Rome wasn’t built in a day – and Villa Mahabhirom is a great example of that. It took three design-savvy friends seven years to build this hidden luxury retreat in one of Chiang Mai’s lesser-visited neighborhoods.
In contrast with most luxury hotels in Northern Thailand, you won’t find much Lanna architecture at ’The Villa of Great Pleasure’. Each one of the 14 stilted Thai villas dotting the walled garden is sourced from the provinces in central Thailand, most of them over a 100 years old. The antique houses were deconstructed and meticulously restored to its original state, turning the property into a living history museum.
Every corner is tastefully decorated with a mix of historical sculptures and antiques from the owner’s private collection. The mid-century modern furniture in the living rooms and around the swimming pools, combined with the contemporary art and ceramics used throughout the hotel balance out the antique elements perfectly, giving the whole property a contemporary feel.
In addition to the fascinating architecture and artworks on display, it’s the lush greenery that adds the finishing touch. Wherever you look, a multitude of palm trees, cacti and other sorts of foliage provide the perfect backdrop for some serious relaxation.
Small in size, big on service
From the very first moment we met Villa Mahabhirom’s greeter at the airport, it was clear: we’re in good hands. After being greeted with a nameless sign (done deliberately to ensure guests’ privacy), we were escorted to a spacious van where cold towels and water were provided. A 15-minute ride later, we entered the hotel lobby and were greeted by name by the friendly staff and amiable General Manager Mr. Manfred. For such a small property, the hotel is very well staffed to ensure that all guest’s needs are taken care of.
As expected, amenities are top notch. All villas consist of a spacious bedroom, separate bathroom, and an open-air ‘living room’ on the ground floor, each decked out with everything you’d need for a comfortable stay. Noteworthy were the custom toiletries by the high-end spa brand Pañpuri, and the vintage free standing bathtub in all bathrooms.
Also – and we never thought we’d be raving about a hotel room’s toilet, but – the porcelain throne in our white Italian marble bathroom was an outstanding feature. The heated seat, automatic bidet and warm air dryer (!) were exactly what we needed to recover from the food poisoning we developed the day before our stay (note: not from the hotel food!).
Most room rates include an a-la-carte breakfast with a mix of Western and Thai options all done to perfection.
Lovely, leafy Umong
Located in the leafy Wat Umong area, a charming neighborhood with a small town feel, Villa Mahabhirom’s location couldn’t be more perfect. Away from the tourist crowds in the old town, yet close enough to the hot spots on and around Nimmanhaemin – a 20-minute walk or short Uber-ride away.
You don’t even have to venture that far, though. In the immediate surroundings, you’ll find enough spots to keep you occupied for a lazy day or two. Between greenery-clad apartment buildings and lush Thai gardens, the area is dotted with Instagram-worthy cafes such as ‘No. 39 Cafe’ and the artist village ‘Baan Kang Wat’. A visit to Wat Umong, a unique ‘underground’ temple complex just 10 minutes from the hotel comes highly recommended, too.
- If you’re traveling in a group of 4 or more, opt for one of the courtyard-style sets of villas that come with private swimming pools.
- Villa Mahabhirom’s proximity to the airport is a blessing and a curse. Be prepared for airplane noises throughout the day.
- If you prefer more privacy, ask for one of the villas in the back of the resort.
- The restaurant, (part of the) spa and tea room are open to non-staying guests, for if you don’t feel like splurging on accommodation but still want to check this place out.
62 M. 10 T. Su Thep
Chiang Mai, Thailand 50200
+66 053 271 200
Rates start at US$ 240/night (including breakfast) – Check availability
This stay was hosted by Villa Mahabhirom, but expressed opinions are 100% our own