Chiang Mai, Thailand

Villa Mahabhirom

Rates per night from$265.84

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (THB8,791.22), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Hide and teak

Setting

Leafy, lovely Wat Umong

Villa Mahabhirom means ‘villa of great pleasure’, and the pleasure found here is great indeed: it’s actually 14 traditional two-storey abodes, all built of teak, centred around a large, black-tiled lap pool and set amid sugar palms and hanging orchids. Inside, it’s the eclectic chandeliers that do the hanging (above airy, glass-walled living spaces downstairs and cosy, antique-filled bedrooms upstairs). And, if you thought the hotel’s name was quite a mouthful, wait till you try the restaurant’s fragrant curries, zingy salads and pudgy prawn pad thai, all prepared from handed-down homestyle recipes.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A signature cocktail on arrival

Facilities

Photos Villa Mahabhirom facilities

Need to know

Rooms

11 two-storey Thai villas and three single-storey Thai villas.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $265.84 (THB8,791), excluding tax at 20.7 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include a daily Thai-style or continental breakfast, plus your transfer to and from the airport.

Also

Behind the bedhead in some rooms you’ll find exquisite silk fabric from Jim Thompson, a man with quite a history in this part of the world. It was the WWII spy-turned-designer who revitalised the Thai silk industry in the 1960s, before mysteriously disappearing while walking through the rainforests of Malaysia.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout; laundry. In rooms: minibar, TV, air-conditioning, free bottled water, tea and coffee.

Our favourite rooms

It’s hard to pick a winner from these handsome stilted villas, especially since each has been personalised by the owners’ tasteful collection of antiques. But Villa Doi Suthep does have a deep copper bath and views of the gold-domed Doi Suthep temple in the mountains to the west… If you’re in a larger group, choose a two- or three-bedroom villa with its own private pool.

Poolside

A handful of villas peer from behind a leafy, cactus-y perimeter onto the sleek, black-tiled lap pool, itself lined by stylish seating on one side and outdoor tables serving the restaurant on the other. Two- and three-bedroom villas have their own private pools.

Packing tips

Budding antiques dealers will find themselves in a treasure trove here. Pack a copy of Miller’s Antiques Handbook & Price Guide so you can enact your very own episode of the Antiques Roadshow.

Also

All villas are spread across two storeys, so they’re not accessible for wheelchair users.

Pet‐friendly

No See more pet-friendly hotels in Chiang Mai.

Children

Although over-12s are welcome, the pool is adults only and the antique decor isn’t particularly child-friendly.

Eco‐friendly

The hotel has an organic garden for growing a small selection of vegetables, herbs and spices, and for composting food waste. The restaurant sources all of its ingredients locally, seasonally and free-range.

Food and Drink

Photos Villa Mahabhirom food and drink

Top Table

With the lamps lit in the evening, the most romantic spot is a table for two on the pool terrace.

Dress Code

Match the hotel’s eclectic antiques with your own vintage ensemble, ornamented by a chakra-lined gem or two.

Hotel restaurant

Your smoothie might be dressed with an elaborately carved strawberry or slice of lime, but rest assured: the dishes served at Villa Mahabhirom’s understated restaurant have substance to justify the style. It’s fragrant, flavourful, home-style cooking with gutsy fusion panache – just try to resist those banana blossom fish cakes or that grilled salmon yellow curry. An afternoon tea of sandwiches, petite pastries and freshly baked scones is piled high in the tea room each day – the tea coming from Thailand’s only organic plantation.

Hotel bar

Opening on to the terrace, the bar is a sultry, open-air affair. Sip champagne by the pool or pair bar snacks such as spring rolls and fried prawns with a frosty beer or mango mojito.

Last orders

A northern Thai-style breakfast (with continental options) is served from 6.30am to 10.30am. The bar opens at 11am, and then both bar and restaurant call it a night at 10pm.

Room service

A full à la carte menu from the restaurant and a selection of bar snacks are available as part of room service, which you can eat in the privacy of your villa or by the pool.

Location

Photos Villa Mahabhirom location
Address
Villa Mahabhirom
62M. 10 T. Suthep
Mueang Chiang Mai District
50200
Thailand

Planes

A rather convenient 10-minute drive away is Chiang Mai International Airport, where there are 130 flights a week to and from Bangkok, as well as connections to Singapore, China, Myanmar and Laos. The hotel can arrange six-seater vehicles to pick you up for THB1,500 (round trip).

