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.