Throughout my girlfriend’s Southeast Asia birthday getaway, we had been fortunate sufficient to spend time at two 4 Seasons properties in Thailand. Our keep on the Koh Samui property was filled with solar, seashore and rest, and we knew that Chiang Mai can be a totally totally different vibe, however we didn’t know precisely what to anticipate earlier than we arrived.
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After a day of nonstop actions in downtown Chiang Mai, we had been excited to get exterior of town, verify in on the lodge and see whether or not this property would match the excessive bar set on the Koh Samui property.
As 4 Seasons doesn’t have its personal loyalty program, our solely possibility was to pay money — not less than I’d earn tons of Chase Final Rewards factors with the 3x journey bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Although it was expensive, I believed by way of methods to maximise worth when reserving at 4 Seasons properties.
First, I contemplated reserving the lodge utilizing the Citi Status Card, which gives the fourth night time free on all lodge stays (Be aware that this profit might be altering in September). Nonetheless, we had been solely staying for 3 nights, so the Citi Status was out.
Onto the following.
I then thought-about reserving the lodge by way of American Categorical Positive Lodges and Resorts, utilizing my Platinum Card® from American Categorical. By reserving by way of Amex, we’d be entitled to day by day breakfast, early check-in, late checkout, an improve (topic to availability) and a $100 spa credit score for use throughout the keep.
I spotted that by reserving with Virtuoso, I might do even higher. Not solely would I obtain the entire FH&R facilities, however I might additionally get the additional benefit and personalization of working with a devoted agent who knew my preferences.
The Virtuoso charge matched that of Amex FH&R, which was about 19,000 Thai baht (about $600) an evening for the Backyard Pavilion — a fairly commonplace low season worth at this property.
My passport says that I’m 25 years outdated, however I’m proud to have the habits of an 80-year-old grandpa (born in Boca Raton, Florida, so early-bird dinners and mahjong had been my childhood). So, whereas 25-year-old me might have wished to remain within the downtown middle of Chiang Mai, 80-year-old me was thrilled to be worlds away from the bustling metropolis.
The 4 Seasons is 20 miles from downtown Chiang Mai, a 40-minute drive from the wild downtown events that start lengthy after my bedtime. However I actually wouldn’t advocate renting a automobile and driving your self to the lodge. We misplaced cellphone sign within the woods close to the lodge and would’ve been in deep trouble if we had been counting on our cellphone’s GPS to direct us. We pulled as much as the resort’s essential gate and will instantly scent the forest that we’d name dwelling for the following three nights.
The resort had 98 rooms, 64 commonplace rooms that they referred to as “pavilions,” 12 pool villas and 22 non-public residence leases. Some pavilions confronted the inside gardens, whereas others provided direct views of the rice paddy.
Every group of 4 pavilions was in a single shared construction, with two pavilions on the bottom ground and two on the higher ground. All pavilions had the identical ground plan and outside terrace, so the one distinction in class was the view and the ground.
After arriving on the foyer’s open-air pavilion, we had been rapidly greeted by identify — at all times a very good indicator of a terrific property — and requested to be seated for check-in.
The foyer was perched above the remainder of the resort, affording us nice views of our dwelling for the following three days. The pleasant front-desk agent proactively provided us refreshing chilly towels and picked up our passports as she diligently defined the assorted advantages we had been entitled to by way of the Virtuoso program.
She went on to clarify that due to our choice to e-book by way of Virtuoso, we’d been upgraded to a Rice Terrace Pavilion room on the bottom ground of the constructing closest to the foyer. Whereas the improve solely gave us a greater view, we had been nonetheless enthusiastic about our success. Our upgraded room wasn’t out there once we arrived at 11am, so we determined to stroll across the property for a few hours till our room was prepared.
Our 750-square-foot room, Pavilion 1304, was down a brief path from the foyer with lush foliage on both aspect. This was the closest I’d come to residing with nature in fairly a while, assuming you don’t rely the lifeless tree exterior my New York Metropolis condo window.
We opened the door and walked in to see the plush, signature 4 Seasons mattress that had been tastefully adorned with flowers for my girlfriend’s birthday (astute readers might notice that it’s been my girlfriend’s “birthday” for fairly a while).
