Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa
What We Love
- Just 19 large guest rooms, each decorated with handcrafted furniture and Thai silks
- A spa that specializes in Ayurvedic treatments
- Relaxed French dining in the Nakara Jardin, thanks to a Cordon Bleu–trained chef
What To Know
- The airport shuttle fee is $20 (one way) per vehicle
- Children 12 and under stay free in their parents’ room
- Pets are not allowed
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
One of Chiang Mai’s loveliest colonial-style hotels, the Ping Nakara is a vision of graceful gingerbread architecture with fretwork made of the teak that gave the city its colonial-era wealth. The designers made abundant use of natural materials but added modern conveniences and comforts like free minibars and WiFi throughout. The restaurant specializes in high-quality renditions of traditional Thai fare, and by request, the chef can prepare a special tasting menu of dishes that date from the Teak Wallah period. A second restaurant in a garden specializes in French cuisine and pastries.
In the Area
The hotel is centrally located in Chiang Mai near Wiang Kum Kam, the recently restored ancient capital city (abandoned more than 700 years ago), and the Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre, the modern city’s premier museum. It’s also near the Tha Phae Gate, a historic site that’s also home to a worthwhile night market, and the Meng Memorial Bridge. Any visit to Chiang Mai should include a day or half-day trip to Wat Pra That Doi Suthep, a temple on a hill about ten miles from the city, that’s sacred to Thai people.
How to Get There
First, I want to say that I made a huge mistake booking this boutique hotel. Yes! It is all that the glowing reviews say it is!
Had we come for a simple weekend break, it would have been wonderful. But we came for just what the hotel says it offers: an intimate, romantic, peaceful oasis. It certainly CAN be, but this weekend had a couple with a crying infant and other couples with noisy, boisterous children. We met Europeans who flew a long way and were very tired, only to have these noisy kids at dinner at 9 pm and we had experienced the same kids at 6 pm that evening. Children are children. We accept that babies will cry and siblings will squabble. But when you advertise “intimate, romantic, quiet...” you expect to have those adjectives ring true. It is entirely MY fault for not confirming an “adults only” policy. There are VERY FEW true adults only places: Sensimar hotel brands, Rachamankha in Old Chiang Mai City, and very few others throughout southeast Asia.
Ping Nakara has little to entice children: no kiddie pool, no toys, no separate playroom as does the Shangri La nearby, yet they do offer baby-sitting services. I can only imagine that those who bring kids here want what WE want: intimate and romantic vacations with few guests at the place. Having only 19 guest rooms, it should be more quiet, but all it takes is one crying infant to crush that intangible effect of silence, leaves fluttering, birds chirping, and the sweet more quiet sounds of pure nature.
Next time I will ensure I read the reviews and filter my search with the word “children”. I cannot fault anyone but myself for not having the perfect birthday weekend for my husband. I know Asians put family and children highest on their priority list. However, our stress-laden society needs quiet oases. Ping Nakara COULD choose to fill that adults-only niche craved by many of us. I believe there is a huge market for NO CHILDREN boutique hotels. I believe PG could see a 90-100% occupancy if they targeted this growing sector of travelers. Oh, and do not be fooled by searching “adults only hotels” on the internet.
Many hotels pop up and almost none is adults only! You must search using NO CHILDREN or search the property on Trip Advisor using CHILDREN as the word. The families bringing kids very much enjoyed Ping Nakara. It is a beautiful hotel deserving of all of its awards!
We stayed here as part of our wedding anniversary celebration trip. The hotel and room room had an old world charm, was well maintained and very comfortable. We loved the special touches like the rose petal bath that awaited us on check-in, complimentary in-room snacks and champagne. The staff were always helpful and spoke good English. The breakfasts and dinner we had in their cosy restaurant were perfect.
We stayed here for 6 days, the hotel is lovely, a gem. The staff and hospitality where top notch. House keeping do an excellent job, everywhere was pristine.
We arrived a day late due to flight delays and missed connections, I advised the hotel from the airport and they where kind enough not to bill us for the missed night.
As for the location, we found it great. Walking distance to all the main city sights, yet far away enough to avoid the crowds and noise.
We love Chiangmai Mai and we love Ping Nakara. We stayed there during the Loy Krathong festival. So the location was perfect to watch the floating lanterns and krathong because the hotel is close to the river. It was a busy time for Chiang Mai but when we returned to the hotel, it was peaceful and quiet. This is a very charming hotel. The room is very spacious and well decorated. The service is so friendly. Breakfast is also good. Thumbs up.
My husband and I really enjoyed this small, colonial style, romantic hotel. We enjoyed the quaint feeling compared to the large, typical hotels. They use an old fashion key to lock your hotel room door instead of the credit card style electronic key. The staff are very nice. Great location to night market. The hotel is next to the river and we noticed more mosquitos during our late afternoon swim. The pool is beautiful, a little cool but felt great after sightseeing all day. They offer happy hour with delicious fruit drinks. The room and bathroom were both exceptionally large with high ceiling. We loved the hardwood floors with a large asian rug. The lightening is little poor in the room but if you don't mind dim room light you will enjoy the ambiance. A wonderful amenity included are free snacks and local candies as well as a few soft drinks, juices and water in the refrigerator which they replenish daily. Breakfast buffet offered a lot of choices, they had soy milk for my husband who is lactose intolerant, french toast was delicious.