The Best Resorts in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Enjoy a day by the pool at the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort or explore the citys other relaxing retreats
Enjoy a day by the pool at the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort or explore the city's other relaxing retreats | © dave stamboulis / Alamy Stock Photo
Siobhan Grogan

Set on the banks of the Mae Ping river, the Thai city of Chiang Mai was the capital of the independent Lanna kingdom until 1558. Its intoxicating blend of ancient temples, silent rainforests, artisan coffee shops and bustling markets now attract nearly 11 million tourists each year to its riverside resorts and wellness retreats. Here’s our pick of the best – expect private boat cruises, Thai massage classes and even karaoke rooms…

1. Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort

Boutique Hotel, Resort

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Courtesy of NA NIRAND Romantic Boutique Resort / Expedia

Lovestruck couples will be smitten by this romantic resort close to the night market but still blissfully peaceful. Built around a restored teak house and a magnificent 100-year-old rain tree, 39 elegant rooms are decorated with handwoven cloth, murals from local artists and vintage tiles, while four gorgeous suites have freestanding roll-top baths. There’s also a small spa, a library, free bike rental and an excellent riverfront restaurant serving Thai and Lanna fusion cuisine.

2. Khum Phaya Resort & Spa

Resort, Chain Hotel

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Courtesy of Khum Phaya Resort & Spa, Centara Boutique Collection / Expedia

It’s all about the extraordinary pool at the Khum Phaya Resort, which winds through century-old trees and is on the doorstep of many of the hotel’s villas. Some villas have direct pool access or their very own pool, but regardless, all rooms have their own jacuzzi for serious water-based relaxation. A pool bar provides drinks and light meals by the water’s edge while an ornate Thai restaurant has views over the main lagoon-style pool and offers great vegetarian options.

3. RarinJinda Wellness Spa Resort

Resort, Spa Hotel

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Courtesy of RarinJinda Wellness Spa Resort / Expedia

When you need more than a holiday to recharge, a spa break at the RarinJinda resort might be just what the doctor ordered. Check in and then wind down with a semi-outdoor Japanese onsen hot-tub, yoga sessions, large swimming pool and hydropool. Complete the experience by booking the wellness suite, which has its own jacuzzi and includes a discount on in-house spa treatments.

4. Anantara Chiang Mai Resort

Resort, Chain Hotel

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Courtesy of Anantara Chiang Mai Resort / Expedia

Located on the grounds of the former British Consulate, this riverside resort is within walking distance of the temples and markets of Chiang Mai’s old city. It’s tempting not to leave the hotel at all though, especially thanks to a whole host of resort activities including Muay Thai and Tai Chi classes, lessons in traditional Thai massage and cooking demonstrations. The sunset river cruise is particularly unmissable, with drinks and tapas served as the hotel’s private boat slinks down the Mae Ping River.

5. ECO Resort Chiang Mai

Resort, Eco Hotel

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Courtesy of Eco Resort Chiang Mai / Expedia

Backpackers, budget watchers and those travelling in groups should find a room to suit at the ECO Resort Chiang Mai. Located on Bumrungraj Road, only five minutes’ drive from the city’s bus and train stations, rooms range from standard doubles with private en-suites to spacious mixed dorms with a shared bathroom and individual lockers. There’s also a casual all-day restaurant, huge 50-metre outdoor pool and weekend barbecue parties for meeting other guests from all over the world.

6. X2 Chiang Mai Riverside Resort

Resort, Chain Hotel

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Courtesy of X2 Chiang Mai Riverside Resort / Expedia

Up the “wow” factor with a stay at this riverside resort where guests are indulged at every turn. Think champagne breakfasts, lavish afternoon teas, complimentary kayaks, a library bar stuffed with chess boards and magazines, a chic spa as well as a saltwater infinity pool with fibre-optic lighting. Need more? Book a pool suite which comes with its own private pool, outdoor sunbeds and a bathtub big enough for two.

7. The Imperial Chiang Mai Resort & Sport Club

Resort

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Courtesy of The Imperial Chiang Mai Resort & Sports Club / Expedia

Make sightseeing a doddle by staying at this ideally-located resort in the Mae Rim district. The hotel is right on the most popular tourist route, close to the Queen’s Botanic Garden, the City Hall and the area’s golf courses, while the city centre is only 20-minutes away. Days on the resort won’t disappoint either, and you can spend your time trying out the impressive sports facilities – including tennis, squash, badminton and the Olympic-sized pool even serious swimmers will love.

8. Zensala Riverpark Resort

Resort

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Courtesy of Zensala Riverpark Resort / Expedia

Take time out in this sophisticated boutique resort on the banks of the Mae Ping River. Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you to take in the tranquil garden or river views, while some even have direct pool access for swims straight out of bed. There’s also a book and DVD library for cosy nights in, bike rental, a spa and an all-day restaurant serving a giant breakfast buffet and a mix of Italian and Thai classics.

9. Villa Mahabhirom

Boutique Hotel, Resort, Luxury

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Courtesy of Villa Mahabhirom / Expedia

Stay in one of the 14 antique Thai houses – ruean thai – dating back over a century at this resort on the road to the historic Wat U Mong temple, the original seat of Buddhism in Lanna. All are built on stilts with handmade clay tiles, but are packed with modern comforts including contemporary furniture, selected pieces from the owner’s private art collection and vintage freestanding baths. The resort also offers an Insta-perfect pool, a meditation room, spa and excellent restaurant – staff can even arrange hot air balloon trips over Chiang Mai.

10. Sireeampan Boutique Resort & Spa

Boutique Hotel, Resort

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Courtesy of Sireeampan Boutique Resort & Spa / Expedia

Bespoke pampering is part of the package at Sireeampan, a boutique resort with just 11 exquisite suites in a replica Thai manor from the 18th century Rattanakosin era. Guests can join Thai cooking classes, access a members-only golf club or sign up for a private sightseeing trip to visit local artisans, tribal villages and an elephant camp. There’s a pool, spa suite and even a complimentary karaoke suite, while breakfasts are delivered anywhere, any time, in a luxury hamper.

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