Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai: A Kingdom of Luxury
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Jan 15 2015

Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai: A Kingdom of Luxury

The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai has been named the best hotel in Thailand and year after year it sits comfortably within the rankings of the top 50 hotels in the world. It is modeled after a traditional Lanna kingdom complete with streams and ponds winding through the 123 palatial villas and suites. The property sits on a sprawling 60 acres and is so large that staff get around on bikes and guests can call a golf cart shuttle to their room to take them to breakfast or anywhere else on the property. If you get antsy in your suite or villa, guests can check out bikes of their own and explore gardens, rice paddies and winding paths. An antique Thai house sits near the center of the property where “grandmothers” sit making traditional crafts and teaching children how to make them as well.

The Room

Dhara Dhevi offers two types of accommodation: Thai style villas and colonial suites. We stayed in a Colonial ground floor suite with a lovely view of the pond and private path leading to the green lawn from our spacious porch. Our suite had a living room, bedroom, huge bathroom with jacuzzi and separate rain shower and a half bathroom in the front hallway. The suites range from 1,130 to 2,691 square feet and the incredibly high ceilings made the space feel even bigger.

A walk-in closet in the bathroom and his and her sinks would make it a nice place for a longer stay or honeymoon. The bed was perfect and we were pumped to find oversized down pillows waiting for us.

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The Grounds

In addition to the 123 spacious villas and suites, Dhara Dhevi has five restaurants, a market, boutiques and craft shops, rice paddies, tennis courts, two swimming pools, an organic vegetable garden and the list goes on. The entrance is marked by a guard tower in keeping with the kingdom theme, and the main part of the resort is surrounded by a protective wall.

The shopping areas are meant to bring the traditional Thai market right into the resort and feature artisan goods as well as jewelry, a tailor and The Dhara Dhevi Cake Shop. We were tempted by the Instagram famous macaroons but only enjoyed a coffee and juice.

No Thai kingdom would be complete without rice and yes, the Dhara Dhevi even has rice paddies. Rice picking classes are available so you can learn about the traditions of rice farming and kids can even ride a water buffalo. If you don’t want to wade around in the paddies you should still take a walk along the raised paths among the patches of rice.

The water buffalo has a couple friends who live on the resort. A few ponies take turns offering cart rides to guests and three miniature horses can be found grazing on the lawn outside the colonial suites during breakfast.

The Food

We enjoyed both lunch and dinner at Le Grand Lanna restaurant, Dhara Dhevi’s traditional Thai dining option. The restaurant is modeled after traditional teak Thai houses and most seating is outdoors on the spacious patio. The menu is the same for lunch and dinner and since it is served family style, we got to try several dishes. Our favorites were the cereal-crusted longan stuffed with prawn, the yellow Indian curry and the traditional Thai appetizer platter. Red curry with soft shell crab was also delicious.

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During dinner, dancers perform in front of musicians playing traditional Thai instruments. The costumes were beautiful and we were glad to have a front row seat so we could see the detail up close. If you want to catch the show at 8, make your reservations for around 7:30 so you can get settled before it begins. Don’t skip dessert, the lime and Thai basil sherbets are delicious!

We loved Dhara Devi’s signature cocktail which combines ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime and chiles for a complex spicy drink. It was nice to have a distinctly Thai cocktail that wasn’t overly sweet. (Thai’s love their fruit juice, syrup, liqueur cocktails.) In the Horn Bar by the lobby, the bartender made us a Tom Yum Martini which had similar flavors, but was a lighter option.

The breakfast was really impressive and had the usual Thai and Western options but also several flavors of homemade yogurt and a huge selection of fruit. It was cool during our visit so we enjoyed breakfast on the patio with a view of the miniature horses below.

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The Spa

The spa building is a sight to see in itself. The exterior is covered in carvings and sculptures recreated from the designs on the burmese palace in Mandalay. The exterior was hand sculpted by 150 local Chiang Mai artisans and took more than three years to complete.

Before our spa experience began, we were seated with a doctor for a quick health consultation to help select which treatments would be best suited to our bodies. We then headed over to one of the private treatment villas for our massages. We both had hot herbal compress massages. The treatments were excellent, the pressure was exactly what we were hoping for and the oils were wonderfully scented. The entire experience blended well into the luxury and comfort of the Dhara Dhevi.

The Dhara Dhevi blew us away with its incredible grounds and amazing service. The entire staff was helpful, polite, and displayed the highest level of hospitality prowess. Our private butler was great with anticipating our needs and was ready to make recommendations or meet any request. The resort is a beautiful place to stay and truly captures the essence of Northern Thailand. We only wish that we could have stayed longer!

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Quick Tips:

  • Stay here for a luxurious, quiet and green experience.
  • Located near the train station and only 15 minutes from the airport. Should you desire to see the real markets of Chiang Mai, the Old City is only a few minutes away.
  • Families and groups might enjoy the villa options, but the colonial suites are spacious as well
  • If you can’t stay the night, check out the daily dinner show at Le Grand Lanna restaurant at 8 p.m.
  • Visit Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai online for more information and to make a reservation.


Poplar Travels was a guest of Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai. Our opinion is always our own. 

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Evanne and Eric left jobs in Washington, D.C., headed for Chiang Mai, and look forward to exploring everywhere in between.


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