The Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai - Hotel Review
The Star Goddess of the Lost Lanna Kingdom
by Evelyn Chen
The pool at The Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai
The Dhara Dhevi Hotel Review
at The Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai is
like stepping into another world, one reminiscent of the
lost Lanna Kingdom. This resort is not typically Thai,
and in fact, it does not toe the typical hotel line either.
Remarkably, this is one resort that has attempted to recreate
the past — and succeeded.
truly appreciate this ambitious resort, one needs to dive
back into history: in 1296, Chiang Mai became the capital
of the vast Lanna kingdom that stretched into Laos, eastern
Myanmar and southern China. It was during this time that
the distinct Lanna culture evolved, expressing itself
in delicate local artworks and wooden architecture. The
resort is the result of the painstaking effort by the
owner to pay homage to this unique culture in Northern
Sanskrit for "Star Goddess," Dhara Dhevi was
created as a royal village on sixty acres of verdant grounds.
With an Lanna-style palace lobby at its core, Dhara Dhevi's
meandering pathway takes guests on an interesting journey
past traditional teak villas, colonial mansions, ornate
temples and rice barns clustered among rice paddies. A
choice of transport, horse cart or golf buggy, makes the
ride through this estate all the more fascinating.
Devi has 58 Colonial Suites, 69 Private Villas and Theme
Suites such as the Penthouse Spa Suite with a private
spa. We stayed in the impressive Villa 12, a Mandalay-style
double-story teak villa with a spacious living room below
complete with TV, dining area, steam room, piano and a
kitchenette with an espresso machine. Its sliding doors
open to an outdoor Jacuzzi with a spacious deck. This
provides a view of the rice fields and the occasional
water buffalo at work. An outdoor staircase leads to an
enormous bedroom above with a generously sized shower,
changing area and a cozy study. Amenities are equally
impressive, from a library of 1,200 music CDs, 5,000 books
and 2,000 DVDs to a hip shopping village (Kad Dhara) with
a charming café that sells ice cream and pastries.
There are also free children's activities at the
Lanna Kids Club as well as an Oriental
Culinary Academy. But the pièce de résistance
here is the Dheva
Spa and Ayurvedic Centre where we enjoyed an Ayurvedic
consultation and treatment.
Sixty tropical acres of landscaping
some critics were quick to swipe at the Dhara Dhevi's
mishmash architecture when it opened its doors for business
in December 2004, we could proudly claim that Dhara Dhevi
has the biggest villas and best facilities amongst all
luxury resorts we've visited in Asia to date. You
will certainly not be disappointed on your exploration
of the lost Lanna Kingdom.
The Dhara Dhevi
51/4 Chiang Mai
Sankampaeng Rd. Moo 1
T. Tasala A. Muang
Chiang Mai 50000 Thailand
66 53 888 888
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