In central Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, the Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort is the epitome of calm and elegance, perched on the riverbank.
Half-wood colonial Lanna style architecture, reminiscent of Thai house design from the late 19th century, takes you back in time. Rooms and suites are decorated with wood and rattan furniture and fittings, and beautiful Lanna woven cloth patterns, all made by local craftsmen, add to the hotel’s elegant and simple authenticity.
The gardens are full of many indigenous plants, enhancing the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity and at the resort’s centre a stunning swimming pool is in view of the giant one hundred year old Rain Tree – the hotel’s focal point.
My room on the ground floor near reception was very welcoming. I particularly loved the colourful oversized headboard covered in traditional textiles and the dark wood fixtures and fittings. As well as a bath tub there was a spacious walk in shower and a good range of toiletries was provided (including a separate shampoo and conditioner – always a good sign).
Breakfast is served in the restaurant by the river. Arrive early if you wish to sit at the much sought after riverside tables. A wonderful variety of bread, pastries, fruits and cereals as well as cooked breakfasts are available, but I found myself so charmed by the location by the river, watching the occasional boat drift by, that I can scarcely remember what I ate.
A rooftop terrace above the restaurant, with more enchanting river views, is the perfect location for sundowner drinks and a great spot should you wish to catch the sunrise.
And the Na Nirand is just 15 minutes by car from the Chiang Mai International Airport.
Everyone at the hotel was charming and extremely helpful and while I didn’t dine in their restaurant, other than for breakfast, its riverside location is hard to beat. My visit to Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort was fleeting and far too rushed but I hope to return one day to enjoy the tranquillity of this beautiful hotel, just as it should be enjoyed, namely in a leisurely manner.
Things to see and do in Chiang Mai
Na Nirand is just over a mile from Chiang Mai’s historic centre and visiting temples here, especially Wat Phra Singh, is an absolute must.
If you are after some pampering I’d also recommend a visit to the Oasis Spa which happens to be right next door to Wat Phra Singh.
About 12 miles from the city centre, Chiang Mai Celadon is a wonderful place to visit for some exquisite souvenirs and to see the traditional glazed ceramic tableware and home decor being made, all in a beautiful setting.
For more shopping visit the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar which opens at around sunset (6pm) and starts closing down at around 10.30pm, although many stalls stay open later. It spreads out to a number of streets from its centre at the crossroads of Chang Khlan Road and Loi Khro Road. For better quality products (and a higher price tag) visit the two level, purpose-built Viang Ping Night Bazaar, near Tha Phae Road. Here you’ll find more authentic handicrafts and better made clothes using quality fabrics.
For more suggestions of things to see and do in Chiang Mai, visit TripAdvisor.
Where to eat in Chiang Mai
My favourite restaurant in Chiang Mai is Ginger & Kafe, one and a half miles away overlooking the city moat. The food is superb and beautifully presented and the decor is a little quirky, harking back to years gone by with antique furniture and large comfy sofas.
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Disclosure: I visited Thailand as a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, AmazingThailand.org.