The Away Chiang Mai Thapae Resort is a vegetarian retreat, set in a quiet maze of lanes, only moments from Chiang Mai’s ancient moat and old city as well as the bars, restaurants and boutiques of lively Loi Kroh Road.

The bright white, colonial-style building boasts 39 rooms, including five with direct pool access – you can literally roll out of bed and walk five steps to the pool. The well-sized rooms and suites have dark wood floors, comfortable beds and appealing bathrooms with stylish, irregularly-patterned blue and white tiles, as well as private verandas overlooking the long, narrow pool. There are the usual amenities such as tea/coffee, satellite TV, mini bar (with soft drinks and vegetarian snacks) and also not-so-usual free ‘Handy’ phone which guests can take with them as they explore around town. It’s packed with local info and maps and allows for free international calls to select countries.

The hotel is new, and the GM is brimming with ideas of how to innovate and make the most of the ‘vegetarian retreat’ concept. Breakfast is mostly vegan with cereals, fruits, salad, bread, pastries, and a small selection of both Asian and Western hot dishes which vary daily. For lunch and dinner, the food from the a la carte menu is excellent and well presented. The fare was a delight for this vegetarian but also for my non-veggie friend who loved the mock chicken (made from a secret type of edible fungus). We found the Thai food delicious but the burgers need a bit more imagination to be up to a similar standard. The restaurant is beautiful, with black marble floors and wall paintings, in the hotel’s signature blue and white, depicting some of Chiang Mai’s most important temples. There is no alcohol available at the hotel but guests and diners are welcome to bring in drinks to have with dinner or for a peaceful nightcap on their balcony.

From the warm welcome on arrival from the ever-smiling doormen to the service in the restaurant, this is a lovely hotel with staff who are eager to please. It’s only set to get better.

 

HOTEL HIGHLIGHTS

From US$75 including breakfast

– Lots of electrical sockets in the room, great if you travel with multiple devices
– Breakfast starts early (0630) for those who want a full day of exploring, and goes on late (1030) for those who want a lie-in
– Only a short walk to the night bazaar and moments from Thapae Gate, yet still very quiet

– Bread selection at breakfast is a bit disappointing

LOCATION

Closest Airport: Chiang Mai International | Transfer Time: 15 min | Transfer by: Taxi

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REVIEW BY

Steve and CandiceSteve and Candice
Review Team

 

Chandra Residence is unlike any luxury villa we’ve ever stayed in. This expansive, serviced four-bedroom house has been designed with love and flair and has evolved from a family home into one of Chiang Mai’s most alluring places to stay.

The 800-square-metre house is located near the foothills of Doi Suthep mountain and feels a world away from the hundreds of Buddhist temples, quaint alleyways and coffee shops of Chiang Mai’s charming old city. In reality, both the city and the airport are only about 20 minutes away.

Each of the four bedrooms is unique in its design; all are furnished and decorated with a mix of local handicrafts and quirky design pieces. There are double or king beds and all are en-suite –- including one with a silver-tiled outdoor shower allowing you to wash under the trees but in complete privacy. There are no hallways, the rooms of the house simply flow, one to the other, interspersed with spacious dressing areas and with ample wardrobe space and adjustable lighting.

Much of the Chandra Residence house is glass-walled, merging the teak-floored and high-ceiled interior with the abundant nature outside. The living room is a fantastic space with one wall of glass, most of which folds back, allowing the room and the gorgeous pool area to become one space.

The huge kitchen is separate from the main house and is well-stocked with crockery and utensils as well as basics like tea, coffee and spices. The on-demand chef will be happy to whip up dinner for all the guests to enjoy in the open air at the long driftwood-style dining table.

You’re likely to spend a lot of time outdoors while you’re at the villa. The pool area has sun loungers, day beds and banquet seating offering plentiful spots to lounge around and enjoy the ambiance. Or there’s always the swim-up bar where a friend or family member can serve you directly from the kitchen.

Chandra Residence is a one-of-a-kind stay, suitable for everybody who likes their luxury with originality and creative design.

 

HOTEL HIGHLIGHTS

From US$850 with breakfast for up to 8 people

– Secluded, quiet compound
– Candles all around the pool area at night give a chilled, romantic ambience
– Responsive staff who are always ready with advice and recommendations

– Limited scope to walk out for dinner, best to hire a car or car and driver

LOCATION

Closest Airport: Chiang Mai International | Transfer Time: 25 minutes | Transfer by: Taxi/ Shuttle Bus

CONTACT INFORMATION

+66 (0) 819503350
hello@chandraresidence.com

Chandraresidence.com/

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REVIEW BY

Steve and CandiceSteve and Candice
Review Team

 

137 Pillars Suites and Residences in Bangkok had a lot to live up to, following in the footsteps of its multi-awarding winning sister hotel in Chiang Mai. And it does so in stunning fashion.