The lodge’s bedside tables had loads of worldwide shops to maintain all our devices well-charged all through our keep.
Ready on the desk was a welcome amenity consisting of a plate of pears and lemongrass tea.
The minibar was close to the doorway of the room and had loads of complimentary bottled water, which was key within the humidity of the forest.
The toilet was about as giant because the bed room, with a big closet, double self-importance, separate bathe that will undoubtedly go the TPG bathe check, bathtub and water closet.
Curiously, the toilet had glass home windows overlooking a miniature backyard in the back of the room. Whereas we appreciated the view, it might have been good if the lodge added an outside bathe on this space that was successfully lifeless area. I imply, if Emirates can match a bathe contained in the nostril of a jumbo airplane, why couldn’t the 4 Seasons match an outside bathe in a rural resort?
Toiletries on the lodge had been nonbranded in reusable containers, which was a part of the lodge’s effort to go inexperienced. (The lodge had clearly succeeded on this — fairly actually the whole lot round us was inexperienced.)
Identical to in Koh Samui, the spotlight of the room was as soon as once more the outside terrace. Double doorways opened to a small terrace overlooking a picturesque rice paddy.
The terrace had a desk, two chairs, and an extremely comfy outside day mattress. I’ll have fallen asleep there dreaming concerning the chocolate-chip pancakes from the Koh Samui property.
Whereas the lodge’s Wi-Fi could possibly be accessed anyplace throughout the property, there was a irritating touchdown web page that required you to offer your distinctive entry code each six hours. Not the top of the world, simply not a very frictionless expertise. Speeds had been stable at round 4 Mbps obtain and 1 Mpbs add, whereas protection was above common however spotty in locations.
Meals and Beverage
Breakfast was served day by day within the Khao by 4 Seasons restaurant. This restaurant was one stage down from the principle foyer, overlooking the resort’s expansive grounds.
Whereas the restaurant served Thai fare within the evenings, a world breakfast buffet was served right here from 7 to 10:30am. There have been many Western and Asian stations, with an emphasis on seasonal vegatables and fruits.
Eggs, waffles and pancakes had been cooked to order. The remainder of the meals could possibly be discovered on the buffet. A spotlight was the croissants. (Guess the place the lacking two croissants went.)
Who doesn’t love fried rice for breakfast? It was fairly nice at this lodge, too.
The pastries had been additionally very tasty and contemporary.
The various greens and sides rounded out what we appreciated finest.
Breakfast was about extra than simply the meals. I used to be impressed by native artisans, who made cute ornaments and trinkets out of palm fronds as miniature giveaways for the visitors. They had been a lot better with their arms than I’m, however I might nonetheless problem them to an iPhone typing contest.
As a substitute of going again to Khao for a Thai dinner, we loved a pleasant meal at Terraces, the lodge’s Italian and Mediterranean restaurant. Service started with a collection of breads.
I had an entire grilled sea bass ($35), whereas my girlfriend went again to the fundamentals with fusilli with basil pesto ($22).
We undoubtedly coated each the Italian and Mediterranean cuisines at dinner. My girlfriend and I are pescatarian, so be aware that costs for a number of the meat dishes had been fairly a bit greater, priced above what we anticipated even for a secluded resort.
Along with our scheduled meals, we additionally tried gentle bites and cocktails whereas stress-free on the pool. They had been at all times introduced out rapidly and tasted contemporary.
My girlfriend sipped on a Tropical Scent ($17), whereas I embraced my interior AVGeek and ordered a Jim-Let Fox-Trot ($18). Does anybody else make their drink selections primarily based on the phonetic alphabet? In all probability simply me, however not less than the drink tasted good.
Most visitors appeared to hunker down on the resort, selecting to remain on property all day. The one time we considered going to the native city, we found that the closest restaurant was about 20 minutes away. It was already 5pm, and Grandpa Zach was not attempting to go to mattress anytime after 7pm, in order that was out of the query. As a substitute, we stayed on the property in the course of our keep. The lodge had a small gymnasium one stage under the pool. The compact gymnasium didn’t have any views however was stocked with fashionable tools.
