The Spanish hotel brand Meliá has been making headway in the Kingdom of Thailand with two locations in Phuket and Samui and an upcoming one in Bangkok sometime next year. Their latest location, which opened just last week, is in Chiang Mai, a city steeped in culture and history, so when I was invited to check it out, I excitedly said yes.
Flying there was a breeze especially since it was a Bangkok Airways flight. On top of that, I was able to experience what it was like to be a Blue Ribbon Club member: a quick and hassle-free check-in and a more spacious lounge to relax in while I waited for my flight, complete with massage chairs and freshly cooked meals. It was smooth and enjoyable even if it was just a short one-hour flight.
Upon arriving at Meliá Chiang Mai, the first thing I noticed was the hotel’s minimalistic design and architecture. The mix of the white walls and floors with wooden accents gives the hotel a clean and Mediterranean vibe, a reminder of Meliá’s roots. Ingeniously, there were also touches and designs that paid homage to Chiang Mai’s history, blending Mediterranean and ancient Thai motifs seamlessly.
Though I was ready to check in at front desk, I was whisked away to the top floor where The Level guests have a special privilege of a private check-in with a welcome drink. The Level is Meliá’s VIP experience: guests who opt for The Level receive privileges such as being able to use The Level Lounge, which serves a private breakfast and afternoon tea, and late checkout. Other perks include a capsule coffeemaker in the room and free ironing service for one piece of garment—not necessarily big perks but perks nonetheless.
The room I stayed in, the Meliá Room, continued the minimalistic Mediterranean/Thai decor and was spacious enough for three to stay comfortably—not that I'm suggesting... Other types of rooms available include the Corner Room, the Family Room, suites with views of the mountain or the river, and more. In other words, Meliá is prepared to cater to a variety of guests whether you’re travelling alone, with friends, as a couple, or as a family.
I was able to get a sneak peek at their rooftop bar, Mai The Sky Bar, which is set to open soon. It will most likely be a nightlife hotspot for Chiang Mai thanks to its breathtaking views of Doi Suthep and the Ping River as well as its choices of drinks. After getting drinks, I had dinner just a floor below at Mai Restaurant and Bar where I had a delectable three-course meal that blended Thai and Western cuisine with ease. The khao soi pasta I had as a main course is something I still find myself craving.
Breakfast is served at Laan Na Kitchen on the first floor. The restaurant is curiously named: while evidently Thai, the hotel’s website boasts its “specialising in Mediterranean cuisine”. The breakfast itself is pretty standard with the usual eggs in a variety of ways, pancakes and waffles with your choice of syrup, and a selection of fruits. The Sunday brunch here, however, hits the spot with a wide selection, from beef steak and lamb to a classic khao soi, and a chocolate fountain for dipping marshmallows.
If going out to explore is more of your thing, Meliá Chiang Mai is perfect since it's located at the heart of the city. Only a few minutes' walk to the Night Market and Chiang Mai’s numerous temples, I recommend a visit to Wat Umong to see ancient ruins and tunnels as well as the Lanna Traditional House Museum, an open-air museum by Chiang Mai University, for a glimpse into the province's history. You can try your hand at making traditional lanterns at the Lanna Traditional House Museum, but be warned: it’s not easy. For those wanting something a little more contemporary, the stylish IG-worthy One Nimman is also nearby and a great place to hang, especially in the evening. For something a little wilder, drag bar Ram Bar Chiang Mai is just a few steps away from the hotel, beckoning you for a raucous night.
If you’re like me and prefer to stay in, the rooms are enough for a relaxing time. You can, however, take it up a notch by visiting YHI Spa, which I did right before I flew back to Bangkok. The one-hour massage was just what I needed as I made my way back to the hustle and bustle of the City of Angels.
Meliá Chiang Mai is a great place to stay whether you’re a family that wants to explore Chiang Mai, a workaholic in need of some time away from Bangkok, or a young couple with a taste for both culture and nightlife. Its location in the Chiang Mai city center makes it easy to travel around, but its rooms and amenities will also tempt you to simply stay in your room or actually just stay in bed. Go ahead and try to pry yourself away from the utterly luscious pillows, crisp sheets, and soft mattress. I failed many times.
Visit their website for more information or to make a booking