Reviewed by: Your Stubborn Goat
Last April, I went on my first solo trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand, and stayed at The Chiang Mai Riverside Hotel, an award-winning five-star boutique hotel located on the Ping River.
I learned about The Chiang Mai Riverside while browsing for accommodations and was drawn to it after reading positive reviews and seeing “stunning” traveler photos. Even so, I didn’t know quite what to expect, and kept my expectations low to avoid any disappointments or underwhelming feelings when I finally see it in real life. We all know and agree that pictures can be deceiving, yes?
“Sawadee ka”, greeted two lovely ladies wearing Chut Thai, traditional Thai outfit, as I walked into the lobby.
“Please take a seat while we check your reservation.”
I happily obliged, and was pleased to receive a glass of cold water. It was exactly what I needed on a hot Wednesday afternoon.
“Ms. Sabrina Ong, your room is ready. Please follow our staff to your room.”
I knew the second they addressed me by my name that I had found myself a real gem. I don’t know about you, but to me, hearing my name roll off a foreigner’s tongue is such a sweet sound—so familiar, yet also so very alien. Furthermore, it made me feel that they took the time (and that extra little effort) to prepare for my arrival. I suddenly felt excited to step into my suite and to experience what they had to offer. I was ready to have my best nights in Chiang Mai.
I stayed at the Vorra-Ya Suite, a 60 square meter suite that combines modern chic with oriental touches. I’m not new to luxury accommodations, but this surely is one of the most luxurious places I have ever stayed in. The suite is tastefully furnished; the kitchen is fully equipped; and the bathroom is spotless. The entire place is well planned, and every detail carefully thought through. From the hallway windows that allow natural light to beautifully shine through but still provide privacy, down to the choice of toiletries and fabric covers that hug the bottles of complimentary water sitting at the tabletop. Whoever designed it definitely kept the concept of class and elegance in mind, and was successful in executing it.
The signature in-room breakfast was one of the things I looked forward to daily, and it didn’t disappoint. The menu is varied; the servings are generous; and the ingredients used are of superior quality. On my first morning, I picked “Taste of Lanna” for some authentic Northern Thai taste, and “High Five Breakfast” for the following day.
Other options include “Taste of Asia” and “Provence Experience Breakfast”for vegetarians and green food lovers. The best part about this in-room breakfast service is obviously having the luxury to dictate my desired time and enjoy the meal in the comfort of my own room without having to dress up—or look decent.
As shallow as it sounds, one of the things that made my stay a bit more special and unforgettable was the freezer in the kitchen and four small tubs of ice cream inside. I’m not an ice cream person, and I try to avoid sweets, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was already finishing up the fourth tub. It was sooo good. I felt like a kid giddily sitting in an ice cream parlor. Like a 5-year old boss who didn’t care if she has life figured out or not.
The property is located out of the city, but don’t let this keep you from making The Chiang Mai Riverside Hotel your choice when visiting Chiang Mai. The main town is only fifteen minutes away by car, and the hotel provides free shuttle service that can take you wherever you need to go. They even drove me to the nearby convenience store and made sure I got everything I needed. Moreover, Uber is now operating in Chiang Mai, which from my experience is the most reliable and affordable way to get around the city.
Connected to the Chiang Mai Riverside Hotel is The Vorra Bistro, a modern restaurant featuring a fusion of Thai and Italian cuisine. I ordered Salmon with Ratatouille, Tom Yum Goong, Ravioli Di Portobello, and Pungent Black Soup (Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup drizzled with Black Truffle Oil) during my stay. The menu is creative, and the food? Absolutely fantastic. Every dish is appealing, flavorful, and freshly made. It was a refreshing change from all the street and traditional Thai food that I had been eating days before checking in at The Chiang Mai Riverside.
My personal favorite, the Pungent Black Soup, is a must-try for all mushroom-soup lovers out there. It’s thick and creamy. One could easily tell that it’s made from scratch, and that the chef doesn’t hold back at all on the ingredients. Every sip was a delight, and I was glad that I didn’t have to share it with anyone.
I’m not trying to exaggerate or be over-the-top, but my experience at The Chiang Mai Riverside was nothing short of perfect. I didn’t leave the hotel for three days, and still didn’t want to come checkout time. That’s how much I loved it.
A team is a reflection of its leader. More than anything else, I feel so glad and honored for having the opportunity to personally talk to the head honcho, Mr. Teerawut Chanyasak. My meeting with Mr. Teerawut was short and unexpected, but it was enough for me to conclude why (and how) the entire staff—from the manager down to the hotel housekeepers—is simply the best in what I call hospitality. Everyone was ridiculously warm, and every smile felt unbelievably sincere. If there’s anything that I miss the most about the place, it’s the people.
If you’re planning to visit Chiang Mai and are looking for a place where you can just relax and get away from the hustle and bustle, then you need look no further! The Chiang Mai Riverside Hotel is just around the corner, and is always ready to treat you like the VIP you are.
Reviewed by: Your Stubborn Goat