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“Perfect Honeymoon Stay”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Howie's HomeStay

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Howie's HomeStay
Ranked #3 of 19 Hotels in Mae Rim
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Perfect Honeymoon Stay”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 April 2014

We stayed at Howie's Homestay for three nights during our honeymoon, and it was truly a highlight of our trip to Thailand. Howie and his wife Jerri have built an amazing home outside of Chiang Mai, with beautiful buildings set in the middle of a carefully curated garden that spans the entire property. We loved staying in our own building, set a bit apart from the pool and kitchen for a bit of privacy. Our "room" was, like the rooms throughout the property, designed to be both beautiful and functional - a hidden television at the foot of the television, a glass-enclosed bathroom overlooking a lovely garden with an outdoor shower and bath, a fridge tucked into an antique-looking cabinet outdoors filled with water, soda and other drinks, as well as an array of snacks. I could go on for pages, but in short everything about the property was wonderful, and we loved walking around the garden, swimming in the giant pool and lounging in the gazebo or on the lounge chairs.

Aside from the property, the food at Howie's was among the best we experienced in Thailand. Jerri's cooking was absolutely amazing, and far surpassed most of the Thai food we ate on our trip (we still talk about her Khao san noodles!). More impressive, she clearly went out of their way to cater to our tastes - when we mentioned how much we loved mango sticky rice, Jerri got ingredients at the market to make the dish while we were there. Additionally, I don't love fish sauce (which was difficult to avoid in Thailand) and Jerri had no problems finding substitutes so that we could eat everything.

The service here was also top notch, as Howie and Jerri went out of their way to make sure that we had a wonderful time both while we stayed with them and on the rest of our journey in Thailand. Before we even arrived, Howie recommended things to do in other cities in Thailand and set us up with a great tour guide to see the Chiang Mai temples and spa and dinner reservations at some of his favorite places in town. We ate each meal with Howie (and often Jerri) and loved hearing their thoughts and recommendations for different places and events/occurrences in Thailand. It was wonderful receiving such personal recommendations from people who have lived in Thailand for so long - we went to a local bistro with Howie and Jerri one night, where they are clearly cherished regulars, and visited Howie's masseuse where she gave us one of the best (and certainly the strongest!) massage we had while in Thailand. The level of service was really personal and unsurpassed, and Howie gave us recommendations for the next leg of our journey (which we happily took - the Shinta Mani spa in Siem Reap was amazing!) and checked in with us via email when we were heading back to the US.

Overall, I can't recommend this place enough. We had a magical stay and felt the price was more than justified. As a note on that, the price is all inclusive for room, food, snacks, drinks, laundry (which they happily did) and airport transfers, which made it cheaper than some of the other places we stayed in Thailand, which appeared less expensive on paper but were then more expensive once those extras were added in. We can't wait to go back on our next trip to Chiang Mai!

Room Tip: All the rooms are good rooms :)
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank JLRR2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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86 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 April 2014

We had a small amount of trepidation about booking what was a private hotel. being the only guests and having the owners being present... it was for sure something different than we had ever ventured into on our previous holidays.

From the moment we arrived at this spectacular property we knew we had made the right decision. The entry way itself is like out of some movie and it just got better as we entered into the resort. The gardens were amazing as was the lighting and design of every detail. That said, it was Jerri and Howie that made everything meld together to make this just an incredible holiday. Howie is like this salt of the earth type of guy who can engage you in conversations about most anything and Jerri was the perfect solution to our quest of experiencing the greatest cuisines of Thailand. We just anticipated eating "street food" in Chiang Mai but what Jerri prepared for us was not to be found in any street or restaurant for that matter as it was truly food made by someone who loves food. They kind of magically appear and then disappear so you never feel like your privacy is intruded upon. Our room was set in total privacy so we were like in our own zone of a huge property.

The property is very large so alone time and privacy was no problem and anything we needed was already thought of and ready. The fact that you pay just one price and all is included alleviates that pin prick feeling you get at other hotels where all of a sudden they add on this and that and your bill becomes crazy...here what you are quoted is what you pay so that by the time we left we both agreed that this place was not expensive and truly an experience!

Our room was like a dream with this amazing bathroom that put you right in nature but still gave you great privacy. We saw and did all the best things in Chiang Mai and the area but it was stuff Howie knew about being a local that brought us to places with no tourists but just crazy good. Thay have a special guide available, Mr Addy, for our day at the Elephant Trekking camp who was great and really gives the local Thai people flavor to it all. City tours, temples and best was just staying at home and enjoying the pool which we had all to ourselves

Howie helped us arrange special restaurants in Bangkok and arranged a wonderful tour company in Siem Reap for the next leg of our journey. They take all worry and decision making away and make it a perfect holiday as you can just really relax and enjoy life the way that they do, something that is never really found in even the best hotels. Based on our busy NYC life and professional careers this was just perfect to be able to spend time together and enjoy our life.

It's hard to explain Howie's HomeStay because it's so unique. That said, if you're looking at this page, even thinking about trying it, just do it. You will not regret this decision.

Howie and Jerri have created something so unique that it absolutely must be experienced. Don't be put off by the price, because when you look at the other options in the area (namely, The Four Seasons and the Dhara Dhevi) Howie's is actually a tremendous value.

This was a life-changing stay, and we look forward to returning as often as possible.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Matthew P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Strasbourg, France
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 March 2014

Howie's HomeStay is a true gem and the three days we spent there are unforgettable. Howie and his lovely wife Jerri are the perfect hosts and will make you feel at home immediately. As soon as you enter their magnificient property you know that you have reached a very special place filled with arts and antics, surrounded by an incredible garden. Howie will make sure your stay is perfect and organise your visits around Chiang Mai if you wish. Jerri is an excellent cook and we have enjoyed the best meals of our entire stay in Thailand during these three days.

