The Anantara Chiang Mai is the city’s most stylish haven

On a heritage high

With its expertly conceived proportions, the Anantara Chiang Mai cuts an impressive dash on the banks of the Mae Ping river – right in the heart of the busy northern Thai city. While Chiang Mai itself continues to morph into a more hectic, savvier version of its former self, the property’s aesthetics – designed by Australian architect Kerry Hill – have stood up to the vagaries of design.

This naturally makes the Anantara Chiang Mai’s 84 guest rooms, decked out in luscious angular wooden furniture, the ultimate retreat. A day out in Chiang Mai would ostensibly encompass exploring centuries-old inner city temples, elephant camps as well as pilgrimages up to Doi Suthep, the highest and the holiest point of the city. The hotel, with its team of city insiders, are well-adept at suggesting the best times to set off on the 45-minute drive up the mountain, during peaceful evenings before sunset when the crowds have thinned, and moments before the monks begin their evening chanting.

At the property, however, there is an inviting nocturnal counterpoint: The Service 1921 – a glammed up restaurant and bar evoking a more romantic era where spies were dashing and debonair and definitely not drones. Here, interiors are part private gentleman’s club and part movie set from The Kingsmen, both notions of which are expressed through dark paneled woods, secret cabinets holding a wealth of intelligence materials, as well as a private dining room, accessible through a hidden door. At The Service 1921, three chefs map out Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai culinary traditions with dishes as varied and delicious as duck breast salad with chili, mint, and ginger; Vietnamese grilled eggplant and Chinese Cheng Du DanDan noodle with minced pork, Sichuan chili oil. The restaurant’s outdoor space, incorporates a verandah, a structure harking back to the building’s original incarnation as the British consul’s residence.

The bar downstairs provides Chiang Mai with a destination watering hole that also puts a decidedly British spin on things. It’s popular with both locals and tourists with a drinks list prepared by an enthusiastic mixologist with offerings and ideas that race beyond the city’s other hotel bars.

Anantara Chiang Mai

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