Le Meridien Chiang Rai: Getting Off to a Good Start
Le Meridien Chiang Rai starts the day off on the right foot and carries on from there. Words by Mark Bibby Jackson.
Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, it is also a great indicator of a well-run hotel. All five-star hotels may have buffet breakfasts for guest, but there are breakfasts and breakfasts. The one at Le Meridien Chiang Rai is the former.
Where else do you have a choice of four or five types of milk ranging from skimmed to full fat to add to your cereal – and I don’t even like milk? The range of bread, the strength of the coffee, the variety of cheeses and cut meats, even the different flavoured juices you have to choose from, all suggest that Renaud Mahe, the director of food and beverage, knows something about starting the day off on the right foot. Staff even come to your table offering daily specials, just in case you missed something on your initial excursion.
All this is a sign of a resort run well.
Le Meridien has a great advantage – its location. Set on the banks of the Kok River and designed around a lagoon, guests are surrounded by water. This creates the perfect setting to relax beside the pool, after a hard morning’s trek around Chiang Rai and its
surrounding hill tribe villages. The resort is also far enough away from the north eastern Thai town to create a sense of calm, while still being a ten-minute drive in the courtesy mini-bus from the central night market and bus station.
With a ballroom, meeting rooms, library, fitness centre and broadband internet throughout, Le Meridien has all the amenities of a city hotel, yet set w
ithin the spacious grounds of a riverside resort. The design is chic and contemporary with a hue of greys, silver and mahogany, yet still incorporates
hints of the resort’s Lanna heritage such as the green ceremonial vessel lids used as a wall decoration which greet guests at reception.
In addition to the all-day dining Latest Recipe, where breakfast is served, Italian restaurant Favola offers rustic Italian cuisine from its riverside setting. Be sure to book as it tends to fill up early.
One of the more unusual aspects of the hotel is the 24-hour running music in the lift and corridors selected by Le Meridien’s cultural curator, Jerome Sans. There is a distinct absence of Muzak here. The hotel has also partnered with the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park as part of its Unlock Art programme designed to encourage guests to explore the best of the destinations in which they are lodging. A complimentary mini-bus runs to the park every couple of hours, as it does to the centre of town.
With so much to detain you here, the only problem is you might miss out on Chiang Rai’s attractions altogether. Anyway there is always next year.
Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort
221/2 Moo 20, Kwaewai Rd, Chiang Rai, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 5360 3333