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Chiang Mai hotels? In town or at the 4 seasons?

Chiang Mai hotels? In town or at the 4 seasons?

Old Apr 27th, 2005, 01:30 PM
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Chiang Mai hotels? In town or at the 4 seasons?

I am going to chaing mai at the end of December…I currently have reservations at the 4 seasons resort and spa. I know it is outside of the city, but apparently it is amazing…a great view of rural Thailand and set in the rice fields. As I will be there for 3 night(Their minimum), I cannot decide if it’s better for me to stay at a hotel in town and not have to commute in…I know there are some great hotels closer to town, walking distance to the markets, shopping, etc. Have you been to the 4 seasons? I would love any recommendations regarding this decision…thank you so very much!
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Old Apr 27th, 2005, 06:22 PM
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it is quite a ways out and nothing to walk out to from there....all transportation comes at a cost..

there is the new oriental opening in town...see travel and leisure magazine for april 05...also a new chedi i believe...you might check them out...

i suspect 4 seasons may offer some discount rates...?? it is a fabulous place...the natural beauty is all man-made really for your pleasure...the rice paddy is made for the hotel and in its midst i believe...i do not think it was there before but i may be wrong...
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Old Apr 27th, 2005, 11:00 PM
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Actually the statement about all transport at a cost is not exactly accurate. The hotel offers complimentary transportation to and from town in the evening, so guests can shop at the Night Market.
There are also quite a few small shops in the area around the hotel...only one is walking distance (it's just opposite the driveway and has some beautiful antiques), but you can easily get to the others riding around on the bicycles that the hotel has available at no charge. We found this to be a nice way to see the countryside and get a little exercise at the same time.

The spa at the FS has won many awards, so if you are a "spa person" that will be of interest.

CM itself is a large, dusty and not particularly beautiful city. There are interesting things to see and do (such as Doi Suthep and the various elephant camps) and the shopping for handicrafts beats Bangkok hands down. But staying at the FS is a whole fantastic experience unto itself. It will make all the difference in the way you view your trip to CM. It's serenely beautiful and the perfect relaxing antidote to a hectic day of touring or shopping. In my opinion, it's totally worth the small amount of extra driving time.
From what I have heard about the Mandarin, less than half the rooms are completed, so construction noise may be an issue.
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Old Apr 28th, 2005, 05:30 AM
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First -- in terms of seeing real rural life at the 4 Seasons, you aren't. The hotel created the rice paddies and brought in the water buffalo etc. In other words they created a setting. Yes it's beautiful but if you're looking for "real" Thailand,this ain't it.

It really depends what you're looking for. I personally would never return to the 4 Seasons and I love Chiang Mai -- the vibe of the city as well as the things outside the city. Wherever you stay you will probably want a driver for at least part of your stay.

I've been to Chiang Mai six times and stayed at the 4 Seasons once a few trips ago. I will never stay there again unless I am on a honeymoon and want to spend my whole trip in you know where.
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Old Apr 28th, 2005, 03:18 PM
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To each his own! I never said the FS was the "real" Thailand, although everyone's perception as to what is real about a place is also pretty subjective. On my 3 visits to the FS, the service and style of hospitality have always been excelllent, which is very much a Thai tradition.
Personally, it doesn't matter to me if they created the place or found it standing there as is....it's been a comfortable, relaxing oasis after long hot days out and about, seeing many different parts of the region.

Staying in a luxury hotel in any given destination does not necessarily keep you from experiencing the place, (unless you never leave the hotel.) For me what it does is add another layer to the whole experience.....and I am fully aware that the environment created there is just the luxury hotel company's interpretation of the locale.
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Old Apr 28th, 2005, 04:01 PM
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We stayed at the 4S and hired a taxi which had taken us from the airport to drive us around on the days we wanted to spend in CM. He was not expensive (we made a fixed price based on number of hours) and he also ran lots of errands for us like laundry, shopping for medicine (sick kid). We called him on his cell phone when we needed him. Worked great! Loved the 4S, beautiful, great service, fab spa, total rest. The rice fields are lovely, but built for the hotel. The water buffalo are walked around the grounds every afternoon. Photo op, of course. This was 2 years ago and none of the intown hotels was in the same class. We also stayed at the CM Sheraton which was ok, but typical large hotel with lots of tour groups. BUT..the Prince of Thailand (the most important one) stayed at the Sheraton during the time we were there! Did not find the Sheraton location very good. IMO..if you can afford the 4S, it is a lovely place to stay. CM has many, many interesting temples well worth visiting. I found the shopping less good than it had been in years past.
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Old Apr 29th, 2005, 04:58 AM
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Lindsey -- just to clarify- I DO love Luxury hotels and believe they can enhance a travel experience. I only stay at the Oriental when in Bangkok. But I guess what is generally NOT my thing are resorts. I'm a city person and like to be in the middle of things. If the 4 Seasons had been in the middle of CM I probably would have liked it better. I've also seen so many rice paddies and water buffalos in the last 20 years of asian travel I wasn't awed by the setting they created.

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