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“Nice Property & Great Amenities, Weak Front of House Staff”

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Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa
Ranked #7 of 380 Hotels in Chiang Mai
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore
Level Contributor
33 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Nice Property & Great Amenities, Weak Front of House Staff”
Reviewed 2 April 2013

I consider 3 stars a solid good. I liked our room. Property was clean. Location was convenient for us since we hired a car to drive us around town. We were here 3 nights and stayed in a balcony suite type room (forget the name).

First, I must take issue with some guy who wrote a review trashing this place a while back and said to go to the Chedi instead. This is the biggest flaw with Tripadvisor in my opinion. People tend to compare hotels based on a subjective class or star system. What they should do is compare places based on price. (Yes, a filter exists, but the system favors stars, not comparative economic value. Hotels are guilty too, every hotel wants to be a 5 star. There is no shame in being the absolute best hotel in the $50 dollar price range. It's commendable.) So anyway, the Chedi next door costs 3-4x as much as this place. So yes, it will better. But if that is your expectation then stay at the Chedi and pay the price. /rant.

Good:
- Easy and free wifi (finally another hotel that gets this).
- Included snacks in the mini bar. Yay!
- Clean rooms.
- Near the night market. So an easy walk and you can avoid dealing with stupid tuk tuk drivers to get home in the evening.
- Hotel messed up airport transfer, but did recognize the mistake and made amends. Good on them.
- Tasty Kow Soi for lunch
- Nice restaurant space
- Good breakfast. Friendly staff in restaurant. (again, if you expect a spread like the Chedi or La Meridian, stay there. There will also be 100s of people eating breakfast with you.)

Bad:
- The big spoiler for me was the front of house staff. I feel like once your property reaches a basic level of comfort and luxury it then becomes all about the employees and staff.

- They messed up our airport transfer and took the wrong guest upon arrival. No biggie, we called them and took a private cab instead - and saved $20 bucks in the process. The clean SUV from the airport was great and cost all of $5 USD. Pro tip: Take a meter cab or a flat rate SUV from the desk before you leave airport. Totally reasonable I thought. The hotel did apologize and fix the mistake. They gave us a free ride to the airport upon departure. That said, people who are in Thailand for the first time may find being left at the airport a bit more stressful than I did.

- No concierge. Only a 'travel desk'.
Not having a capable concierge at a hotel in this price category is a serious fail in my opinion. Since my visit to Chiang Mai was to sightsee and take in food and culture I really value inside and local advice. The hotel could not provide this.

Trying to get ideas and suggestions from the staff was fruitless as well. Their language ability and local knowledge just isn't there. (Probably because many of them are from the countryside and really know about as much as me about the actual city.)

- The 'Travel Desk'
A lot of reviews have complained about this. I also saw a management response to a review claiming that it's not fair to factor in "the actions of the travel desk into a review since they're a private business". Guess what, if you invite this company into your small lobby to act as your de facto concierge they do reflect upon your business.

I booked two activities through the travel desk. One was the ubiquitous zip-line trip (actually really fun) and the other was a cooking class (semi-fail, read review of class if you want).

I personally had no issue with them. They did a good job even if the usual Thai back and forth was a bit tedious and circular to my farang style of doing business.

But I can appreciate other peoples comments about how if you're not spending money on a tour they are no help.

Simply put, don't expect much help from the front desk staff when it comes to suggesting food, sights or anything unique. When it comes to being a boutique hotel there is nothing "boutique", custom or personalized about the staff-guest experience. The whole boutique thing only applies to the fact that it's a small hotel, really pretty, decent food and good facilities. If you value the human element of these places look further.

- Language
Weak english at the front desk. I didn't hear them speaking French or Chinese to the other guests. This surprised me too.

Advice to hotel:
Chiang Mai has universities and foreign students. Hire one to work your lobby to help guests enjoy their time in your city. I came to Chiang Mai see and learn. I could have lounged by my pool in Singapore for a lot less money.

So I guess it's about knowing what your guests want and why they come to your hotel. Being featured in Conde Naste or Architectural Digest ultimately isn't what makes a hotel great, it's the people.

