I really wish I could write a glowing review about this place because there are so many great things about it. Unfortunately the rapid growth of Chiang Mai is slowly but surely ruining the ambience of what probably was once a peaceful hideaway.
As others have reported this is a family-owned resort. The property has been in the family for more than twenty years and the resort was opened about seven years ago. The cabins are constructed from old elevated rice barns. They are quaintly decorated. The surroundings are green and gorgeous. They have planted hundreds of varieties of ferns, all shapes and sizes, most of which I had never seen before. The service was generally very good. We had reserved one standard villa and one deluxe villa but were pleasantly surprised to have been given a complimentary upgrade to two deluxe villas. The food at the restaurant was quite good but not exceptional. Good Thai food is easy to find in Thailand.
A few quibbles: the photos on the website might lead you to believe the cabins are spaced out with lots of trees in between for privacy but in reality they are clustered together in close proximity. Not such a big deal. The shower and toilet could have used a bit of renovation—moldy caulking in the shower and cheap plastic fixtures. The shower head was broken and stuck on massage mode until I forced it with a tool back into spray mode and even then it didn’t work so well. Also not a big deal given the rustic environment but these would be inexpensive and easy things to fix. Some of the amenities were not usable due to disrepair. The weight machines were rusty and immobile, at least one of the bicycles had a flat tire. Not a critical problem for me as I wasn't planning to use them. The mattresses were well-worn and in need of replacement. I could feel the wires of the box springs digging in to my ribcage as I laid down. There was no exposed metal but the padding on the mattress was worn to an extent that the wire frame could be felt. This was a bigger deal as I would expect a resort that costs over $100/night to have good mattresses.
Finally, the deal breaker. Fern Paradise is not the secluded hideaway that you might expect it to be. It may have been at one time but Chiang Mai has caught up with it. You can’t *see* it from inside the resort but you can certainly *hear* it. The resort is bordered by a busy highway with lots of fast moving traffic and there is no escaping the noise. The wall of the cabin are, by design, thin. The traffic lessens at night but I actually found it more disturbing because just when you started to enjoy a few moments of tranquility a truck or motorcycle would roar by. It disturbed us enough that we decided at midnight of our first night that we would cut our four-night stay short and look for another hotel.
It’s really a pity. The small problems could easily be fixed but the encroaching city and resulting traffic noise will only get worse. It’s a big problem for a resort that bills itself as a “peaceful oasis” and unfortunately it’s not one that anybody can fix.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The touch of nature, to live in the old rice barn, to meet the diversity of ferns, to be away from crowded city and stay in a peaceful land which is surrounded by shady trees and variety of ferns. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Fern Paradise Hotel San Sai
- Fern Paradise Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
- Fern Paradise Hotel Chiang Mai