Hotels I Visited in Thailand and Laos
Guest Post by Amy Perry Basseches
I’ll end the blogs on my trip to Thailand and Laos with a quick summary of the very nice hotels I visited on behalf of ActiveTravels members. Rest assured, if you are seeking a Five Star experience in Bangkok, Chiang Saen, Chiang Mai, or Luang Prabang, I have first-hand experience to pass along.
My favorite hotel of the trip was the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort, in Chiang Saen (not too far from Chiang Rai). While staying there, we also toured the nearby Four Seasons Tented Camp. The location is amazingly beautiful. Both are high on a hill, overlooking the border with Myanmar and Laos, on the Mekong River. You can see from balconies and hot tubs elephants grazing and roaming around. There are 160 acres of bamboo forest, indigenous gardens and rice paddies at the Anantara. And there’s glamping at its best at the Four Seasons — superb luxury tents. Interact with the elephants, enjoy the spa in the jungle, take a three-country cruise down the river. These hotels are quiet and offer delicious food. Perfect!
I also really liked our hotel in Luang Prabang, the Sofitel. Originally built as the French Governor’s residence in the 1900s, it is on the outskirts of town, and lovely. I had an enormous outdoor tub in my patio area. While we did not take a cooking class, the facility on-site looked outstanding. There is a sister property in the heart of the old quarter, in the UNESCO World Heritage neighborhood, called M Gallery 3 Nagas, where we ate a delicious first dinner in Laos. Lastly in Luang Prabang, we visited the Belmond La Residence Phou Vao Luang Prabang, which felt similar to the hotels in Chiang Saen, with calm mountain vistas and cloud forest. No bad choices!
In Chiang Mai, I’d like to feature 137 Pillars Chiang Mai. The main house of this small luxury hotel was built in the 1880’s as part of the Borneo Company headquarters (which was in the teak wood business in Northern Thailand); it’s a beautiful restored teak building. The 30 rooms and mouth-watering cuisine here are modern. We also stayed at the Anantara Chiang Mai (right in the center of the city, set on the grounds of the former British consulate, but very peaceful once inside…and wonderfully walkable to the Night Market!), and we visited the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, featuring two small lakes and a working rice farm, where I had an amazing lunch of Khao Soi Gai (Chiang Mai Yellow Curry Noodles with Chicken). I could envision being quite content at any of them.
I’ll let Steve and Lisa discuss the hotels in Bangkok, where they spent more time than I. Keep in mind that at many of these hotels, we can secure additional perks for our members and clients. Your comfort in mind, let me also assure you that Thai and Lao beer is top notch. Cha La Wan, Thai Amarit, Chang, Singha, Leo, and Lao were all sampled plentifully and can be recommended. Thanks to our destination partners Kensington Tours and Khiri Travel for all of their support and assistance on my 9-day journey in Thailand and Laos. Contact ActiveTravels for more information!