Nestled in the fecund valley of Chiang Mai, in the Northern Thailand region of Lanna, Dhara Dhevi is one getaway where breathtaking beauty and opulent luxury are a way of life. A picture postcard perfect setting where indulgence is and should be your only concern, as you let the inner hedonist unwind and take it all in.
The resort’s unique design draws from the region’s rich architectural and cultural heritage that flourished during the Lanna period, which lasted from the mid-13th century until the mid-16th century and enjoyed a further resurgence in the last 200 years. It is these essential elements that contribute to an overall atmosphere of unparalleled luxury and serenity. The groups of buildings that form the resort complex borrow from specific vernacular styles such as Thai Lue or Haw Luang. Just as in authentic Thai palaces, the grounds contain paddy fields, lakes and Lanna-inspired houses.
Offering some of the world’s most spacious and exclusive accommodation, Dhara Dhevi’s 123 luxurious villas, colonial suites and signature residences have been crafted in keeping with traditional Lanna architectural styles. They feature extensive museum-quality artifacts, sumptuous Thai silks and local hill-tribe textiles, spacious terraces, some of which incorporate private plunge pools or swimming pools. The exquisitely designed interiors seamlessly blend age-old tradition with modern convenience and high technology.
Located in the north-west area of the resort with tropical garden views in close proximity to the main hotel swimming pool, main lobby and breakfast restaurant, the Colonial Suites are as decadent as they come. Housed in a beautiful colonial style two-storey building, the first floor suites boast spacious balconies, while ground floor suites enjoy direct access onto the lush gardens. Decorated in a charming colonial style, each suite features a bedroom and separate adjoining living room, as well as a large private veranda. The five-metre high ceiling enhances the guest’s sense of open space and palatial living.
But the piece de resistance has simply got to be The Royal Residence. Located in a self-contained area, the Royal Residence is a small ‘private retreat’ and is ideal for guests who seek exclusivity and privacy. It comprises six bedrooms, three with a king bed and three with twin beds. The ancient palace style architecture epitomises a grandeur and opulence of a bygone age, whilst every modern convenience and facilities have been incorporated into the unit—spacious bathrooms, generous living room space, large dining room and pantry, all connected by a walkway. Three private pools and three Jacuzzis complete the picture of ultimate luxury.
Take your pick from a whole cornucopia of restaurants, bars and cafes that can be found sprawled about the extensive property. Set in a cluster of traditional Lanna style buildings, Le Grand Lanna—the speciality Thai restaurant serves regional cuisine from both Northern and Central Thailand. Serving imperial Chinese cuisine along with dim sum in an elegant two-storey Sino-Portuguese style mansion, Fujian is another great dining option.
Highlighting ‘French progressive cuisine’ Farang Ses is an opulent French restaurant serving modern French cuisine including the all-time favourites such as duck ballottine, escargots, lobster bisque and chicken ‘Coq au vin’. But for a more laid back time, indulge in the long list of fantastic cocktails and champagnes served every evening at Rice Terrace overlooking the resort’s very own paddy fields. For a brandy and cognac nightcap, the Horn Bar featuring masks from different regions of Myanmar, depicting mythological characters, is THE place to unwind.
Speaking of unwinding, no resort experience in Thailand can be complete without a soothing spa session. And the Dhara Dhevi’s Dheva Spa and Wellness Centre takes care of all your sybaritic needs to the hilt. Spread out over 3,100 square metres, this spa is a destination unto itself. Modelled on a Mandalay Palace setting from Myanmar, this cluster of teak buildings features a seven-tiered roof, symbolic of reaching the heavens. Within the spacious 18 treatment rooms and suites, each guest is treated like royalty where a wide range of therapeutic treatments based upon local and ancient healing techniques are available.
The spa features signature ceremonies adapted from traditional practices from Northern Thai, Burmese and Indian cultures. Key treatments include The Royal Thai Ceremony, Lanna Ceremony, Mandalay Ceremony and Indian Ceremony. There is also a full range of aromatherapy treatments. Other treatments include reflexology, a hammam and authentic South East Asian scrubs, a rhassoul with Thai herbal mud, watsu Therapy, facials and hand and foot treatments. The resort also has a state-of-the-art fitness centre providing facilities for both private and group tuition in popular and alternative forms of fitness and well-being, complemented by two outdoor tennis courts.
Dhara Dhevi is the only resort in Chiang Mai that offers guests a regular daily programme for arts and crafts demonstration – basket making, bamboo weaving, rice pounding, paper cutting and flower arranging in northern Thai style. Guests can either watch or participate. The Cultural Centre also plans to host lectures by local and foreign experts on a wide range of topics related to Southeast Asian Culture, artisan and craft demonstration.
And for those with a voracious appetite for reading, the resort’s Jum Sri Hall Library houses several thousand volumes of books, journals and periodicals related to the region’s art, culture, cuisine and traditions. There is also a wide variety of books related to cooking, nature, health and fitness, yoga, and meditation.
For the shopping enthusiast, the Kad Dhara shopping village is located just inside the gate of the resort. It is a small village built in the local northern Thai style of the past, with a series of shuttered wooden shop-houses. This unique place is home to several speciality shops and upscale designer boutiques.
In a nutshell
The opulent Dhara Dhevi is the perfect retreat where stunning beauty meets class in a luxurious embrace, with the resort’s authentic rural setting, replete with working rice paddies and resident water buffaloes, offering an inspirational retreat for body and mind. All this coupled with world class amenities, great food and that typically Thai emphasis on fabulous service – always with a smile!
Address: Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, 51/4 Chiang Mai-Sankampaeng Road, Moo 1, T. Tasala, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand
Phone: +66 (53) 888 888
Image credit at the very top of the article: Dhara Dhevi