Behind its sleek, architectural facade and towering wooden wall, Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa successfully mutes the boisterous busyness of Chiang Mai while welcoming you into a world of silent spaces and intimate luxury. Solicitous Thai hospitality is legendary but from the moment you check in, Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa takes it to another level blending sophistication and polite courtesy.
A wooden cantilevered door opens onto suite 305, the clean minimalist lines synonymous with Bauhaus-influenced architecture. By anyone’s standards this is large scale luxury, open planned with separately zoned areas for sleeping, bathing and relaxing. Resembling the set for a Wallpaper magazine photo shoot, a huge daybed accessorized with designer magazines, appears to be waiting for a model couple in crisp white linen and bold designer glasses to stroll into frame.
Through floor-to-ceiling glass windows, a broad terrace overlooks a low-slung white concrete rectangle building that houses The Spa, topped with a landscaped grass flat roof. It’s raining and more is predicted over the coming weekend but torrential downpours are punctuated by warm tropical stillness.
Offering a choice from 32 suites and 52 deluxe rooms, much of Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa’s tranquility emanates from its internal focus. Set amidst the hotel’s courtyard gardens, there’s a whiff of colonial times when afternoon tea is served in the charming 1920s home of the former British Consul to Chiang Mai. Its atmospheric interior of polished teak wood makes it the perfect spot for a nightcap after the hotel’s Indian chefs have transported us on an gastronomic tour of Thailand.
A few laps of the 34 metre riverside pool followed by a workout in the gleaming fitness centre and I’m ready to spa. Like the famous Sorocco that blows off North Africa’s deserts, my treatment ritual alternates hot oil with an exfoliation of sand-blasting intensity and hot towels. I know how Lawrence must have felt! The scrub does its work sloughing dead cells while exotic, aromatic oils seep new life into my airline-dehydrated skin.
Many hot oil/cool scrubs, towels and sheet changes later we get the result: skin with a velvet touch. One hair masque, mini facial and head massage later (any treatment’s crowning glory in my opinion), and I’m aroused from an unimaginably relaxed state and into an upright position. Reclining on a wicker chaise lounge overlooking a narrow canal of tall grasses with glimpses of the Mae Ping River that flows from the mountains to Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, there’s just time to recover before hitting up the resident mixologist for a signature martini of vodka infused with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf, dry Bianco Martini and an olive. Cheers!