What We Love
- The Jetsetter rate includes all meals, nonalcoholic beverages and transfers to/from Chiang Mai Airport
- The rarefied yet relaxing atmosphere
- Beautiful decor, which has appeared in the pages of Architectural Digest
- The food: Howie’s wife Jerri is a fantastic cook and creates a button-popping feast at every meal; don’t miss her famous crab omelet
What To Know
- The Homestay is a good 30-minute drive from the city, temples and shops of Chiang Mai
- The villa is surrounded by nature and all the sounds that come with it; if you’re a light sleeper you might want to pack some earplugs to drown out the nightly frog choir
- This is a luxury stay at its most intimate; if you’re not comfortable with socializing with your hosts, this might not be for you
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Architecturally stunning retreat in northern Thailand with antique-filled villas set on five acres of lush grounds
Homeowners and hosts Howie and Jerri have spent seven years and millions of dollars building a vision of Lanna loveliness in the northern Thai countryside. Expect grand peaked villas filled with artworks and antiques from across Asia, a large, luminous turquoise swimming pool topped with stone carvings, and rambling gardens overflowing with bamboo, ficus and fig trees.
Bed and Bath
Designed by acclaimed American architect Bill Bensley, the property is made up of four sections. Surrounding the swimming pool on three sides are a couple of grand open-air pavilions, with a dining area, kitchen and lounge, and Howie and Jerri’s home. Tucked away in the wings are a huge three-bedroom house — perfect for families and groups of friends — and a romantic stand-alone villa with an outdoor bathtub and lily pond views. All of the decor is impeccable, from the specially commissioned hand-carved doors to the Burmese antique beds dressed with 500-thread-count sheets.
A big part of the experience at Howie’s is Howie himself. The Bostonian entrepreneur has been living in Thailand with his wife Jerri for more than 20 years, and he’s the most congenial of hosts, regaling guests with his extensive knowledge of art and antiques and tales and tips about the area. Meals are prepared by Jerri and her staff and are beautifully presented around a teak dining table (they can also be arranged in your villa if you prefer). The services of a driver and a masseuse are also available.
In the Area
For a change of pace, head to in-vogue Nimmanhaemin Road, where you’ll find leafy streets lined with coffee shops, cafés, wine bars and boutiques. Try Salad Concepts for an energy-boosting tamarind and sesame shot and a zingy low-cal lunch before fanning out into the streets behind to discover extravagant gold-topped temples, artisanal furniture shops, dinky modern art galleries and traditional Celadon ceramic-makers. Nearby Chinatown is perfect for fabrics, fans and street food. On the other side of the river, high-end shoppers can fill their Tumis with fine silks and hand-crafted candelabras at Vila Cini and Sopmoei.
How to Get There
Previous reviews have already described how wonderful the property and Jerri's food is, so I won't repeat them.
I was lucky to have contacted Howie in the early stages of my Thailand trip planning. Howie not only helped me plan our days in Chiang Mai, but he proceeded to help me plan our whole trip, including Bangkok, Chiang Rai, and Koh Samui. He gave me personalized recommendations on hotels, tour guides, and transportation. Everything was spot on. Always trust a local over what a travel book/site says! Howie will not do you wrong.
Some highlights of our stay at HHS - visiting open air markets, tasting local food with our wonderful guide Addy, a day with elephants, and enjoying the peace and beauty of the property. Each day at HHS was magical - I found myself waking up early just to make the most of each day.
If it weren't for HHS, we would have had the same predictable, touristy experience as most visitors to Thailand. We probably would have stayed in a hotel in Chiang Mai's city center, and thought that Chiang Mai was just another city full of tourists, tchotchke shops, tacky bars and massage parlors. But thanks to Howie, our experience of Chiang Mai (and all of Thailand), was authentic, luxurious, and delicious. We hardly saw any tourists at all, except at a few temples. It was one of the best trips of my life, and I don't say that lightly.
If you want an unforgettable trip to Thailand, start by booking with Howie's HomeStay.
This is a challenging review to write simply because Howie's HomeStay defies simple categorization: imagine a completely private Four Seasons style resort (the property was designed by the same architect who designed most of the Four Seasons Resorts in Southeast Asia), with an amazing personal chef (Howie's wife), and an incredible host / concierge (Howie). Another way to describe it would be like an uber-luxury Airbnb, but it is unlikely that Airbnb has any properties or hosts at the same level.
If you want a "local", luxury experience - look no further. I believe that this is the type of authentic experience that luxury hotels and resorts all over the world aspire to create. You will get all of the benefits of a world-class resort (incredible rooms, incredible property, friendly staff, amazing food) with all of the benefits of an incredibly well-connected, thoughtful, and helpful local host who doesn't have any ulterior, corporate motives. As just one of many examples, Howie helped book our airport transfer in Koh Samui (on the recommendation of his friend who owns a hotel there; you'll soon discover that Howie knows everybody) saving us over one-hundred dollars.
I work in the travel industry and have been fortunate enough to stay in incredible hotels all around the world. I wish Howie's HomeStay was the future of luxury travel. But it probably won't be, because there is only one Howie. I recommend experiencing it while you can.
Extraordinary room--amazing luxurious beds, all amenities you could need, beautifully decorated and curated. Our porch felt like our own world as we looked out on a serene pond filled with ducks, lily pads and an authentic gazebo/pagoda. Howie and his wife, Gerry, are truly magnificent hosts. Incredible meals (unreal Thai cuisine cooked by Gerry herself!) from breakfast to dinner, great conversation, and always attentive to our needs. We would come back again and again, hopefully to bring family and friends with us.
We don't know how to start a review of this place as we fell too much in love with Howie and Jerri's house and whatever we try to pen down is not going to do justice to his lovely gem. We stayed here for two nights after our wedding and it was our much needed break and we had an absolutely wonderful time. This place is way more beautiful than in pictures and each and every detail is so well thought of. It's an all round experience as both Howie and Jerri try to help us to great extent with our stay and itinerary. Howie himself drove us around the city to give us a quick tour and was so considerate as we had to do a few hospital visits in between. Jerri cooks the best Thai food I've had and with so much love :) Together they make the best hosts and their place is truly the best you can find :)
Hoping to go back here one day to sit and count the elephant statues Howie has in his place :)
Howie's was exactly as advertised (so I'll let the website do the talking, which while not modern, Howie ;), has rich content and pictures).
We were scheduling our honeymoon and (fortunately) felt like we had the world to choose from. We chose Howie's in the heart of rainy season (I had sleepless nights before and after deciding this that proved to be totally unfounded) and it was the best decision we could have made. Howie was helpful for weeks leading up to the trip (actually making flight recommendations, suggestions around things to do and see, and then checking in periodically), from the second we landed (driver to get you after 30 hours of travel), all the way to the day we returned home. The smallest details were not overlooked and we got a truly customized 8-day experience (actually deciding to extend from 5 days to 8 halfway through it was that good) surrounded by Howie, Jerri, Adi (sp), Jan (sp), and the rest of the amazing staff.
I can't imagine having gone anywhere else.