A beautiful land of misty mountains, waterfalls, and jaw-dropping jungles, Chiang Mai is the perfect playground for adventurers. Founded in 1296 as the capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom, the city’s distinctive culture and history shine through its many venerable temples and colourful hilltop tribal villages.
This wonderful heritage stands side by side with a vibrant scene of eclectic bars, local restaurants, and artisan boutiques, in a verdant valley on the banks of the Ping River.
Ringed by outstanding natural landscapes, Chiang Mai also plays host to some truly breathtaking accommodation options. From mountaintop boutiques and trendy urban resorts perfect for digital nomads, and from my time spent in this incredible part of the world, here are my favourite cool and unusual hotels in Chiang Mai, Thailand (in no particular order)…
1. KIRI HOTEL Chiang Mai – a hip, sleek and contemporary design hotel located in the centre of Chiang Mai’s old town
Sleek minimalism and contemporary design cues beautify the vernacular design of this sanctuary of serenity and pleasure. Spanish cherry patterned lanterns, beton brut walls, and flower vine ceramic floors bring a harmonious collage of modernism and tradition to the hotel’s theme, grounded by a colour scheme of black, white, and grey.
Kiri’s vibrant hangout spots reveal a bespoke emphasis on charm and sophistication. The al fresco pool and bar serves classic and signature cocktails and the rooftop lounge overlooks the stunning Doi Suthep mountains.
The on-site Italian/French bistro SOMM Wine & Dine offers wines curated from the world’s best vineyards and reflects the ambiance of an underground cellar in Tuscany.
- To book, check prices or availability for KIRI HOTEL Chiang Mai
2. Now Chiang Mai – a cool and trendy boutique guesthouse with an industrial chic design perfect for traveling Millenials and Gen Zs
This industrial hip hotel blends the feel of an urban oasis with the atmosphere of a nature retreat. Now Chiang Mai is perfectly catered to independent travellers, owing in part to its supreme location, and in part to its well-appointed hangout spaces.
The quirky wall trimmings pay homage to the thoughtful design elements curated by modern visionaries, and beautifully contrast the soul-soothing wood and rattan pieces.
The guestrooms, accompanied by private balconies with sweeping panoramas over the city and mountains, exude the comforts of home through sleek, clean lines and contemporary amenities. They all offer charming touches such as mini-fridges, designer products, and flat-screen TVs.
- To book, check prices or availability for Now Chiang Mai
3. Amata Lanna Chiang Mai, One Member of the Secret Retreats – one of the best resorts in Chiang Mai perfect for couples looking for a unique romantic break
This charming resort is designed with teakwood, reflecting the beauty of the ancient Lanna culture. Through a cosy and intimate atmosphere set by stunning architecture and peaceful surroundings, you will be transported back to a time of flourishing cultural heritage.
The hotel is the perfect basecamp for both urban excursionists and history explorers, as the city’s temples, bustling night market, and beautiful Mae Ping River are all within walking distance.
The property’s moody ambiance paves the way for an artistic showcase of floral furnishings, willowy décor, and traditional antiques. This old-world charm is blissfully contrasted by a handful of ambient-lit pools, where a moment of true luxury awaits.
- To book, check prices or availability for Amata Lanna Chiang Mai, One Member of the Secret Retreats
4. G Nimman Chiang Mai – a cool, sleek and minimalist hotel that features an Instaworthy futuristic interior
Here we have an opulent white-washed sanctuary which circles a luxurious sky-blue swimming pool. The jaw-dropping contemporary design of G Nimman evokes a soothing atmosphere, fit for both a business trip and a leisurely getaway.
The pool is dotted by sun loungers and comfy recliner chairs, while a secluded terrace affords optimum tanning opportunities. Slick and sophisticated, the minimalist design paves the way for ample seating areas to invite travellers to kick back and unwind in a classy environment, and every amenity is top-notch.
Each guestroom features neutral tones and lavish furniture, complementing a host of high-end offerings which include a flat-screen TV, a fully stocked mini-bar, and top-of-the-range bathroom amenities.
- To book, check prices or availability for G Nimman Chiang Mai
5. Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort – a beautiful and unique romantic hideaway set in the Heart of Chiang Mai
Situated on the banks of the Ping River, this garden boutique resort is eloquently crafted around a beautifully restored teak Lanna-style house.
The white-washed two- and three-storey villas are clustered around a quaint swimming pool, and a romantic ambiance is provided through a small event space set below the raintree’s grand foliage, where weddings and other celebrations take place.
