I echo other reviewers here: very nice, elegant little boutique hotel with very prompt, kind, and professional staff. Not a five-star, knock-your-socks-off experience, but a very solid 4-star place that is good value for money. Our room was nicely appointed (we would have appreciated more complimentary water, but I think we got spoiled with boatloads of bottled water at other larger hotels) and the bed was very hard but surprisingly comfortable. We were not thrilled to find so many mosquitos in Chiang Mai (we had to kill several in the room the first day); there is mosquito netting around the bed, but it is rather ineffectual as it is not a full piece of netting (they need to take a lesson from the safari lodges in Kenya to learn what mosquito netting around a bed should really look like). However, the front desk will give citronella oil spray if you ask, so there's that. It was quite hot and sticky in Chiang Mai (it was probably 90 degrees F yesterday in Chiang Rai), and the mosquitoes were out in full force, sadly. But that's not Aruntara's fault, obviously, so just be warned that you should bring some itch cream and repellant if bugs love you.
The hotel grounds are lovely and the restaurant/breakfast area is wonderful (faces the river and a manicured lawn area). There's a little tapas/wine bar that did not have staff the one time we tried it; we ended up walking back to our room. Breakfast choices are very limited (perhaps this is an unfair comparison, as I am thinking of the amazing brunches at places like Lebua, Mandarin Oriental, Langham, Hyatt, etc.), but the omelet station is nice, and the few light meals we had in the restaurant were well-prepared (the khantoke was especially delicious).
We liked the location (in the peaceful Muslim neighborhood of the city) and enjoyed our 20-minute walk to the night bazaar and our 30-min walk to the old city, but I can also see why some people might not like the location due to the distance. You can get a tuk-tuk to the old city for about 100 baht (depends on time of day and number of visitors in town; if the drivers think they can fry bigger fish/more willing tourists, they will hold firm with inflated price and not bother negotiating). There is usually a tuk tuk outside the hotel, though, and song teows are fun to buzz around in.
Overall, really nice little hotel and fantastic staff!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Aruntara Chiang Mai is a true treasure for hotel aficionados and the traveling cognoscenti alike. Its British colonial design is complimented by Northern Thai influences that embrace the present while respecting the past. High ceilings sit above beautiful towering teak columns traditionally crafted by Thai tradesman. Each of the luxurious guest rooms is designed to offer stylish accommodation with an expansive open-plan living area and an abundance of room to relax and unwind while glancing over Chiang Mai’s Mae Ping River. ... more less
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