Chiang Mai: Mandarin Oriental

Mar 11th, 2005, 11:14 AM
  #1  
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Chiang Mai: Mandarin Oriental

Has anyone stayed at the new Mandarin in Chiang Mai?

I have heard some complaints about serious mosquito problems in the resort. I am booking a 5 night stay and trying to figure out how many night I should spend in the Mandarin vs. the Four Seasons.

Please let me know what you thought of the resort. Thank you!
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Mar 11th, 2005, 11:39 AM
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I have not stayed there but there are often "teething" problems with any new hotel/resort and the Mandarin is very new. It is also a lot more expensive I think. However, it is also much closer to the city so much better if you plan on doing things in the city itself.

The 4 Seasons is absolutely gorgeous although too remote for me. I haven't been to the Mandarin but I consider it the top hotel chain in the world so I am sure it will be wonderful but it may be even more wonderful a year from now.
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Mar 11th, 2005, 01:24 PM
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Thanks for that. Wow you are fast.

Mandarin is running a promotion, so the rooms are greatly reduced for the opening period. I didn't realize that the hotel is that much closer to town.

Really worried about the mosquito problems. I called the hotel and the staff told me that it is not a problem; but to avoid the mosquitoes, I should not open the windows during the day and should use A/C instead??!!! Seems like there is a problem to me.

Given the location, I will probably then choose to do more nights in the Mandarin than at the 4 seasons.

I definitely want to experience both hotels. Have you stayed at the 4 seasons? If so, have you been on any of the tours organized by the hotel?

Thanks!
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Mar 11th, 2005, 01:40 PM
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To be honest, mosquitoes are a problem in Chiang Mai outside of the big commercial hotels. But it's not one that will ruin your trip and keeping the window closed and the a/c on will help a lot.

I stayed at the 4 Seasons and it's gorgeous but I hated being that far out of town. I'm not a "resort" person so it was all somewhat wasted on me. However,if you like resorts it is very special indeed.

Teh 4 Seasons is about 45 minutes outside of the city. I'm not sure how far the Mandarin is but I think it's more like 20 minutes. I'm sure someone else can tell you for sure.
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Mar 11th, 2005, 01:41 PM
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Forgot to ask -- what's the promotion rate?
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Mar 11th, 2005, 02:21 PM
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We stayed at FS this February and it was a fabulous place. We wanted a relaxing place so this was perfect for us. Regarding mosquitos and open windows. We kept our bedroom closed all the time. When we wanted to be outdoors, we stayed in our private sala outside the room. We had some meals there and relaxed there a lot during the day.

Check the Oriental's website,to see if their rooms have some sort of a sala outside. If they do, then don't worry about the mosquito problem.When surrounded by tropical plants and good views, you wouldn't want to stay inside your room.

We did two tours through the hotel. Elephant/river rafting and the Doi Suthep/handicraft road. We availed of the packed lunch while river rafting. Should you decide to get your tours from the hotel, I would highly recommend getting the lunch. It was a lot of fun picnicking on a raft while drifting on the river.

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Mar 11th, 2005, 02:37 PM
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The rates are quite good; for example, the delux villa with outdoor jacuzzi at $485 vs. $660 standard rate. Almost $200 saving. But as you can imagine, these rooms are being booked fast, so do it early and save some.

I am not much of a resort person either and am a huge fan of gaining a sense of the local life. Thus, treasure local markets and regional cuision.

From your past postings, I suppose that you would recommend using Poon for Chiang Mai. I was going to book guides through Mandarin and 4 seasons.

Also considering using Ratt for Bangkok, although Sukhothai claims that they have great guides as well.

I am strangely particular about private guides. I like the kind of guides who can tell me interesting stories and provide a holistic picture of the history, culture, philosophy and local traditions. I want to understand the place and its people.

Would you say that Poon and Ratt are that type of guides?

Also, when are you going to Thailand again?
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Mar 11th, 2005, 02:43 PM
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Gloria - sorry, just read your earlier postings and realized that Ratt is not a guide, but a driver. I will try to find a good one then for CM and BKK, otherwise I will go with the ones the hotels recommend. Cost is not an issue - we just want to make sure that we have a great guide.
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Mar 11th, 2005, 02:51 PM
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Martinan: Thanks for the advise. I will check with Mandarin and figure out if we have a sala.

Sounds like the FS tour was fun. Did you like your guide? If so, do you remember the name? Was it a private tour?
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Mar 11th, 2005, 03:15 PM
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I'm afraid that if you stay in a tropical area then however 'sanitized' your accommodation may be things like Mosquitoes are a fact of life. Take the proper precautions is all you can do, most places take the precautions of not having stagnant water around etc but there is only so much they can do regarding what is natural in the enviroment. The Mandarin is created in a natural enviroment so you have to take it as that.
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Mar 11th, 2005, 03:19 PM
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True. I will arm myself with "OFF", "BEAT", "Skin-so-soft" and any other insect repellents that I can find. Should probably also opt for mosquito net at night then.
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Mar 11th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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Good idea !! Another thing you can get is is one of those fly swots that electrocutes them when you swot them, makes a bit of a crackly sound as they get roasted. I know Geckos can make a mess but they sure keep the mozzies away.
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Mar 11th, 2005, 03:43 PM
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Great - this will truly add to my tranquil and relaxing trip. Just what I was looking for - electric-shocked mozzies.
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Mar 11th, 2005, 05:38 PM
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By the way, the only repellants that are long-lasting (more than about 30 minutes) contain deet. The best concentration of deet is betweem about 24% and 36%. More isn't better. But you have to cover all exposed skin (think about the way you apply sunblock - same thing for repellants).

Skin-so-soft contains citronella which will repel mosquitos for 20-30 minutes.
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Mar 12th, 2005, 04:50 AM
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Hi Travelfeet. Our tour guide's name was Noot. She was very nice and informative.We were in the car for 45 minutes and it was non-stop talking. I guess we asked too many questions. Yes it was a private tour.

We had no problems with mosquitos during the day. One night when we went outside, we did encounter them but the hotel had those coil green things for mosquitos and when we lit it under the table, we did not feel them anymore.

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Mar 12th, 2005, 09:19 AM
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For a guide in CM, try Sergeant Kai at ChiangMaitours.com. We had Nooy from his staff last year and she was great. Take a look at the set tours and then if you want something different, they will be glad to customize.
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Mar 13th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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Travelfeet... It might also be a good idea to check out whether you need to take malaria tablets for your trip in Northern Thailand... I seem to remember that they are recommended in that part of South East Asia...
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Mar 13th, 2005, 08:44 AM
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I was just looking at photos of the Mandarin in a local Thai magazine and the whole design is based on trying to make it unlike other places, and to make it as close to nature as possible. No accommodation built in such an enviroment can guarentee there won't be mozzies, If the chance of mozzies is of a high concern perhaps stick to a CM city hotel. Mozzies use stagnant water to bredd to they can really be anywhere. But you would reduce that potential in a heavily built up area.
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Mar 13th, 2005, 08:47 AM
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Those coild work well and are very cheap. Those of us who live in the tropics rarely if ever take the pills, we would take some precutions, using the coils, perhaps stray once in a while, maybe in a jungle area some rub on stuff, but if you are living all the time the pills are really out. I am not suggesting for a moment that visitors take the same lazy approach, certainly not, but I think all you can do is take the necessary precautions and that's about it, then get on with your vacation enjoyment.
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Mar 13th, 2005, 10:32 AM
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www.cdc.gov/travel has the best travel medine info.

The question asked earlier about anti-malarials: no, the area around Chaing Mai is not considered malarial-risk. Only when you get much farther north into the Golden Triangle or into the Thai-Cambodia, Thai-Burma and Thai-Laos border areas is malarial a problem.
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