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Chiang Rai hotel location

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I'm really struggling to figure out where to stay in Chiang Rai. My impression is that in most places in the downtown area are not considered very nice and the more highly recommended places are a bit further out of town, requiring taxi or tuk-tuk to go back and forth. I'm almost ready to make a reservation but I'm having a hard time deciding.

I've identified 2 places that get good reviews that are in the lower-mid price range: Baan Soontree and Baan Nattawadee. I get the impression that Soontree is closer to the downtown, but other than it has a pleasant pool and cute bungalows, I don't get a feeling about the place. I like the more personal aspect of Nattawadee, but it's further away from town. My big fear is feeling "stuck" and not being able to get into town when we want. We'll be there at the end of January, so I don't think the pool will be that important for us.

I'd like to keep the cost under $100 and be in a place that has pleasant & comfortable ambience. Convenience is important, too, but I'll weight this with the other factors. The more personal touch - warm proprietors, welcoming staff - is also a quality I'd like to have.

Any feedback or recommendations? I'm really overwhelmed here. The good news - I've already booked the popular guide Jermsak, so I'm confident I'll be having a great time, no matter where I stay!

Thanks for your help, as always!

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