Roam+Board :: Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

FourSeasonsChiangMai

[trip style = luxe + foodie + sun + spa]

Editor's Note: This R+B is part of a series on my luxury jaunt to Asia. Earlier posts include: flying Cathay Pacific's business class, exploring Hong Kong and checking into the Four Seasons Hong Kong. Look for a wrap-up in a few weeks, when I take you on an elephant trek in the Golden Triangle {where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet}. 

What
Staying in hotels as my passion project and my living means resorts are much more than a stay I've sought out, or an assignment I've been given; they are my second home, my source of inspiration and my global community {from the room attendants to the other guests}. And sometimes, I can't shake certain stays.

The Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai is one of them. Sprawling 20 acres over botanical gardens and a working rice farm in Northern Thailand, the resort's tall curvy roofs, open-air living and stepping-stone pathways, designed in an ode to the area's Lanna Kingdom heritage, are only part of its je ne sais quoi. Looking back, the reason I can't {and will never} shake this stay, is the property's personality. In a word, it's got soul. 

Built around gently cascading rice terraces, 64 pavilions accompanied by a private outdoor living room {aka: sala} beg you to be. Three hours later, you realize you drifted away. While I'm normally a go-go-go gal, the surrounding quietness and beauty lulled me into a never-never land. Beyond the pavilions, a collection of 34 pool villas and private residences round out the wild and with-it accommodations. 

Aside from a sightseeing and shopping visit to the 700-year-old city—Chiang Mai is the cultural capital of Thailand—a trip to the Spa and a few sun sessions by the infinity pool, I spent most of my time consuming Northern Thailand's famous fare like kaow soi gai {the area's signature yellow curry noodles with chicken} in the hotel's four restaurants.

My culinary crescendo came on the last night in the hotel's Cooking School when under the tutelage of Chef and local restaurant owner Nuttaluck Roswan, I prepared green papaya salad and noodle-wrapped fried chicken in an exotic dining pavilion sporting exposed-beam ceilings, timber floors and a symphony of copper pots.  

You find the soul of a place through its food. Combine this with the Four Seasons' trip styled setting, it's no wonder I fell so hard. Trip Styler approved.     

Trip Styler Tip: Leave your Jimmy Choos at home; the cobblestone and teak pathways are better tailored to flat soles over spikes.

Where
In Chiang Mai, Thailand's Mae Rim Valley, 30 minutes from the Chiang Mai Airport {CNX} and 20 minutes from the city.

When
Chiang Mai's weather ranges from warm to hot year round. August and September accumulate the most rainfall, so while there's no bad time to visit, most stay between October and May.

Who/Why
Garden variety resorts aren't for you. You want something savvy with soul. A place to be pampered, yet go rice planting; to eat well, yet sharpen your kitchen skills in a cooking school.

Cost
Rates start around $487 a night and include use of mountain bikes, an area resort shuttle, a sauna and herbal steam room. Note: The Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai skews towards adults, though small ones are welcome and will gush about their own pint-sized resort experience due to the kids club with daily activities.

Photos

 Adult pool

Adult pool

 Main pool

Main pool

bigpoolFSChiangMai
 Chic seating perched over main pool

Chic seating perched over main pool

 The dining scene at Sala Mae Rim, one of four resort restaurants

The dining scene at Sala Mae Rim, one of four resort restaurants

 Pad Thai {when in Rome}

Pad Thai {when in Rome}

 Dessert: sweet coconut soup with taro pearls

Dessert: sweet coconut soup with taro pearls

 The Cooking School

The Cooking School

 Mixing my own green papaya salad in cooking class

Mixing my own green papaya salad in cooking class

 Ask for it: Rice Field cocktail

Ask for it: Rice Field cocktail

 A server offering Monsoon Valley, Thailand's only locally made, beautifully flavored sparkling wine

A server offering Monsoon Valley, Thailand's only locally made, beautifully flavored sparkling wine

 My pavilion

My pavilion

 My bathroom

My bathroom

 My outdoor sala, attached to every pavilion

My outdoor sala, attached to every pavilion

 Inside the sala

Inside the sala

 Lobby lights

Lobby lights

 Floating flower arrangements, a familiar sight in every corner of the 20-acre property

Floating flower arrangements, a familiar sight in every corner of the 20-acre property

 Two workers--part of a staff of 50 full-time gardeners--tending to the rice fields

Two workers--part of a staff of 50 full-time gardeners--tending to the rice fields

 The rice paddy parade, an end-of-day procession happening every night at 4.50pm

The rice paddy parade, an end-of-day procession happening every night at 4.50pm

More Roam+Board
Four Seasons Hong Kong
Korakia Pensione - Palm Springs 
La Gazelle d'Or – Morocco
Mandarin Oriental – Las Vegas
Hotel Lone – Croatia
Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay - Lanai

[photos by @tripstyler, except top photo and cooking school via Four Seasons Chiang Mai, taken as a guest of the hotel]