Chiang Mai might mean “New City” in Thai, but Thailand’s second-largest city is one that’s packed with history, heritage, and culture. Located in the mountainous north of the country, Chiang Mai’s cultural influence dates back to the 13th century, when the city was founded on the banks of the River Ping.
This Thai city is the best destination for travelers looking to immerse themselves in tradition, as the city is known for its abundance of Buddhist temples, historic ruins, and archeological sites. You’ll love learning about the ancient Lanna Kingdom, which held sway here for centuries. Plus, you’ll find that their unique influence is still found in the food, culture, and architecture to this day.
You can experience the culinary prowess of Chiang Mai firsthand with a visit to the city’s many walking streets, street markets, and the iconic Night Bazaar. Take a cooking class, and you can even learn how to make Chiang Mai’s famous khao soi curry noodles when you return home!
Outside of Chiang Mai, you’ll find the Doi Suthep Mountain, which is topped with one of Chiang Mai’s most spectacular temples. If you’re looking for adventure, then the city can be your gateway to Northern Thailand’s mountains and forests, where you can spend your days exploring nature before returning to the luxurious comfort of your boutique hotel each night.
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, keep reading as we explain where to stay in Chiang Mai.
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Where to stay in Chiang Mai
In Chiang Mai, you’re going to be spoiled for choice when it comes to boutique hotels. The city has a beautiful selection of accommodations, ranging from classic 5-star resorts to unique hotels that double up as art galleries.
The focus of Chiang Mai is the Old City, a walled area that’s located to the west of the River Ping. This is the historic heart of Chiang Mai, and it’s the best place to stay if it’s your first time in the city and you’re looking to tick off all the best sights. Inside the walls of the Old City, you’ll find some of the best boutique hotels in Chiang Mai, as well as a range of hotels to suit any style or budget.
Just outside the Old City walls, you’ll find the Night Bazaar, which is surrounded by a host of modern hotels that are close to the best street food and local eateries in Chiang Mai. On the western side of the Old City, you’ll find Nimmanaheim, which is Chiang Mai’s entertainment and nightlife district. This is where you’ll find some of the most unique boutique hotels in Chiang Mai.
Finally, if you’d prefer quiet and tranquility, the Riverside is the most peaceful area in Chiang Mai. Perfect for travelers looking for a bit of luxury, there are some lovely spa hotels overlooking the River Ping in this part of town. Start planning your trip to Northern Thailand, as we count down the 12 best places to stay in Chiang Mai.
The 12 Best Boutique Hotels in Chiang Mai
If you’re a lover of luxury (and who isn’t?), then you’re going to relish the opportunity to stay at the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort. Step inside, and you’ll immediately see why this is widely regarded as one of the best hotels in the city.
This 5-star luxury resort overlooks the beautiful banks of the River Ping and offers tranquil surroundings, landscaped gardens, and Buddhist charms. You might feel like you’re worlds away, but you’re actually right in the heart of bustling Chiang Mai.
You’ll love gazing out over lily ponds and water features as you lounge around the outdoor swimming pool or take in views of the flowing river as you sit back on the padded daybed on the private balcony of your hotel room.
You’ll love the soft, subtle decor of the nature-inspired rooms at the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort. The teak flooring and wicker furnishings will transport you to the Thai forests, but the flat-screen televisions and modern amenities firmly root you in the present.
The Anantara Chiang Mai Resort is the perfect place to unwind, and you can enjoy a Thai massage at the spa before further relaxation ensues in the sauna room. If you’d prefer to be a little more active, the hotel also has a fully equipped gym. Plus, the friendly staff can provide cultural experiences such as an authentic Thai cooking class or a round of Muay Thai training.
Lunch, dinner, and drinks are served in the Anantara’s masterfully preserved, 100-year old heritage house, which was once home to the British Consulate in Chiang Mai. The Service 1921 Restaurant & Bar serves up a delightful afternoon tea, followed by a distinctly Northern Thai menu that features historic dishes such as tom sab nua and khao soi gao.
