I think we found heaven!
For anyone who has ever watched the TV show "Inside the Actor's Studio," you know that James Lipton asks guests a series of questions (written by someone who's name is escaping me right now) which includes, "If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?" Our answer without a doubt is, welcome back to The Mandarin Oriental Chiang Mai.
My husband and I spent one month in Asia this past year, and we ended the trip in Chiang Mai. After the chaos and insanity of Bangkok, this property put us both into a state of relaxation we'd never experienced before. We spent our days eating and getting massages (The Oasis Spa in town is fantastic, inexpensive, and they will pick you up / drop you off at The Mandarin), and our evening eating more and wandering this incredible property. Everywhere you look is fantastic. We booked one of the converted Rice Barns by the vegetable garden. It was spacious, well appointed, and just peaceful. Upstairs was our bedroom, bathroom, and balcony. Downstairs was an outdoor living room and dining room. All were exactly what you hope for when you book something that is luxurious, yet unique to the location.
The rice patties are beautiful. You can take a bridge over them and head to the pool for lunch. The staff is helpful, professional, and almost invisible. for instance, at sundown the entire property is lit up with oil torches, yet we never saw anyone lighting anything. Everytime we left our room, housekeeping would make the bed, or drop off towels, yet we never saw a single housekeeper. It bordered on bizarre. We tried the Thai restaurant and thought it was fantastic. The soft shell crab appetizer is worth its weight in gold.
We're already planning our trip back next year!