I just spent one night at Le Meridien Chiang Rai, in Thailand for 4,000 Starpoints, and it was incredible. The property sits just 1.5 miles outside of downtown Chiang Rai, overlooking the Kok River.
We arrived at the Chiang Rai airport from Bangkok at about 3:30 PM and took a $2 taxi to the hotel.
The open air lobby is beautiful. We were seated for check in and offered a refreshing beverage during the process.
My three favorite parts of the room?
The sliding window that connected the tub and the bedroom.
The welcome snack of fruit and chocolate truffles. The balcony with another day bed that overlooked a beautiful tree, the pools, and the river. We headed down to the pool for the afternoon, which was a few levels of infinity pools.
The pool was tolerable when the sun was out, but too cold when it hid behind a cloud. The pool is not heated and in January the average air temperature is only about 70 degrees because of chilly nights.
We ordered a drink at the pool, then went to toss a frisbee on a large grassy area where some other hotel guests were playing soccer.
When the sun set, we took the hourly shuttle from the hotel to Chiang Rai to see the night market. The shuttle costs 50 baht ($1.50) per person. It is convenient to take to Chiang Rai if you want to go to town right on the hour, so you don’t have to wait for a cab to be called to the property. There is no reason to take the shuttle back to Chiang Rai, though, because you can get a tuk tuk for 100 baht to take you any time.
After a meal of pad thai, some friend food, and bugs–yes, bugs–we caught a tuk tuk back to the hotel.
In the morning, we were being picked up at 8:30 AM for two days of sightseeing and trekking, so we had an early breakfast at the hotel’s buffet.
The buffet is ridiculously expensive by Thai standards (449 baht), but quite cheap by hotel buffet standards ($12.)
We grabbed an outdoor table near the water and gorged ourselves.
I had bacon, pancakes, a pork belly stew, pineapple, and a doughnut.Nearly everything I had was delicious, especially the pork belly, which I made sure to get seconds of. The only misstep was the pancakes, which had hardened from sitting out.
The breakfast buffet is the most expensive meal I ate in Thailand, but it was pretty cheap by US standards and well done.
I booked this hotel just a few days before arrival, and I didn’t spend much time there because of an already-booked tour leaving the next morning. If I had known how nice the hotel was and how welcome a change of pace the quiet setting would be, I would have arranged to stay longer.
This is a great hotel for $120 or 4,000 Starpoints per night (3,000 points pre night on the weekend.)------------------------------------------------------------
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