The Best Boutique Hotels in Chiang Mai

Some of Chiang Mai's most opulent rooms are to be found  at 137 Pillars House on the Ping River
Some of Chiang Mai's most opulent rooms are to be found at 137 Pillars House on the Ping River | Courtesy of 137 Pillars House / Expedia
Photo of Emma Sparks
24 March 2021

Chiang Mai is the laid-back cultural hub of Thailand – a heady blend of ancient temples, hip cafes, art galleries, night markets and boutique hotels. Here are some of the best that you can book now with Culture Trip.

The Inside House

Boutique Hotel, Luxury
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The Inside House
The Inside House | Courtesy of The Inside House / Expedia

The 31 lavish rooms and suites at The Inside House are draped in white, green and gold, and feature terraces with freestanding tubs, espresso machines and L’Occitane toiletries; nearly half of them have private plunge pools. A smattering of hip cocktail bars line the street outside – if you can look past the taxidermied squirrels, Nophaburi Bar is the best place for late-night drinks.

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NA NIRAND Romantic Boutique Resort

Boutique Hotel, Resort
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NA NIRAND Romantic Boutique Resort
NA NIRAND Romantic Boutique Resort | Courtesy of NA NIRAND Romantic Boutique Resort / Expedia

With ornate lattice woodwork, hill tribe textiles and dark teak floors and furniture, NA NIRAND tastefully combines style, comfort and heritage. The garden pool and spa will tempt you to stay within the complex, but an excursion or two is essential. The boutique resort sits on the banks of the Ping River, next to a gilded Buddhist temple, Wat Chai Mongkhon; the historic centre of Chiang Mai is a 20-minute walk west.

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Rachamankha Boutique Hotel

Boutique Hotel
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Rachamankha
Rachamankha | Courtesy of Rachamankha / Expedia

High ceilings, shady verandas and colonnaded courtyards – it’s no surprise to hear that Rachamankha is owned by a local architect. Mr Ong-ard Satrabhandu has created an ode to Asian heritage, filling the boutique hotel with Thai art and Chinese antiques, plus a library filled with more than 2,000 books on history, architecture and more. Fancy taking a piece of art home? Take a tuk-tuk to Hang Dong, 14km (9 miles) south of the old town, for some of the best antique shopping in Chiang Mai.

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Villa Mahabhirom

Boutique Hotel, Resort, Luxury
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Villa Mahabhirom
Villa Mahabhirom | Courtesy of Villa Mahabhirom / Expedia

The 14 stilted teak villas (restored and relocated from central Thailand) at Villa Mahabhirom feature glass-walled living quarters and cosy upper-floor bedrooms with marble bathrooms. The hotel is a little way from the main Chiang Mai sights, but the airport is conveniently close, and Wat Umong temple, with its maze of 13th-century tunnels and grottoes, sits in the forested foothills of Doi Suthep mountain just a 10-minute walk away. Don’t miss cocktail hour by the onyx-tiled pool.

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Akyra Manor Chiang Mai

Hotel, Apartment
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Akyra Manor Chiang Mai
Akyra Manor Chiang Mai | Courtesy of Akyra Manor Chiang Mai / Expedia

Akyra Manor is in the trendy student neighbourhood of Nimman, near the university, just west of the moated old town. Soak up the mountainous skyline from the rooftop bar or cool off with a dip in the pool. The hotel can arrange photography tours and cooking classes – but you might just want to wander the cafe-lined streets towards the many dazzling temples of the city (try Wat Lok Moli for starters).

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Raya Heritage

Boutique Hotel
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Raya Heritage
Raya Heritage | Courtesy of Raya Heritage / Expedia

The boho-chic design at Raya Heritage gives more than a nod to northern Thailand’s Lanna heritage, with plenty of rattan chairs, hand-loomed fabrics and carved teak wall art. Suites feature oversized bathrooms with freestanding tubs, and balconies overlooking the Ping River. Unwind with a herbal steam session and hot bamboo massage at the spa or catch one of the four free daily shuttles to the old town (a 15-minute drive south) for a spot of temple-hopping and boutique shopping.

