After my overnight stay in Bangkok, I had a morning flight to Chiang Rai. Sadly my stay in Northern Thailand was just one night, but I was able to spend almost 2 full days exploring the area. I arrived in Chiang Rai in the morning, and the cab ride was only a few minutes to the hotel. They cheerfully checked me in despite my arrival at the hotel before noon. I was upgraded to a room in the Grand Deluxe Wing, which is the newest section of the hotel with larger rooms, usually offered as a complimentary Platinum upgrade. In addition, as a Starwood Platinum, a full breakfast is provided, as well as a free drink for each night of the stay.
I’ve been rather impressed in my experiences with Le Meridien hotels. It’s a smaller brand within the Starwood family, with 120 hotels in 50 countries. When I was planning my stays in Thailand, I found the Le Meridien Chiang Rai, and considering it was a Starwood Category 2 property, with rates less than $100, I didn’t search for long. I have previously reviewed the Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, and have had a few other Le Meridien stays that were quite nice. Also check out Kevin’s review of Le Meridien Cyberport in Hong Kong.
After checking in, I went to my room to drop my bags. The Grand Deluxe Wing is closest to the Mae Kok river with nice views over the pool.
Here is a photo tour:
The open wall between bathtub and bedroom seemingly common in hotels in Asia.
infinity pool overlooking the lagoon
After settling in a bit, I decided to get some lunch. During the day, there did not seem to be too many other guests around the property. Rainy season in Thailand is probably not the best time to visit, but although it was a cloudy and at times rainy, it didn’t really prevent me from doing anything I wanted to do. After several days in a row walking around Japan, I wasn’t really in the mood for more walking, so I stayed on property for the afternoon. It wasn’t really pool weather with the drizzle, but the temperature was nice, so I decided to just have lunch at the pool “Chill Bar”. I was the only guest dining at this time.
View of the river beyond the pool bar.
I had great service and a nice conversation with the bartender. I just had a simple Thai curry and some ice tea for lunch.
a bridge across the lagoon on property
After lunch, I walked around the property a bit to explore, and to talk to the concierge to make arrangements for my touring of the Golden Triangle. I was tempted to rent a car and just go on my own, but the concierge convinced me to hire a driver, and I’m quite happy with that decision. I will discuss my day of touring the area in another post.
After I returned to my room, a welcome amenity was there, consisting of some sweets as well as some local fruit. Anyone know what the fruit pictured above is called?
There is also a free hotel shuttle available into Chiang Rai. I took it in the late afternoon to explore the town. I walked around , and ultimately settled on decent restaurant serving a variety of food. It was a little more tourist focused than I would like, but even at inflated prices, it was an extremely cheap meal.
I returned to the hotel for the evening, and took advantage of the free drink coupon provided at check in and visited Latitude 19 for a drink.
I got up the next morning and enjoyed a hearty breakfast before meeting my tour driver. Compared to some breakfast buffets in Asian hotels, this may seem small, but there were plenty of options.
Please also see another review of this property by Gary from 3 or so years before my visit. He was there before the Grand Deluxe Wing was completed, but spent more time on site and has photos of the breakfast spread, etc.
I enjoyed my brief stay at Le Meridien Chiang Rai. Its a great deal at the low cash price, but cash and points can also be use at Starwood Category 2, and I’d recommend this hotel for anyone visiting the area.