Brightly furnished by rattan made by local artisans, the 39 guestrooms are graced by mounted Lanna textiles and extremely comfortable beds.
The on-site riverfront restaurant is decorated in a vintage industrial style, and offers a unique fusion of northern Thai and Western cuisine.
- To book, check prices or availability for Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort
6. K Maison Lanna Boutique Hotel-SHA Plus Certified – a trendy and peaceful boutique oasis where guests can relax their minds and bodies
Awaiting luxury travellers with a pioneering design in the heart of Chiang Mai, K Maison blends a natural touch with the modern Lanna classic.
The ultra-modern, high-quality concept manifests itself through superb 5-star offerings in the guestrooms, which include state-of-the-art technology and plush beds.
The hotel’s EcoStay initiative is based on a growing trend of sustainable resort practices, embedding a handful of eco-friendly amenities into its guestrooms and communal spaces.
A standout feature of the hotel is the outdoor infinity-edge pool, which is backdropped by lush greenery and brings a dash of iridescence to a property decorated predominantly in elegant whites and light browns.
- To book, check prices or availability for K Maison Lanna Boutique Hotel-SHA Plus Certified
7. Mo rooms – a cool, unique and quirky chic hotel that features an indoor pool, individually designed rooms and open-concept bathrooms by local artists
Mo Rooms introduces a unique art concept to the Chiang Mai hospitality circuit. It is a multi-disciplinary space which has coalesced the creativity of various artists, architects, local artisans, and natural therapists, to bring a new holistic meaning to an abstract design.
Each room is the interpretation of an individual artist’s Chinese Zodiac animal and is named accordingly. The identity of each animal has influenced the unique furniture and interior elements, including the design of doors, windows, and beds.
Combining this ancient notion with contemporary practice has bound together a beautiful harmony between tradition and modernity, an essence further perpetuated by the eclectic artwork around the property.
- To book, check prices or availability for Mo rooms
8. Akyra Manor Chiang Mai SHA Extra Plus – a fun, sleek and contemporary design hotel close to major restaurants which makes the perfect base for partying or relaxing
Akyra Manor is Chiang Mai’s hippest boutique hotel, and lures in visitors and locals with its chic rooftop pool and bar, its vibrant restaurant, and a stunning location on Nimmanhaemin Road.
This area is known for its alfresco coffee shops, independent boutiques, food trucks, and electric nightlife. The hotel impresses with a style of northern Thai chic, with exquisite art installations, curvaceous sofas and designer lighting that mimic the famous Yi Peng lantern festival.
The 30 spacious smoky-hued sanctuaries are equipped with hardwood floors, mirrored walls, an outdoor courtyard-style bathroom, and plush beds draped in Egyptian cotton sheets.
- To book, check prices or availability for Akyra Manor Chiang Mai SHA Extra Plus
9. Maladee Rendezvous Hotel Chiang Mai – one of the most Instagrammable hotels in Chiang Mai which mixes Thai tradition with a stunning modern design
Embodying the true spirit of Chiang Mai in a leisurely and meaningful way, The Maladee Rendezvous invites guests into a lobby themed in reminiscence of the neighbourhood’s storied past.
Teakwood cabinets, bookshelves, and stunning stationary collectibles share a nod to the building’s original roots, and all of the furnishings have been sourced from local suppliers.
A unique concept of ‘Nostalgic Contemporary Architecture’ is created by adding a modern twist to the colonial style construction typical of the surrounding neighbourhood.
The value of ancient Thai and Chinese porcelains is reflected through the unique Blue Cobalt colour theme and geometric craftmanship in the rooms and suites. This complements the modern look of floor-to-ceiling windows, clay floor bathrooms, and hand-crafted blue celadon sinks.
- To book, check prices or availability for Maladee Rendezvous Hotel Chiang Mai
10. THEE Vijit Lanna by TH District, SHA Extra Plus – a very hip, charming and Instrammable hidden gem close to popular tourist attractions
This graceful Old Town bolthole has drawn inspiration from the Purna-Ghata, an ancient Thai essence symbolized by upside-down plant pots from which mystical creatures extend to symbolize luck, health, happiness, and wealth.
The narrative of the Purna-Ghata legends are deeply embedded into THEE Vijit Lanna, and coalesced with a peaceful atmosphere, opulent furniture, and modern, boutique-style guestrooms.
