Hotel Review: Meliá Chiang Mai in Thailand | Luxury Lifestyle Magazine

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Words by Mark Hodson

When I first visited the Northern Thai capital of Chiang Mai in the 1990s, it was a sleepy town with a moat, some pretty temples, ancient brick stupas and a busy night market. For many visitors it served as a place to book multi-day treks to hill tribe villages.

Chiang Mai today is a destination in its own right – a vibrant, restless little city with a creative buzz and an exciting food scene. Though it has lost none of its charm – the temples, the moat, the stupas are still there – it now attracts artists and musicians, university students, hip young Asian tourists, digital nomads, and visitors and expats from around the world.

There’s no shortage of accommodation options, from home stays and hostels to five-star hotels, the latest of which is the Spanish-owned Meliá Chiang Mai which opened its doors in April 2022, with towering views over the Old City and the Ping River.


melia chiang mai lobby
The impressive lobby of the Meliá Chiang Mai

The Meliá Chiang Mai occupies one of the first high-rise buildings in town, which has been completely refurbished and upgraded. There are two towers: a seven-storey podium and a 22-storey skyscraper with spectacular views.

Inside, the design draws liberally from traditional hill tribe designs and materials, combined with blond wood, rich patterned fabric and contemporary styling. The lobby is particularly impressive.

There’s a spa, pool, gym and so on, but one feature is really set to put the hotel on the map: a two-storey rooftop bar offering panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside. With a design inspired by Mon hill tribe villages, including some clever use of bamboo, the 22nd-floor Mai Sky Bar will be the highest rooftop bar in Chiang Mai and the hottest ticket in town for sunset cocktails. It is due to open shortly.

Any visitor to Thailand will tell you that people working in the service sector are mostly helpful, friendly and polite, but the staff at the Meliá Chiang Mai are exceptionally gracious and always keen to go above and beyond in any way they can. I can’t imagine anyone coming away from this hotel and not feeling utterly charmed.


melia chiang mai suite
The hotel features several categories of spacious accommodation including The Level Suite

The hotel has nine categories of room from its lead-in Meliá Room (30 square metres) to the 20th-floor Presidential Suite (113 square metres). The Meliá Room is packed with amenities including a king-sized bed, iron and ironing board and tea and coffee making facilities.

If you want a bit more space to spread out, the Premium Corner Room (54 square metres) has a chaise-longue that stretches the length of a glass wall plus table and chairs. The Level Suite (62 square metres) also features a round bathtub and sweeping city views.


melia chiang mai food
For a treat, head up to the 21st-floor Mai Restaurant for traditional Thai cuisine

There’s a focus throughout the hotel on Northern Thai cuisine, served with a distinctive Spanish accent. That means at breakfast in the lobby-level Laan Na Kitchen, you can order a Spanish omelette with chorizo or a Thai-style vegetable omelette, along with freshly-baked patisserie, tropical fruit and pretty much anything else you could imagine.

For a treat, head up to the 21st-floor Mai Restaurant for traditional Thai cuisine and ingredients sourced from the hotel’s own organic farm. I particularly enjoyed the baked salmon with nham prik oong, gurmar leaves and steamed pandan rice. Other signature dishes include khao khaab hor goong, a chilled prawn salad wrapped in sesame rice paper with piquillo peppers, fried tofu, fermented rice noodles and fresh Vietnamese mint.

The Mai Restaurant doubles as the club lounge. Book a club room and you’ll not only enjoy the view from a higher floor, but you get all-day soft drinks and, between 5.30pm and 7.30pm, an open bar and a selection of hors d’oeuvres.


melia chiang mai spa
The hotel spa offers a range of relaxing treatments

The Meliá group’s signature YHI Spa here has an underwater theme with decorations inspired by hill tribe fabrics and Chiang Mai’s Old City walls. There are seven treatment rooms – doubles and singles – with walls painted deep blue, which gives you the feeling of floating beneath the sea. There’s a sauna and steam room in both the men’s and women’s changing rooms. My traditional Thai massage was outstanding with lots of relaxing before-and-after care including tea served on a comfortable day bed.

There’s a small but attractive swimming pool, gently salted rather than chlorinated, surrounded by plenty of loungers, chaise longues and double chairs. There’s also a pool bar which stays open until 7pm and, if the fancy takes you, a well-equipped gym open 24 hours a day.

For families

melia chiang mai kids club
Younger guests can enjoy fun amd games at Kidsdom

From three years old, children can spend time at Kidsdom, a large, well-equipped and supervised indoor play area with everything from a TV gaming lounge to a nap room. It’s fully air-conditioned and opens from 9am, with a weekly rota of activities – free for guests – every day between 9.30am and 6pm. A children’s pool is due to open shortly.


Numerous airlines fly direct between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, with a flying time of one hour 20 minutes and very competitive fares. The overnight train journey is also an enjoyable experience.

Double rooms at the Meliá Chiang Mai start at 4,500 Baht (£108) including breakfast and taxes.

Address: 46, 48 Charoenprathet Road, Chang Khlan, Thailand, 50100.

Phone: +66 52 090 699



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