There’s no better destination for the peaceful, spa-focused tranquility of a luxury Shangri-La hotel than Chiang Mai, and we know you’re going to love staying at this 5-star favorite during your next Thailand vacation.
The Shangri-La Chiang Mai is inspired by the city’s ancient Lanna culture, and you’ll find that the interior and exterior decor and design of the hotel draw on the region’s rich heritage. The refined hotel rooms offer unrivaled luxury in a uniquely Northern Thai style, offering local artwork, teak flooring and furnishings, and soft silken linens.
You’ll have beautiful views of Doi Suthep Mountain from your hotel room, while the hotel’s grounds are devoted to natural greenery and colorful flora. Outside, you’ll also find Chiang Mai’s largest swimming pool, where you can order cocktails and smoothies at the Dhala Pool Bar.
Buffet breakfasts and dinners are served at Kad Kafe, while the China Kitchen serves fiery Szechuan cuisine from China, prepared with fresh, local ingredients from Chiang Mai.
The extensive spa facilities are a highlight of any stay at the Shangri-La Chiang Mai. The Health Club provides guests with a fully equipped gym alongside a tennis court, indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis, and sauna and steam rooms. Chi, The Spa, offers an herbal-focused spa menu, where treatments are delivered in private spa villas set around a unique lotus pond.
One of the most unique hotels in Chiang Mai is the Hotel Art Mai Gallery, which is located in the city’s trendy Nimmanhaemin district. This is one for the art-lovers because each of the luxury rooms at the Hotel Art Mai Gallery is decorated with the work of local artists.
Your cultural journey begins in the lobby, where you’ll find an abundance of artwork on display and for sale. It continues once you’ve checked in, with each of the six residential floors offering a different theme designed by different Thai artists.
The rooms on the second floor are devoted to Nude Art, the third floor is Op Art, the fourth floor is Pop Art, the fifth is Abstract Art, the sixth is Surrealist Art, and the seventh floor is Impressionist Art. Each room then has its own unique style and individual works of art, as well as all of the modern amenities you’d expect from a luxury, 5-star hotel.
Head up to the rooftop of the Hotel Art Mai Gallery, and you’ll have panoramic views of Chiang Mai from the terrace. Take in the views or take a dip in the rooftop swimming pool to escape the heat. There’s a fully equipped gym where you can work out, or you can enjoy a sumptuous taste of Thailand at the Jarid Thai Food restaurant.
Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort is one of the best luxury Chiang Mai hotels for couples and honeymooners. If that’s you, you’ll love how this beautiful boutique is perfectly located on the quiet banks of the River Ping.
The resort is built around a 100-year old Rain Tree that forms a dramatic backdrop to the open-air swimming pool in the central courtyard. There are just eight residences at the Na Nirand, and each has been artfully designed in the teak colonial style that was popular at the turn of the 20th century.
The hotel takes both conservation and heritage seriously, and the rooms are designed with sustainably sourced materials, while furnishings and decor have been handcrafted by local artisans. You’ll find rattan chairs, unique local fabrics, and much more at the Na Nirand. Each of the suites has a unique romantic theme, too, such as “Burmese Dream” or “Siamese Love.”
The resort’s breezy riverside restaurant is a wonderful setting for a romantic lunch or dinner. Time Riverfront Cuisine & Bar serves up an exciting menu of traditional Thai and Lanna cuisine, alongside views over the River Ping. After dinner, move to the rooftop to finish off the evening with a handcrafted cocktail or a glass of fine wine.
After a day of temple hopping and sightseeing in Chiang Mai, you’re going to love jumping into the refreshing water of Le Meridien’s outdoor Plunge Terrace. Order up a cocktail, sit back in the sun loungers, and take in the glorious sunset over the surrounding Doi Suthep mountain range.
Le Meridien is a 5-star boutique hotel that prides itself on merging European style and design with the local heritage of Chiang Mai’s rich Lanna culture. You’ll find that the luxury rooms are sleek and practical, yet packed with locally sourced decor and furnishings, and topped-off with elegant features like the marble bathrooms.