The Lhong-Kao restaurant is inspired by a Northern barn house that belonged to an ancient Lanna way of life, and sources its ingredients from local farmers to create mouth-watering dishes.
This is a peaceful spot to treat the palate before heading to the Lost Village Cocktail bar, where the essence of Thai wisdom is reflected in blissfully crafted beverages.
- To book, check prices or availability for THEE Vijit Lanna by TH District, SHA Extra Plus
11. Raya Heritage – SHA Plus – a polished and trendy upscale hotel embraced by lush gardens which is the perfect choice for a tranquil urban escape
Raya Heritage trades in the typical Lanna architecture for a more minimal look, and is a living homage to the Thai craft and the region’s artisan communities.
The hotel is nestled on a verdant plot along the Ping River, and its all-white, straight-lined base poses as a backdrop for lush flora, charming rattan chairs, mulberry paper screens, and ceramic glazed tiles.
All of its natural hues and materials were processed with the help of local weavers, woodcarvers, and other artisans from around the region. A different colour scheme permeates each of the 33 suites, however, all are laid out with similar resort-style mod-cons, such as freestanding tubs and twin vanities.
- To book, check prices or availability for Raya Heritage – SHA Plus
12. Rachamankha Hotel – a fine, striking and tranquil resort with a design inspired by ancient Chinese decor
This 25-room boutique extravaganza is furnished with heritage antiques, yet maintains an incredibly modern look within stylish surroundings.
The hotel is situated in the heart of the old city close to the historic Wat Phra Singh temple, and a quick tuk-tuk ride takes you to the bustling night market.
As you enter the zen-style courtyard, the noise of the city appears to evolve into a monastic setting of old-world sophistication, marked by blissful quietude.
Fronted by antique trunks and interspersed by neatly cut lawns, the rows of rooms embody an artistic flair, and soothe soul with state-of-the-art amenities and plush linens.
- To book, check prices or availability for Rachamankha Hotel
13. Art Mai Gallery Nimman Hotel Chiang Mai – SHA Plus – an ultra-creative upscale boutique hotel that features uniquely artist-designed guestrooms
Inspired by and dedicated to Thailand’s well-known artists, this graceful downtown gem prides itself on its eccentricity and its one-of-a-kind ambiance.
Each room is like a gallery in itself, with expertly curated pieces beautifully positioned on the patterned walls, matched in extravagance only by the quirky décor, comfy box-spring beds, and elegant subdued lighting.
A rooftop pool area invites you to relish scintillating views over the colourful roofs of the historic downtown. From this remarkable vantage point, you can witness a beautiful sunset over the expansive Doi Suthep mountains.
An eclectic blend of Thai cuisines and tasty international dishes is served in the Jarid restaurant.
- To book, check prices or availability for Art Mai Gallery Nimman Hotel Chiang Mai – SHA Plus
14. Thai Akara – Lanna Boutique Hotel -SHA Extra Plus – a gorgeous and elegant upscale hotel that offers a distinctive and refined experience
Charm, simplicity, and kindness permeate every corner of this 3-storey boutique hotel, offering a tranquil atmosphere in the heart of the city.
Throughout Thai Akara, the contemporary architecture blends Lanna identity with a futuristic style of functionality. In the hotel’s charming communal nook, graceful lights hang from the traditional vaulted ceilings, while comfy furniture and quirky décor set the tone for a blissful city retreat.
The property pleasantly surrounds a quaint inner courtyard. Here, peaceful swimming pools dotted by tall plants and cosy sun loungers invite you to a heavenly moment of downtime, overlooked by the charming balconies of the guestrooms and suites.
- To book, check prices or availability for Thai Akara – Lanna Boutique Hotel -SHA Extra Plus
15. Singha Montra Lanna Boutique Style Hotel – a wonderfully opulent boutique hotel that features modern Lanna interiors and stunning wooden furnishings
Graced by impressive views of the Doi Suthep Mountain and the Gold Pagodas, Singha Montra Lanna is a charming boutique hotel brimming with Lanna cultural artistry.
Each guestroom features a luxury outdoor jacuzzi and combines a traditional northern Thai flair with the amenities of a big-name hotel chain.
The on-site restaurant offers an up-scale dining concept whilst maintaining the authentic flavours of Thai culinary traditions, inspired by the changing of the seasons.
A standout feature of the property is the spa, which incorporates 2500-year-old rituals into a graceful synthesis of healing traditions influenced by other South East Asian cultures.