Although the gymnasium was on the smaller aspect, the grounds had been so expansive that there was loads of area to unfold out, stretch your legs and work off these croissants from the breakfast buffet.
The lodge gives complimentary bicycles to journey across the property. One afternoon, I rented a motorcycle and began biking across the lodge’s perimeter. Forty-five minutes later, I used to be misplaced with out cellphone reception, asking each passing automobile learn how to get again to the lodge. At this level, I used to be so determined that I might’ve been thrilled to even have had Apple Maps. Someway, I discovered my means again for dinner, and I’ll be sticking to indoor biking at SoulCycle to any extent further.
The lodge additionally provided day by day yoga lessons at a devoted yoga pavilion.
The lodge had a extremely distinctive two-level pool setup. The 25-meter, upper-level pool was bigger, heated and allowed youngsters, whereas Grandpa Zach was discovered on the adults-only lower-level infinity pool.
Each swimming pools had been completely beautiful, however the spotlight was sundown on the decrease pool. Proper off the principle pool, there was additionally a small Jacuzzi overlooking the backyard. One afternoon within the Jacuzzi, we even met some fellow TPG readers who used their Citi Status card to take pleasure in a fourth night time free (#IApprove).
This was not a cookie-cutter resort. The lodge provided genuine actions for all age teams, together with fascinating native actions like complimentary rice-planting lessons.
Moreover, each afternoon the lodge provided a meet and greet with Tong, the lodge’s resident water buffalo. Seeing the grins on youngsters’ faces as they interacted with Tong was actually particular. Unclear, although, if The Factors Pups would have loved assembly him.
Since we had a $100 spa credit score, I bought a spa therapy one afternoon. The spa was in a transformed non-public residence, with separate therapy rooms in every of the residence’s bedrooms.
Whereas the format was distinctive, it meant that there was no sauna, steam room or locker room within the spa. Nonetheless, the therapeutic massage was wonderful and price about $130 for 60 minutes. Whereas comparable in worth to different five-star properties all over the world, the therapeutic massage was far dearer than in different places in Thailand.
Yet one more neat exercise I’d like to spotlight was the Rim Tai Kitchen, a non-public Thai cooking faculty on the resort grounds the place the lodge chef gave a hands-on, non-public cooking lesson. At $200 per individual, although, we thought it was too costly, particularly because it value extra to cook dinner the meals than eat the meals on the lodge’s eating places.
The lodge provided thrice-daily shuttle service to downtown Chiang Mai (in correct vans — a welcome step up from the native taxis, which whizzed by at harmful speeds).
Throughout the board, and identical to the 4 Seasons in Koh Samui, service was persistently wonderful.
After I went to schedule my therapeutic massage, I used to be initially shocked to see that the lodge didn’t provide a typical Swedish or deep-tissue therapeutic massage. All the spa remedies had been variants of a Thai therapeutic massage, which is smart given the place we had been, however I believed a resort of this caliber would have extra on provide. After consulting with the spa supervisor, he graciously organized a custom-made therapy for me.
The overall consideration to element was additionally spectacular. Drink orders had been memorized after the primary day. After ordering water with further ice at breakfast on day one, each subsequent day there can be water with further ice ready for me not solely at breakfast but in addition once we had been sitting by the pool.
One afternoon, my girlfriend was anxious about the entire bug bites she was getting. So she requested if the lodge bought bug spray. 5 minutes later, a employees member who overheard my girlfriend’s considerations introduced over a complimentary bottle of bug spray.
Most impressively, there have been many flower pots throughout your entire resort superbly organized. The one afternoon that it rained, inside 10 minutes of the rain stopping, all of the flower preparations had been set again as regular. If solely LaGuardia Airport (LGA) might get better that rapidly from a rain bathe, all can be properly within the NYC space.
Whereas the resort is considerably inconvenient should you’re trying to discover Chiang Mai, there isn’t any extra stress-free place to remain than the 4 Seasons. The lodge is superbly set inside lush rice paddies, with excellent service and high-quality eating places. There’s a lot to do to maintain oneself occupied, so should you’re in search of a peaceable escape from downtown Chiang Mai, that is the place to remain.