In addition to the outdoor plunge pool, you’ll love the hotel’s excellent spa facilities. You’ll find that the focus is on local, Lanna-inspired herbal treatments, and you’ll find that the Thai massages will be more than welcome during your stay at Le Meridien.
Le Meridien is conveniently located in Chiang Mai’s ever-popular Night Bazaar district, where street food vendors line the marketplace. There’s good eating to be found everywhere, but only if you can draw yourself away from Le Meridien’s excellent selection of on-site gourmet restaurants.
You can feast on pizza and pasta at Favola, enjoy an exquisite selection of international dishes prepared in the open kitchen at Latest Recipe, or order cocktails at the Latitude 18 bar.
The Chiang Mai Riverside is one of the most luxurious hotels in Northern Thailand. Like many of Chiang Mai’s best hotels, this boutique retreat is located along the beautiful banks of the Ping River. Unlike any other hotel, though, the Chiang Mai Riverside is a “Suites Only” establishment.
This 5-star “residential hotel” is perfect for anyone looking for a long-term but luxurious stay in Chiang Mai. You’ll have a choice of one- or two-bedroom suites and penthouses that are equipped with every amenity you might possibly need – and many more extras on top!
The suites at this top hotel are all designed with a wonderful mixture of modernist charm and Lanna traditions. There are oversized sofas with plush furnishings, super-sized beds with impossibly soft linens and covers, and spacious living areas where you’ll be more than pleased to hang out in your downtime.
Each of the suites comes with excellent views over the river and gardens, which you can best enjoy from the balcony. You can prepare your meals in the kitchen and enjoy dining on home-cooked cuisine around the lavish dining table.
If you’d love to stay within the historic walls of the Old City, then Phra Singh Village is one of the best luxury hotels in Chiang Mai. This 5-star hotel is hidden among narrow streets and alleyways, and you’ll be just a short stroll away from Chiang Mai’s most important heritage sites and temples.
Phra Singh Village complements the history that surrounds it, and you’ll love how the hotel’s architecture is inspired by the ancient Lanna Kingdom that ruled Northern Thailand many centuries ago. You’ll find that the hotel reflects the unique style of Chiang Mai’s pagodas and temples and offers a unique space in which to relax and embrace the local culture during your stay.
The hotel rooms are designed with the same style but mix traditions with modern amenities. There are beautiful wood floors, furnishings, and decor, alongside Nespresso machines and HD televisions. From your balcony, you can enjoy views over the hotel’s inner courtyards or over the surrounding Old City.
You can find an outdoor swimming pool in the center of the Phra Singh Village, as well as two spas set in traditional Lanna-style wood buildings in the gardens. The hotel’s Lan Chang Restaurant serves up a fine feast of traditional Lanna cuisine, with the vegetables sourced fresh from the hotel owner’s very own organic farm in the countryside!
Pink Nakara Boutique Hotel and Spa is packed with heritage, with a unique architectural design that will send you back in time to the 1900s. This luxury hotel is a throwback to Chiang Mai’s “colonial-era” when Europeans came to the city to source teak from the surrounding forests.
The hotel has a bright, whitewashed exterior, and it’s built in Chiang Mai’s unusual “Lanna Colonial” style, which merges Thai traditions with European influence. This is a boutique hotel through and through, and with just 19 rooms in this colonial mansion, you’re guaranteed to have first-class service from the attentive staff.
Each of those 19 rooms features polished teak flooring, oriental decor, Persian carpets, and elegant bathrooms. There are high-tech amenities as standard, as well as an extensive pillow menu for ultimate nighttime comfort.
The hotel overlooks an outdoor swimming pool that’s surrounded by plush loungers and umbrellas and completed by the outdoor Veranda bar that serves cocktails and coffees throughout the day.
Inside, you can order drinks at the Library, if you can find it! The Library is a cocktail bar and wine lounge stacked with travel books and maps from around the world. It’s also hidden behind a secret bookshelf, making this the perfect place to escape.
That’s not all. You’ll also be able to experience first-class treatments and massages at the Nakara Spa, as well as world-class Thai cuisine at the Nakara Restaurant.