A truly out of this world experience with two very special people. Thank you.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank benoitcazenave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Strasbourg, France
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 March 2014

Superlatives are missing to describe Howie's Home stay ... exceptional.. phenomenal ... amazing !!
This eco-property located 30 minutes from Chiang Mai city center , right in the jungle, has reached perfection . We have stayed with Howie and his wife Jerri a whole week and we instantly felt like we're part of the family... Howie and Jerri are the sweetest and friendliest hosts ... Howie is addict with antics (the architecture and the decoration of the house and the gardens are spectacular) whereas Jerri is just crazy about food : I have to say she cooks the best thaï food we've ever had, traveling throughout Asia over the past 10 years ..Meals are a festival of flavors, colors and happiness.. I first wanted to keep this thaï jewel as a secret, but I am so enthusiast that I decided to share this memorable experience with trip advisor readers ... A peaceful place for epicurean travelers only ! We just can't wait for coming back ! thank you for such a great welcome !

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Kealy67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seoul, South Korea
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 February 2014

The smartest choice that I made in 2014 so far is to stay at Howie's. Not to mention the private and luxurious experience the place offered, the warmest care of Howie and Jerri made me fell in love with Chiang Mai and their place. I am already planning to go back with my whole family to stay at their amazing 3 bedroom villa.
Jerri's homemade food was better than any other restaurant I'd been to including ones in 5 star hotels. Although it made me gain couple pounds while staying, I already miss her dishes.
Howie with 20 years of experience in Chiang Mai is the perfect person to know in town. Not only he could give us any information we need but also tell us about inside stories of town (so much fun to listen to).
I just like to thank Howie and Jerri for everything, they truly elevated my experience in Chiang Mai to next level.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank jenniferkim21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong, China
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 February 2014

Our family spent the 2014 CNY holidays at Howie's "palace" which has been a luxurious and out of this world experience. The landscaping and gardening is exquisite and so is the hospitality of the hosts, Howie and Jerri. By far, they serve the best Thai food (homemade with fresh produce) we've ever had!!
Lydia from Hong Kong

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Lydia L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 January 2014

How often in life do you lean in for something great, and WHAMMO, it's ten times better than you ever imagined? That is Howie's Homestay. Everything you encounter during a magical stay there is better than what you possibly could have expected. I think Howie enjoys lulling people with the name "Homestay" in the title, and then wowing them with an experience beyond that of the nicest hotel. There's a reason Howie rhymes with Wowie.

Here's how I would describe it: take the design aesthetic of an Aman resort (but again, so much better because it's Bill Bensley), add architectural marvels and gorgeously curated antiques, situate it thoughtfully in a gardener's lush paradise, plant distant mountains in the view, then populate it with your favorite aunt and uncle. Then invite your family, and only your family, for a stay.

In contrast to one of the previous commenters, we found this to be an absolutely wonderful place for (respectful) kids. You can warn them that you're spoiling them for life, that no Four Seasons will ever match up to what they will experience, but by all means don't miss a stay at Howie's because you are traveling with children. You just have to see the way that Jerri and Howie deal with children, allowing them perfectly to be children while simultaneously holding them to a high standard of behavior AND making them feel loved and welcomed.

As all the commenters have remarked, Jerri's cooking is matched only by her world-class hospitality. While we parents winced at our children's culinary peculiarities, she smiled more and more, constantly rising to any challenge they threw out. Not only that, but she delighted in entertaining the children one afternoon with a Thai cooking class. We wished we had her patience and her grace.

And where to begin with Howie? As with everything there, Howie lures you in with the most self-effacing background story, and then the tapestry unfolds. I think we saw about one fortieth of it, assuring that we will come back to learn more. This is like the house, or the garden. Did architect and client come together because of this shared philosophy on living, that a house, a person, a garden should reveal themselves gradually and with great care? I'll let Howie do his own revealing to each of you lucky enough to make it to his Homestay. Suffice it to say that my wife and I would like him to be our adoptive uncle.

The one sentence I found myself saying to everyone I told about Howie's was this: everywhere your eye comes to rest, it finds another delight. From custom cast bird's mouths on the ends of the rainspouts, to a pair of antique blue lions (Howie's favorite color) guarding the kitchen, to perfectly placed Thai window carvings and finials, to the most beguiling water feature that my children could not stop playing with, there is something to make you smile in wonder at every turn. I honestly regret taking time away to go into Chiang Mai.

The one foray you have to make with Howie is to visit his favorite nearby roadside restaurant. Imagine a place with concrete walls and low slung roof, no front wall, an open stove out front and worn wooden benches at tables, a place you would never have dared to stop unless you knew what Howie knows. Now imagine a perfectly curated lunch there with Howie, as each family member tried something new and delicious. Why couldn't this have been our first stop in Thailand? And that is it, the summation: Howie is the most masterful guide to Thailand; you really ought to see him first and in so doing, awake to so many of the possibilities in this beautiful country.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Dallas_discern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Howie's HomeStay

Property: Howie's HomeStay
Address: 75/1 Moo 1, Ban Mai, Mae Ram, Mae Rim 50180, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Chiang Mai Province > Mae Rim
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Luxury Hotel in Mae Rim
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Howie's HomeStay 4*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beautiful and unique Thai dream house in the Himalayan foothills outside Chiang Mai featured in Architectural Digest, now welcomes guests to the one bedroom Teak Pavilion. A singular accommodation with 8-meter teak ceilings, floor to ceiling windows that open onto tropical gardens plus outdoor bathroom with sunken bath can be yours. Total privacy, home cooked Thai dinners served by the palm-fringed pool, daily massages, car w/driver are all included. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Howie's HomeStay Chiang Mai Province, Thailand

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