Trains

Chiang Mai railway station is a 20-minute drive, on the other side of the old city. Round-trip transfers here are also THB1,500.

Automobiles

The highlands of northern Thailand aren’t the easiest place to get about in by car. But, if you are driving to the hotel, you’ll be greeted by a friendly valet on arrival and your car will be parked on-site. (If you’re hiring a car, don’t hand your passport over as a deposit.)

Worth getting out of bed for

The hotel can arrange yoga, tai chi and private Muay Thai boxing classes on request. Hop over to Oasis Spa (10 minutes down the road) for pampering sessions; the hotel will happily arrange your free return transfers.
Capital of the 15th-century kingdom of Lanna, Chiang Mai is famous for its concentration of centuries-old Buddhist temples, with some of the quietest and most atmospheric out near Villa Mahabhirom. Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham is a monks’ refuge in a series of 13th-century tunnels, a five-minute walk from the hotel. Above ground, the temple’s bell-shaped chedi and the surrounding forest make for a peaceful meditation spot (classes are available). Overseeing the city from its mountain perch is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (as seen from one of the hotel’s villas). It’s one of northern Thailand’s most renowned temples, established after an elephant carrying a fragment of the Buddha’s collarbone was laid to rest here. A 10-minute drive from the hotel is Nimmanhaemin, the city’s most fashionable stretch of restaurants, cafés, bars and shops. Leave time to explore Chiang Mai Old City, also a 10-minute drive away and surrounded on four sides by sections of its ancient wall and moat. Lined by trees, the moat is cooler than other parts of town, which is why you’ll find some of the city’s most relaxed eateries and bars here. You’re here to soak up the beauty of northern Thailand too, no doubt, and a good place to start is at the Mae Sa Waterfalls, 45 minutes north of the city. Arm yourselves with a packed lunch and swimsuits, stopping for dips along the mile-long walking trail awash with 10 tropical waterfalls.

Local restaurants

The hipster coffee movement has taken root in Chiang Mai, and leading the charge are the fine folk at Omnia Café. Your standard cappuccinos and macchiatos are given a Thai twist with coconut or butterfly pea – and ornamented with remarkable Asian-inspired latte art. For lunch, stop in at Ginger & Kafe, more like a friend’s living room, except one with a garden terrace, kitchen shop and menu of rustic colonial cuisine. For an artistically plated four-course dinner, book a table at Cuisine de Garden, which specialises in modern Thai gastronomy with French flair with ingredients sourced from the Royal Project farms and local producers. For more relaxed dining, TikkyCafe dishes up generous portions of vegetarian green curries, pad ka prao and tom yum gai, all washed down with almost comically pimped-up milkshakes.

Local bars

Head to the renowned-yet-still-edgy Nophaburi bar to the south east of the old city for Chiang Mai’s most expertly mixed tipples, such as the jasmine-infused Lamoon cocktail.

Reviews

Photos Villa Mahabhirom reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from these traditional stilted villas in Thailand and unpacked their massage balm and antique trinkets, a full account of their calming break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Villa Mahabhirom in Chiang Mai…

Sure, the markets are manic and there are high-octane thrills to be had in the hills, but Chiang Mai is, above all else, Thailand’s most laid-back city. So laid-back, in fact, that it more often resembles a provincial town – especially out in leafy neighbourhoods such as Wat Umong, where Villa Mahabhirom can be found hidden behind bamboo groves, giant cacti and swaying sugar palms. A few minutes’ walk away is Wat Umong itself: the serene, tunnelled temple complex that lends the area its name – just walking above ground here encourages a more contemplative state of mind. The hotel’s cosy, teak-built villas have a similar effect, but only after you’ve peeled yourself away from the owner’s dazzling collection of antiques (everything from magnificent 18th-century dressers to elegant mid-century sofas). The villas’ ground floors see contemporary pieces blend well with traditional Thai motifs; upstairs, the deliciously moody bedrooms are adjoined by Italian marble bathrooms. Overall, this is a place to find peace, be it through excellent eating, lounging by the pool, or moving at a pace more befitting the gentle Lanna culture still evident here in northern Thailand. So, turn the phone off, leave your laptop in the suitcase, and relax…

The Guestbook

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