political intrigue, and the stuff of Ian Fleming James Bond spy novels occurred between these walls. Don’t be surprised by the retro collection of eyeglasses, magnifying glasses, old-style pens, and passports galore displayed throughout the dining establishment, it’s all part of the property’s nod to its intriguing past.
In the upstairs restaurant, a private whiskey tasting room is accompanied by two connecting communal dining rooms, leading through to a library wall that features a secret bookshelf door providing concealed access to a private dining room, which is designed to reflect the teak logging concessions of British trading companies. The upper wrap-around veranda also offers terrace seating and communal high tables.
For extra privacy, the Service 1921 Restaurant has the ultimate private dining room. Simply push a library wall like in the movies and voila, a secret room appears.
In contrast to the secretive ambiance The Service 1921 Bar is very much a social scene. On the lower level, a central bar with high stools is surrounded by plush lounge areas, with doors opening onto wrap-around veranda seating. Enriching the fine beverage offering, the wine cellar is stocked with an impressive selection of New and Old World wines, and is an exclusive connoisseur haven for wine tasting journeys and private dinner parties.
At The Service 1921 Bar, unique Asian twist cocktails, fine wines and champagnes are presented by the resident Mixologist and Wine Guru, accompanied by a fine whisky selection and Cuban cigars presented by the Cigar Aficionado. Contemporary soundtracks add to the upbeat mood.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: Guests staying at the Anantara Chiang Mai Serviced Suites have a chance to live like modern day royalty as the staff’s attention to detail is evident everywhere you go there. The hotel’s location is ideal and the new suites are divine. Nothing falls short here.
Review by Ilona Kauremszky. Her stay was hosted by Anantara Chiang Mai Resort, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.