137 Pillars House

Overview: This new hotel in the middle of the charming Wat Gate area of Chiang Mai boasts a classy colonial style. A cluster of 30 suites surround a hundred-year-old Lanna-style teak house, once the local residence of the director of the British East Borneo Company (which logged teak) but which is now reborn as the hotel’s lounge, gallery and bar. The name of the place derives from the original structure of the hotel, which stood on 137 teak pillars. There are four types of suites, with sizes ranging from 70 sq meters to the 135-sq-meter pool suites. And with all the centuries-old banyan trees around the property, you won’t feel like you’re staying at a brand-new hotel.

Food & Drink: The Dining Room offers all-day dining with both Western and Northern Thai selections. Their signature is khaopad larb (fried rice with Northern-style spicy minced pork salad). The Jack Bain’s Bar offers a homey spot to enjoy drinks amid Lanna artifacts, while The Drawing Room looks more like a private gentlemen’s club where you can enjoy books, board games and booze. When the skies are blue and it’s not too hot, afternoon tea on the daybeds by the pool is a must.

Spa & Facilities: The Spa pampers guests with Asia-inspired treatments, ranging from aromatherapy to Thai massages. Another jaw-dropping highlight is the rectangular swimming pool, which is hidden near the old teak house and sits against a 10-meter-tall vertical garden.

Rave: Stepping into a suite is like traveling back in time at least 100 years to experience how affluent Westerners lived. Not only are the exterior and interior designs beautiful, they are practical and there’s a great attention to details, too, so you won’t feel like you are touching knock-off artifacts. We could easily spend the whole day here without stepping foot outside of our suite. The staff are attentive, too.

Rant: For the prices you pay, the food and cocktails aren’t quite there yet. But this is a new hotel, so we might give them a little more time to get up to scratch.

Rates: From B5,355 for a 70-sq-meter Rajah Brooke Suite, exclusive of tax, if you book at least 14 days in advance. Best available rates are from B6,300, exclusive of taxes. Top Koaysomboon

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