With 34 luxurious suites and 176 serviced residences, this hotel really stands out in a city blessed with its fair share of 5 star hotels.

The suites and residences have contemporary décor with all the modern conveniences you need for a trouble-free and comfortable stay. We stayed in a gorgeous 95 square metre Ayutthaya suite, named for the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam. This suite, as with all the others, offers the amenities you’d expect from a luxury hotel today – wide screen TV, Bose sound system and USB charging ports – but comes with some extras you don’t expect and a distinct character. As well as a walk in wardrobe, circular bathtub and exquisite toiletries, the suite had a pantry with maxi bar and wine fridge. Also, in one of the most appealing aspects of the suite, there is a balcony with day bed for two and a signature 137 Pillars rocking chair.

Suite guests have exclusive access to the Leonowens club lounge, a comfortable, quiet space with attentive and friendly staff. The lounge serves an excellent breakfast as well as afternoon tea and evening cocktails and is an ideal spot to unwind after sight-seeing or a busy day of meetings.

The hotel has two stunning infinity swimming pools. The pool on the 27th floor sits adjacent to the excellent gym and there is also a huge Jacuzzi pool. The rooftop infinity pool is reserved for suite guests only and offers 360 degree views of the Bangkok skyline as well as a rooftop bar and cabanas.

If you want a change from large, chain hotels and prefer a smaller property with personalised service, beautiful décor and excellent amenities, then 137 Pillars House Suites and Residences Bangkok is sure to fit the bill.

 

HOTEL HIGHLIGHTS

Suites – US$560; Ayutthaya Suites – US$647; Residences – US$210

– Convenient location on Sukhumit Soi 39, a short walk from the BTS and EmQuartier mall
– Excellent restaurants, particularly the beautiful decorated modern Thai-European Nimitr which is worth a visit even if you’re not staying at the hotel
– Exemplary service levels, outstanding suites and facilities

– Evening canapés in the Leonowens lounge were a bit limited for a vegetarian

LOCATION

Closest Airport: Suvarnabhumi | Transfer Time: 40 minutes | Transfer by: Taxi/ Shuttle Bus

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REVIEW BY

Steve and CandiceSteve and Candice
Review Team

 

The anticipation grows on approach to Kata Rocks, from the visually stunning photos on the website and numerous magazine covers, to the ‘buzz’ about this hip resort. Expectations are high.

The small reception area is staffed by young, enthusiastic staff in Kata Rocks polo shirts, and then it’s onto a golf buggy for a short ride down a precipitous road to the resort itself.

In the bright Thai sunshine the resort’s iconic infinity pool with white, in-water loungers are blinding and the view across the Andaman Sea quite breathtaking. The 34 villas, ranging in size from one to four bedrooms, are situated on the hillside overlooking the sea and huge boulders that give the resort its name. Each of the multi-million dollar villas is ultra chic, with top of the range Italian designer furniture.

Our stay is in a one-bedroom ocean pool loft which, like all the villas, has a full glass wall looking out to the terrace, a 7m private infinity pool and the deep blue sea beyond. The living area includes a 55-inch HD LCD TV with digital movie library and an entertainment system with iPod and MP3 integration. The fully-equipped kitchen has a well-stocked wine cabinet by Verasu as well as a full-size fridge, dishwasher, oven, hob and washing machine.

Up the cantilevered stairs is the slightly cramped but comfortable bedroom. Once again, the view takes centre stage with the bed offering a beautiful sea view through the glass wall. There is also a 40-inch TV in the ceiling if you can tear your eyes away from the mesmerising view.

The resort includes a well-equipped gym with state-of-the-art cardio machines, as well as a holistic spa with high-tech treatment rooms. In-villa spa treatments are available and the one-bedroom spa pool villas even have their own treatment room with two massage beds.

Although the larger villas are ideal for families or groups of friends, Kata Rocks really stands out as a romantic getaway for couples who appreciate the finer things in life.

 

HOTEL HIGHLIGHTS

One bedroom Sky Pool Villa USD$1000; one bedroom Ocean Pool Loft USD$1150, both including breakfast

– The restaurant uses the highest quality produce and produces superb meals, including the à la carte and buffet breakfast
– All the villas face west allowing guests to watch the sunset from their private infinity pools, the terrace or even from bed
– Very well stocked wine cellar with many premium quality wines available by the glass

– Staff seemed to lack the genuine warmth that Thais are famed for
– The resort’s in-house newsletter promoted a local elephant show

LOCATION

Closest Airport: Phuket International | Transfer Time: 1 hour 25 minutes | Transfer by: Taxi

CONTACT INFORMATION

+ 66 (0)76 370 777
reservations@katarocks.com

www.katarocks.com

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REVIEW BY

Steve and CandiceSteve and Candice
Review Team