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Tamarind Village Hotel

Boutique Hotel
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Tamarind Village Hotel
Tamarind Village Hotel | Courtesy of Tamarind Village Hotel / Expedia
Built around a 200-year old tamarind tree, Tamarind Village is a green and quiet sanctuary with a pool, set in the centre of Chiang Mai old town. Garden-view rooms feature hill tribe textiles and handmade decorations – you can learn traditional crafts such as banana leaf folding and paper umbrella painting at the daily activity sessions. Increase your cultural immersion with a visit to two of the most impressive ancient temples in the city, Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phan Tao, which are just a few minutes away.
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De Lanna Hotel

Boutique Hotel
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De Lanna Hotel
De Lanna Hotel | Courtesy of De Lanna Hotel / Expedia
Rooms at De Lanna Hotel have hand-carved teak furniture and balconies overlooking the inner garden, complete with koi ponds and a saltwater pool. Essential old town sights such as the glittering Wat Phra Singh and bustling Sunday night market are practically on your doorstep. If you’re a food lover, take a day trip to the rural outskirts for a village market tour and cooking class at Sammy’s Organic Thai Cooking School.
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  • 137 Pillars House

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel
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    137 Pillars House
    137 Pillars House | Courtesy of 137 Pillars House / Expedia
    The centrepiece of 137 Pillars House has to be the eye-catching pool, flanked by a soaring vine-draped wall. Then there’s the 19th-century teak house sitting at the heart of the hotel, which was once the headquarters of Borneo Trading Company. The 30 suites are some of the most opulent in Chiang Mai, with four-poster beds, open-air showers and freestanding roll-top tubs. Stroll south along the east bank of the Ping River before hooking a right to reach the Night Bazaar.
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    Bodhi Serene

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel
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    Bodhi Serene
    Bodhi Serene | Courtesy of Bodhi Serene / Expedia
    The rooftop pool at Bodhi Serene is one of the best in old town Chiang Mai. Downstairs, rooms with hardwood floors and round bathtubs overlook a lush courtyard garden. Popular with selfie-takers (and pigeons), Tha Pae Gate – a well-preserved part of the ancient city wall – is just a short walk from the hotel; come in the evening to find live bands playing music and street food vendors galore.
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    The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai

    Boutique Hotel, Resort, Hotel
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    The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai
    The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai | Courtesy of The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai / Hotels.com
    Spanning 24ha (60 acres) of carefully manicured gardens dotted with rice paddies, lotus ponds, frangipani trees and two gigantic pools, The Dhara Dhevi is a work of art. The spa – resembling an ornate Burmese temple – is particularly dazzling, with 25 treatment rooms where you can get scrubbed, steamed and pampered. The two-storey teak villas and colonial-style suites are equally opulent, featuring huge private terraces and lounge areas. The airport and historic centre are only a short (and free) shuttle away.
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    Mo Rooms

    Hotel, Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    Mo Rooms
    Mo Rooms | Courtesy of Mo Rooms / Booking.com
    You won’t forget a stay at Mo Rooms. Each of its 12 unique rooms represents an artist’s interpretation of the Chinese zodiac – from rat to pig. With everything from handcrafted nest beds to jet-black bathrooms, they’re quirky to say the least. There’s a little freeform pool in the courtyard, but you’re better off chilling at the cafes along Thapae Road. Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is just around the corner.
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    Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa
    Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa | Courtesy of Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa/ Expedia
    This bright white boutique was only built in 2009, but pays homage to bygone eras with Lanna- and Thai-influenced colonial architecture and elaborate gingerbread-style wooden trims. There’s a splendid courtyard pool and Ayurvedic spa, and the riverside bistro next door does a wonderful afternoon tea. The markets and temples of the historic centre are a 20-minute walk away.
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    These recommendations were updated on March 24, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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