Chiang Mai’s heritage truly inspires the Phor Liang Meun Terracotta Arts hotel, and you’ll love how this boutique hotel has gracefully preserved local styles and designs in its architecture and decor.
Although the hotel was only built in 2015, it’s guaranteed to transport you back centuries into the past, as you’re immersed in the Lanna culture of Northern Thailand. The boutique retreat is located within the Old City walls, too, making it the perfect place to embrace the local history.
You’ll love the hand-carved terracotta sculptures that greet you at the hotel’s entrance, as well as the signature carvings and artwork that are found in every room. The hotel’s founder also runs a terracotta business! Your luxury room will feature smooth wood flooring, as well as traditional teak furnishings that sit alongside flat-screen TVs.
The best rooms offer spacious balconies overlooking the central courtyard, where you’ll find more terracotta sculptures hidden among the gardens and alongside the outdoor swimming pool. The garden also provides guests with the opportunity to enjoy open-air dining, with a fine selection of Thai dishes on the menu.
One of the best hotels in Chiang Mai is the Rachamankha Hotel, which you’ll find nestled away in the Old City, just a short stroll from the best sights, markets, and attractions in Chiang Mai. This 5-star luxury boutique hotel is small in scale, offering just 25 rooms and suites, but it’s big on luxury, making this the perfect hotel for anyone in search of a touch of Thai tranquility.
The Rachamankha Hotel has been designed with authenticity at the forefront, and you’ll find that while this is very much a modern boutique stay, the walls are built in the same lime plaster style with which Chiang Mai’s temples have been built since the 13th century. The rooms are bursting with character, and each is individually themed and contains a wonderful collection of antique furnishings collected from across the world.
There’s an open-air massage pavilion, a library containing an extensive collection of over 2,000 books (many of which are antiques), and an alfresco restaurant serving up Burmese, Shan, and Lanna food in the hotel’s courtyard.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the outdoor swimming pool. It’s easily one of the top features of the Rachamankha Hotel!
11. Aksara Heritage
The Aksara Heritage is one of the best luxury Chiang Mai hotels, especially if you aim to surround yourself with local history and culture during your stay in the city.
Aksara Heritage is a unique hotel that’s located in the historic heart of Chiang Mai, just a short stroll away from ancient temples and the Old City’s famous Phae Gate. You’ll love how there are just 35 rooms at this petite boutique hotel, all of which are spread across three floors of traditionally designed architecture that’s inspired by Chiang Mai’s Lanna heritage.
Your room at Aksara Heritage has been inspired by the traditional Lanna culture of Chiang Mai, too, and you’ll appreciate the elegant wood furnishings and marble surfaces. The hotel enjoys mixing the traditional with the contemporary, and you’ll also appreciate the modern amenities and unique works of art and photography found in every room.
The best rooms offer views over the quiet, central courtyard, which is a literal oasis of greenery in the heart of Chiang Mai. You can relax in the tranquil, botanic surroundings or take a dip in the temperature-controlled pool in the middle of the courtyard. There’s a pool bar serving cocktails and snacks, but save room for an evening meal at the hotel’s restaurant, where traditional Lanna-inspired cuisine is top of the menu.
12. The Deer Resort
If you’d love to escape Chiang Mai’s city center, then The Deer Resort is one of the best countryside choices. It’s not far away from the Old City (just 10 miles), but you’ll feel as if you’re a world away!
The Deer Resort is a 5-star boutique stay that’s been designed in the classical Thai style. The architecture has been inspired by Chiang Mai’s many temples and pagodas, while Thai sculptures and artwork add to the style.
Rooms are spacious, with wood floors, teak furnishings, and individual works of art that add a real sense of character to your stay. All of the rooms at the Deer Resort have lovely terraces and balconies overlooking a central courtyard, where you’ll find a large, open-air swimming pool hidden among the greenery.
That completes our list of the 12 best Chiang Mai hotels! Did we miss any cool boutique hotels in Chiang Mai? Comment below so we can add them to the list!
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