The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai
What We Love
- The traditional architecture makes this hotel feel more like a palace
- There are 60 acres to explore; start with the two outdoor swimming pools
- The Dheva Spa specializes in ayurvedic treatments and is a destination in its own right
- Le Grand Lanna Restaurant holds a nightly Thai dance show
- The library is filled with several thousand world-class books — a hint at the historical significance of this place
What To Know
- Jetsetter 2015 Best of the Best Finalist: Best Over-the-top Luxury
- The hotel is 10 minutes from town and 15 from the airport
- Le Grand Lanna restaurant holds a nightly Thai dance show
- Not a singles scene; better for couples and families (and you’ll see business travelers)
- Free WiFi
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
With architecture inspired by traditional Thai palaces from the Lanna kingdom, plus a spa fit for a queen, it’s not hard to feel like royalty at the Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai. Arriving at the lush 60-acre site, you’re greeted by a grand marble entrance and seven tiers of roof flanked by spiky pagodas that reach up to the sky. Greenery is everywhere: Orchid-filled gardens surround the white and terra-cotta buildings, and trees have been planted around the outdoor pools. The interiors are decked out in rich, Oriental colors, and there are luxe seating areas scattered around the half-dozen restaurants and bars.
Bed and Bath
The property has 123 spacious two-story teak villas, colonial suites and signature residences tucked away discreetly throughout the flower-filled gardens. All the villas have roomy terraces, many of which have their own private plunge pools overlooking an actual rice paddy. Expect split-level living, gazebos off the bedrooms, and whirlpool baths in some. Villas have alfresco massage and shower areas.
The hotel’s centerpiece is the 33,000-square-foot spa. Regarded as one of the world’s top ayurvedic centers, the impeccable building is modeled on an ancient Mandalay palace and offers such sybaritic treatments as a three-hour royal foot ritual and an 80-minute Kathi Basti warm oil massage. With more than a half-dozen restaurants on the property, you’ll have your pick of dining options. Craving Peking duck? Head to Fujian, which is styled after a 1930s Shanghai mansion. For some of the best French food you’ll find in Thailand, try Farang, where the signature dishes include duck liver prepared three ways and the wagyu steak. There are also signature cooking classes on offer (including market tours) for aspiring chefs. If you need a retail fix, head to the Kad Dhara shopping village, the on-site minimall, which sells everything from traditional crafts to luxury goods. Meanwhile, the huge outdoor pool is great for those with kids, and the daily wellbeing classes will keep yoga fans happy.
In the Area
Giddy-up at the Chiang Dao Elephant Camp and ride an elephant through the jungles of northern Thailand, visiting traditional hill tribes before wading down the Ping River. History buffs can head to one of the most beloved Buddhist temples in all of Chiang Mai, Doi Suthep, which is believed to date from the 14th century and has great city views. You can sign up for a rice planting activity, a great way to learn about Thailand’s traditions (available through the hotel), after which a water buffalo ride can be arranged — a fun option for kids (or the young at heart). Alternatively, Chiang Mai’s National Museum is well worth a stop for those craving a little culture; it features centuries-old Buddhist art, historic weapons and costumes. If you’re looking for a gift to take home, there are plenty of options. When the sun goes down the bargains come out at the colorful night bazaar in Chiang Mai, which features dozens of stalls selling everything from silk scarves and wood carvings to umbrellas and jewelry, all at rock bottom prices.
How to Get There
Even by Thai standards the service at DD is beyond excellent. With over 400 staff one shouldn't be surprised, but the kindness and genuine friendliness from all was truly welcoming. They have a superb management system there so that our particular dietary requirements once communicated, were known by everyone, who adjusted dishes in restaurants or at breakfast without ever needing reminding. Much appreciated.
We loved our Villa 21, it was hard to leave it for trips beyond the pools which were both spectacular and empty. The hotel was very quiet being off season, but we got the impression that it was never really busy, which is shame because it is so unique, both architecturally and environmentally.
We learned very quickly to use Grab for taxis on and off the hotel as they are a third of the hotel taxi price. It's only a 10-15 drive into the centre of CM and the hotel shuttle is regular too, last one being at 10 pm which worked well for us.
The restaurants at the hotel are good but not great - and pricey, but we must say how well we were taken care of at the Chinese and the duck there was really delicious. The little French tea shop was sweet too, but probably better in high season when there is a faster turnover of the cakes.
They have lots of bikes available to use when you are on site and with 60 acres of grounds to explore it's a great way to get about.
Yes the hotel does have the feeling of having seen better days, and of being a pawn in conglomerate takeovers over the years, but I understand that there is new management who are more receptive to necessary change.
The photos shown on the hotel site were obviously taken many, many years ago, and are very deceptive to what actually awaits one when they arrive! The main lobby, heavily featured in the photos is closed due to a leaking roof, and check in is in a small building outside the hotel complex. Staff had little or no English, and were not very helpful. Our villa, which overlooked the rice paddy, was in dire need of refurbishing, as were many other building we looked at - cracked walls, leaking roofs, mould, and a rather sorry excuse for a children's club. Restaurants were closed,
Check in was difficult as they requested payment, even though we had paid many weeks previously at nearly double the price they were now offering their villas for!! I don't think that even at this new lower price it is worth the stay. To put it simply, everything felt shabby and uncared for. A big pity as the complex has great potential and must of been a rather special place many years ago.
We reserved a hotel car for a 5 hour trip, and when we were in the car ready to go someone ran out of the temporary lobby situated outside the actual complex, and insisted we had to pay for the full day rate - at almost three times the price!!! And to rub salt in the wound, most of our trip was spent in an infamous Chiang Mai traffic jam. Our driver/guide did not have a word of English.
We paid for a 5 star hotel, though I note that prices have dropped considerably since we paid for our stay, A huge disappointment all round, and a rather costly mistake.
we have stayed 1 night in The Dhara Dhevi the oriental it so nice and good location and a short drive from the centre of the city. the Service was beyond 5 star i like it to experience anywhere else i love you