- To book, check prices or availability for Singha Montra Lanna Boutique Style Hotel
16. A Day Villa Chiangmai – a funky and charming boutique B&B that offers a lower priced unique experience
Situated less than 1km from the Three Kings Monument and a 10-minute walk from hang Puak Market in the centre of Chiang Mai, A Day Villa provides a graceful boutique experience brimming with elegance and charm.
The interiors have maintained a historic look, with light woodwork and traditional trappings decorating each guestroom. This quirky style is however embellished with hip and trendy furnishings which include eccentric coffee tables, colourful sofas, and modern bookshelves.
Guests can relish an open-air ambiance on the sun terrace which is dotted by intimate seating areas, and girdled by a natural setting of soaring trees.
- To book, check prices or availability for A Day Villa Chiangmai
17. The Inside House – an attractive and chic place to stay in Chiang Mai set in a historic colonial-style building
Here we have a Colonial-inspired fairytale retreat, situated in the Old City’s southwest quadrant. The surrounding neighbourhood is brimming with hip and trendy hot spots, within which the hotel stands as one of Thailand’s most photogenic havens.
This whitewashed masterpiece stirs the senses as soon as you enter the high-arched, intricately carved wooden façade and towards the serene, Bodhi tree-shaded courtyard.
Throughout the property, drops of gold embellish the consistent white-and-green palette, and a substantial amount of traditional Thai details and artwork adorn the communal spaces.
The on-site restaurant Ghin is a bijou space serving an extensive and classic-leaning menu infused with delicacies from Asia’s many illustrious ‘foodie’ places.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Inside House
18. Villa Mahabhirom – SHA Plus – a stunning and characterful resort set in old wooden Thai houses for a very unique experience
An idyllic haven built for boutique-loving travellers in pursuit of high style and comfort, Villa Mahabhirom is an antique-chic wonderland of 14 restored century-old homes.
Its labyrinthine layout is teeming with zen gardens and artworks, living up to its name which translates to ‘Villa of Great Pleasure’. The property is set in a residential neighbourhood roughly 10 minutes’ drive from the bustling Old City, catering to seclusion seekers and couples on a romantic retreat.
Fit for a vogue photoshoot, the hotel’s vintage elements are enlivened by modern furniture, contemporary sculptures, and lush assortments of palms and cacti. The chocolate-coloured villas stand tall on stilts, and provide a stylish wall-less living room equipped with plush furniture and antiques.
- To book, check prices or availability for Villa Mahabhirom – SHA Plus
19. Tree Scape Retreat Resort – a relaxed retreat resort tucked away amongst lush surroundings
Every visual frame at Tree Scape Retreat is filled with greenery, owing to the resort’s spectacular setting amidst trees and shrubbery.
Whether you choose to take a dip in one of the on-site pools, or recline in a comfy chair in one of the many communal nooks, or meander down the property’s winding pathways, the essence of nature will soothe the soul.
Prepare to be transported to a moment of pure serenity as you retreat to your peaceful guestroom, where every detail has been thoughtfully embedded to enhance comfort and tranquillity.
Once you hire a bike from the hotel, boundless fun and picture-perfect scenery await in the surrounding area.
- To book, check prices or availability for Tree Scape Retreat Resort
20. JARITT NyMMANH – a high-end pet-friendly boutique bed & breakfast that offers great facilities and a gorgeous design
If you’re looking for a peaceful boutique where you can embrace beauty and seclusion, you won’t want to overlook this hidden gem.
Set in the popular Nimman area, this Lanna-style hotel offers idiosyncratic hangout spaces brimming with creativity, in an environment where old-world opulence meets modern charm.
The property is sprinkled with quirky décor and eccentric artwork, laid out in a seamlessly perfect colour palette beautified by rich patterns.
A handful of small open-air patios and an elegant garden with a fish pond bring a dash of nature to this inner-city haven. The guestrooms, while traditional in style, are up to date with contemporary fittings, to enhance a true ‘home-from-home’ feel.
- To book, check prices or availability for JARITT NyMMANH
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Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always been a sucker for an adventure. Growing up he was lucky enough to live in a handful of exotic far flung locations including Hong Kong, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania and since then he’s continued his taste for seeking out new cultures. So much in fact he now travels the world as a trading digital nomad, exploring everything from the sizzling street markets in Bangkok to random back alleys in Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for Cohibas, street food, playing carrom, and fine wine and knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Amsterdam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Italy as his favourite destinations.