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
- 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
My family and I stayed at the grand villa for 3 nights 4 days. The hotel is beautiful and I especially love the trees and the atmosphere in general. Here are a few let downs during our stay
1. Our villa butler didn’t answer the phone and disappeared. When we called him he didn’t even know who we were.
2. Rooms in need of renovation. Doors are rusty. AC wasn’t working properly.
3. Our pizza from lunch on the first day remained on the table until the next day. Cleaning service didn’t bother to collect it.
4. Lights were all off in the open common area at night. My parents both tripped and hurt themselves.
For the price that we pay, this service is very very poor indeed. Four seasons offer much better service at this price. *** Slight improvement was made after we complaint though.
However, these are quite impressive.
1. Spa is excellent. Best massage ever.
2. Pools are great
3 breakfast is great
4. Stunning picturesque view
5 amazing trees everywhere.
I would recommend it but just note the above flaws. I hope they will improve. It’s a place with a lot of potential :)
This is one of those places you never forget! There is nothing like it. The Dhara Dhevi is an experience in an of itself. The grounds are expansive, ornate and quite spectacular.
I read some negative reviews during my research and some complain that it's 'old and run down'. Well yeah, that's part of the charm. It would look like a Four Seasons if it were pristine. That's not the intent here.
This hotel is first class in so many ways from the 5 star service (seriously, they knew what we needed before we did) to the expansive grounds. I wasn't crazy about the comfort of the bed (when compared to other luxury hotels I've stayed at) and the food was just okay (we ate at the Hona Bar, Thai restaurant and breakfast buffet), but that's okay. The hotel and people make up for all of it!
I definitely recommend renting bikes and exploring all the nooks and crannies of this place. So much to see.
We arranged for the hotel to pick us up from the airport. That was a nice touch because we got to speak with them a little before our arrival.
By the end of the trip, we were comfortable enough with the area that we just arranged for a Grab (it's like our Uber) back to the airport.
Spent 4 nights over New Years at the hotel. The villas are lovely. Well appointed 2 floors with a living room 1st floor and bedroom bathroom 2nd floor. Our villa had a small pool.
Breakfast was incredible. Food choices from all over. The staff was always friendly and helpful. Service both in the villa and restaurant was attentive and speedy. The gym was nicely outfitted and well maintained. The hot tub could have used a bit more heat.
The grounds are beautiful, peaceful and unlike any hotel I have stayed in before. Well worth a walk around.
The hotel and it’s property is big and it is beautifully built. If there is peeling paint it really just makes it look more authentic. The rooms were big and clean and very nice furbished.
We enjoyed Italian and Thai food and it was in both restaurants delicious. The dancing in the Thai restaurant was beautiful.
We would go again, it was very beautiful.
This hotel was recommended by friends who stayed here in 2017. They raved about the hotel, the property and the activities, so we decided to stay here for 5 nights.
Check in: efficient and helpful. Our butler took us on a tour of the property upon check in.
Transportation while on property: We rented bikes (free!) and used those instead of the golf carts while on property.
Villa: I emailed about a week ahead of our stay to ask for a well maintained villa as I had read all of the 2 and 3 star reviews on this site and was concerned about various levels of upkeep and cleanliness. Our 2 bedroom villa (#97) was probably very grand in 2004. It has its own private pool and baby grand piano in the living room (which my kids played every day!). It was fairly well maintained but it was in need of a deep clean, new bedding, and some overall upgrades. The lighting and all AV components are so outdated. One bathroom shower didn’t drain at all, so we only had one shower for the 5 of us (not a big deal). Our villa came with a full kitchen and was stocked with typical minibar items.
Property: stunning. We liked the property and enjoyed biking everywhere. It looks much better at night so the peeling paint isn’t showing. The gardens/public spaces are very well maintained and lovely.
Pool: the pool at the fitness center and our private plunge pool at the villa were both freezing. My kids wouldn’t swim in it. The “hot” tub at the fitness center was luke warm - not hot, but my kids were happy to splash around it in after a session of Muay Thai.
Activities: we did a private Muay Thai class with Kitty which was excellent!
Fitness Center: small but has all essential items for working out: 2 treadmills, weights, some weight machines
Food: We loved the sweet shops and tea time. Breakfast buffet was excellent and had tons of options. We liked the Chinese and the Thai restaurants. Very authentic. Bring bug spray to the Thai restaurant - it’s an indoor/outdoor situation.
The highlight: New Year’s Eve gala was exceptionally well done and special. The buffet was out of this world! They had many different kinds of food: Western, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, raw bar, fruits, vegetables, and the desserts! We took photos of it all and ate as much as we could from 8p-1am. The entertainment was really impressive. We especially loved the live band and danced all night. The festivities at midnight were spectacular: fireworks, lantern lighting, champagne, and lots of dancing!! I would highly recommend coming here for the New Years Eve gala. It was a truly memorable experience.