I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi with my three teen-age children. We only spent two days in Chiang Mai (which wasn't enough). We stayed in a large one-bedroom villa and had two beds brought in to accommodate two of my kids. The Mandarin is truly an amazing property. It's unlike any hotel I've ever stayed at. It truly gives its guests the feeling of being transported back in time to a Thai village before any westernization. We only stayed two nights, so I can't comment on many of the services and restaurants at the Mandarin, but I'll set forth below that factors that would be important to me if I were considering staying at the hotel.
The atmosphere of the hotel is special. It's quiet and serene. It's a vertical hotel. It's spread out over many acres. The villas are more like a neighborhood they way they are laid out around two separate working rice paddies. The it's so spread out, it's not really walkable the entire time you are there. The first few times walking from a villa to the reception area (where you would get a cab and where she main hotel pool and restaurants are located) is a charming experience because there is so much to see. But after a while, transport will be wanted. Guests can either call for a golf cart pickup or use bikes. We used the hotel bikes and really enjoyed it. The employees walk or ride bikes through the property dressed in traditional Northern Thai garb.
The villas are nothing short of spectacular. Made of teak and well appointed. Our master bedroom suite was just stunning. It included a walk-out patio that overlooked one of the rice paddies. All the villas have a similar view. The bed was very comfortable. The bathroom large and came with everything you could possibly need. The villa was more like staying in a luxury Thai home. A bottle of wine waited us (me) on arrival. It was plenty large for the four of us.
The buildings on the property represent architecture of various countries in the region. Burmese, Laotian, and Thai architecture are all represented. Artwork abounds everywhere you look. Just walking through the property would be a tourist attraction.
I used the gym and the smaller pool. Both were great. Every time we called the front desk, they were courteous and responsive.
Incredibly expensive! I knew the room rate we were getting into, of course. I decided to splurge on our lodging in Chiang Mai so we could have the experience of staying in the Mandarin. What I was surprised at was just how expensive everything else at the hotel was. I'm an experienced traveler, and know that food and services at a hotel are much more costly than generally anywhere else. But even in light of that expectation, the Mandarin raised my eyebrows.
We were charged $65 per night for each of the two beds we had brought in. A massage at the spa was more than $120 for an hour. A beer out of the mini-bar was $8.00. For Thailand, these prices were outrageous. We checked out the menus for the restaurant and bar and decided to go into town. Prices were easily double what one would pay at a good restaurant anywhere else in Chiang Mai.
As we were leaving to catch an early flight to Koh Samui, we could locate only one of the two room keys we were given. We frantically searched to no avail. We were charged $150 for the lost key. We found the key at the airport, and our driver returned it to the hotel, but the fact the hotel would charges us such a ridiculous amount left a bad taste in our collective mouth.
So, while the experience was unique among hotels, it comes with a very high price tag.
The villas are amazing!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC