Meliá Chiang Mai opened in April 2022, the first five-star opening in the city since the pandemic. This is the third Thai property for the Spanish hotel group, the others being in Phuket and Koh Samui.
Where is it?
Close to the Ping River on Charoenprathet Road, with one of the city’s biggest night bazaars on its doorstep. A short distance outside the Old City walls, it’s a lively part of this growing conurbation, with plenty of restaurants and bars in the vicinity. Chiang Mai International airport is 6km away, about 15 minutes by taxi.
What’s it like?
This 254-room hotel comprises a striking seven-storey podium building, where the entrance is located, connected to a 22-floor tower.
The hotel promotes sustainable tourism through a variety of means, including having its own organic farm, from which its restaurants get much of their produce (any leftovers go back as compost, too); using biodegradable packaging; utilising refillable containers and dispensers in rooms; and providing drinking water in glass bottles.
There are seven room and two suite types ranging from 30 sqm to 113 sqm. I was in a ‘Level’ room, which at 30 sqm is the same as the basic Meliá room but with additional amenities such as a coffee machine and pods, access to The Level Lounge with its various daily F&B offerings on the 21st floor, and late check out.
Decorated with warm wood flooring, muted grey furnishings and a single tasteful artwork, the room was pleasant if unremarkable. A standard room layout had the wardrobe rail, robes, drawers, safe and minibar in the ‘corridor’ from the door to the main area. A 50-inch wall-mounted flatscreen TV faces the huge king bed directly, with a small shelf underneath it. The bay window is taken up by a sofa with bolster cushions, and next to that is a round table and chair, with a single electrical socket at ankle level. Both bedside tables have USB ports and the wifi worked well and connection was easy. The bathroom, like the bedroom, was modern, functional and adequate without being exceptional.
Food and drink
To the left of the lobby on the ground floor is the Ruen Kaew Lounge, where you can get afternoon tea along with the usual drinks and pastries. Also on the ground floor is the main Laan Na Kitchen, which serves Mediterranean cuisine but with interesting Thai twists. Breakfast is served here (6.30-10.30am), and I was impressed by the wide range of offerings, including freshly-made churros and tortillas.
On the 21st floor is Mai Restaurant & Bar, serving Thai cuisine derived from northern Thailand’s Lanna kingdom, but with subtle Mediterranean influences (open 6-10pm). I enjoyed an exceptional tasting menu here – and the views were pretty amazing too. Also on the 21st floor is The Level Lounge, the hotel’s executive lounge open to guests in ‘Level’ branded rooms or suites. You can have breakfast here (6.30-10am), though I’d recommend Laan Na Kitchen every time.
For the best views head up to the rooftop Mai The Sky Bar, the hotel’s jewel in the crown and a very trendy city haunt. It’s the highest such venue in the city, with 360-degree views from two bars connected by a glass bridge (open 4pm-midnight). Spanish tapas is available to complement the range of cocktails and other beverages.
The 358 sqm Yi Peng Grand Ballroom on the second floor accommodates up to 400 guests and has a 173 sqm pre-function area too, which is connected to the outdoor pool area. There are two function rooms, Fai Room 1 and 2, on the second floor of the tower building, plus the 185 sqm Khom Room on the podium building’s top (seventh) floor, which opens to a 222 sqm outdoor terrace.
Located on the first floor, the signature YHI Spa (open 10am-10pm) has seven treatment rooms and focuses on traditional Thai massage combined with modern wellness techniques. The herbal blended steam and exotic sauna is a very nice way to de-stress. On the second floor is a resort-style outdoor pool with plenty of loungers (open 7am-7pm), looked down on by a well-equipped, 24-hour fitness centre.
This is a welcome addition to an increasingly cosmopolitan city. Modern but still typically Thai, it excels in its F&B offerings and looks set to attract business and leisure travellers.
- Best for A great combination of European chic with warm Thai hospitality
- Don’t miss Sunset cocktails on the rooftop Mai the Sky Bar
- Price Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in May start from THB5,049 (£121) including taxes for a Level room
- Contact 46/48 Charoenprathet Road, Chang Khlan Mueang, Chiang Mai 50100; +66 52 090699; melia.com