Chiang Mai, the cultural heart of Thailand, was ranked as the No. 2 city in the world in 2010 by "Travel + Leisure" readers. The city's historical center, protected by a moat and remnants of a brick wall, is located in Northern Thailand, known for its Lanna heritage. Hotels located inside the moat provide a 700-year-old ambiance and are conveniently located to many of the city's attractions, including the sprawling Night Bazzar, Three Kings Monument and dozens of gilded temples.
An immense Tamarind tree dominates the grassy courtyard, providing shade for many of Tamarind Village's guest rooms and suites. Tucked away in a quiet soi, or street, Tamarin Village combines traditional Lanna Architecture -- slanted roofs, clay roofing and hand-carved wooden decorations -- with contemporary amenities like televisions, plush linens and photographic artwork. Rates include a daily massage at the on-site spa, complimentary mini-bar (first stock), and free foot bath. The Village Spa has a full menu of treatments, from traditional Thai massage to facials.
Palm trees spring from the courtyard, peering just above Rachamankha's slanted roofs. At night, the hotel is awash in golden lights reflecting the polished wood finishes of hand-crafted doors. Sitting blocks from Wat Phra Singh and the Sunday Night Market, Rachamankha Hotel is an oasis in Chiang Mai's old town. With a pool for escaping the daytime sun, a spa for kneading out stress, and gallery housing local artists, guests will have every convenience at their fingertips. Guest rooms feature flat-screen televisions, DVD players, mini-bard and Wi-Fi. An on-site restaurant serves regional, as well as international, fare.
Bodhi Serene Hotel
Named for the tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment, Bodhi Serene Hotel is a Lanna-designed boutique property located in the old town's Southeast corner, three blocks from Tha Pae Gate. The hotel's guest rooms and suites provide a balcony overlooking the blooming courtyard. Room amenities include flat-screen televisions, DVD player and Internet access. The property has a swimming pool, library, meeting room, business center, babysitting service and tour desk. The Bodhi Restaurant serves Thai and Western dishes.
An intimate bed and breakfast nestled on a quiet soi in Chiang Mai's old town, Charcoa Hotel has recreated a traditional Lanna house into a stylish boutique property. The guest rooms, from standard to honeymoon suite, are resplendent with wood floors, Lanna furniture, white linens, and sweeping windows. The Charcoa Restaurant, where guest are served an inclusive breakfast, features international fare, but specializes in baked goods. Staff can provide booking for all local tours.
- Tuk tuks by the market, Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand image by grannywarbo from Fotolia.com