Room Tip: Rooms back onto the road. This didn't turn out to be an issue. It was fine.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank stoneman60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ChairatPingNakara, Owner at Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, 10 April 2013
Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your detailed comments about our hotel and your stay. We always appreciate receiving candid comments from our guest's point of view.
As you recommended, we will definitely focus on more training our GSA for deeper local knowledge. By the way, all of our GSA staff were already university graduates, and mostly from hospitality major, so their basic understanding of English is superior to most local people. Nonetheless, we do encourage them to keep developing their facility in English, and work with them continually to progress.
Also, our GM has just produced a local map with points of interest, as well as a local map showing over fifty restaurants we can recommend to guests. We also provide a monthly list of events to each guest, and we are educating staff in all of these areas.
Your comments will help us show the staff the importance of local knowledge and good communication to our guest's experience. We do hope to be of service to you again in the near future.
Kind regards,
Chairat
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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English first
Level Contributor
32 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2013 via mobile

We stayed at the Ping Nakara for 5
Nights. We loved it! The food was good, the French toast was a highlight. The room was just lovely and the overall ambiance of the hotel is of a different time, we found the colonial feel very romantic.
The pool area is a little small and the pool doesn't get the afternoon sun or we would have spent more time in there. 10 minute walk to the night markets so it's quite convenient, quiet street so you can chill out. Complimentary mini bar and wifi was a
Plus.

We had 2 hour massage treatments in the nakara spa, probably one of the best spas I have been to. Highly recommend.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Emmafromsydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2013

We just left the Ping Nakara hotel after having spent 2 nights. What a lovely spot!!! We were able to walk to the night market & several restaurants in the area. The staff were so friendly & couldn't do enough for you!! The rooms are very comfortable & large...we had one that overlooked the back lane, just above the restaurant . It had a very nice balcony area which we used a few times to just relax & read a book or check emails.The breakfast which was included in our room rate was excellent, as were the cocktails we had at night before going out for dinner. All in all, I would highly recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Wendy N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
67 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 March 2013

Booked this hotel for 3 day holiday based on Trip Advisor reviews. Overall the hotel was very comfortable. The property is new construction based on old style design and fixtures. Rooms were comfortable, breakfast was simple but good. Staff was very helpful and ambiance was nice. The room design was a little quirky. Basically entrance foyer was shared with the bathroom. It would be difficult to receive guest while the bathroom was being used. The location of the hotel was also a little off the beaten track. Long walks there and back if walking anywhere.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank FirstClassPax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ChairatPingNakara, Owner at Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, 10 April 2013
Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your comments about your stay at our hotel. Our staff will be very pleased to know they did a good job for you.
Our hotel is located in the prime tourist area of downtown Chiang Mai. Close by the Ping River, the hotel is within a few minutes easy walk to major tourist attractions such as the night bazaar (open everyday from 6-11 pm), the local fresh market, and the pier from which river cruises depart. Several temples are in the immediate area as well. In addition, there are over fifty restaurants serving many kinds of cuisine nearby.
About five minute on the tuk- tuk ride, is the old city, inside the moat. In this area are many old temples as well as local neighborhoods. It is a nice area to explore during the day to see temples and old houses. There are walking streets in the evening every Saturday at Wualai Road and every Sunday at Ratchadamnoen Road. Guests can see more information and the map of our location in our website.
We hope to see you again on your future visit to Chiang Mai.
Kind regards,
Chairat
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Malaga
Level Contributor
129 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2013

The hotel is wonderfully located in easy walking distance, but not noise disturbance distance from the interesting night market and the river. The staff are very friendly and go out of their way to accommodate every guest wish.

We were not entirely sure whether the lack of appearance by the management was an indication of great " distance management" or the staff needed none and just got on with it!

Room are comfortable, the travel desk is a huge success, the bar service good, the restaurant a little patchy.

Despite this, we'd be back here in an instant we loved it!

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Friggykeith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ChairatPingNakara, Owner at Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, 13 March 2013
Dear Guest,

Many thanks for your comments on TripAdvisor. We are all pleased that you had a very nice visit with us.

Sorry that our GM didn’t have chance to meet with you during your stay. Normally, he always meets guests and talk with them about their experiences in our hotel and in Chiang Mai. Since the inception of the hotel we decided we did not want to operate the hotel following chain hotel’s formal style. That is why you will see our staff working without a manager hovering over every move. We are very proud of our staff, as they regularly receive compliments for not only their performance but also the fact that they are natural and friendly. Our GM works with all persons in a team to develop policy, good practice, and standards. If there is a problem of any kind he is there to help solve it. So far, we have found this to be a very good way of working for our staff and most importantly for our guests.

Thanks again for your compliment on our hotel, and we hope to see you again when you are back to Chiang Mai.

Kind regards,
Chairat
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, UK
Level Contributor
21 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2013

We enjoyed 4 nights here unwinding from jet lag in this boutique colonial-style hotel. We liked our balcony with a view over the treetops; the cooked-to-order breakfasts; the small but charming pool area; the excellent advice about local tours. It's a short stroll to the night bazaar or a 5 minute tuk-tuk ride into the centre of Chiang Mai.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mike_tedders
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 March 2013

Wonderful atmosphere recalls European rubber barons. Helpful front desk staff, though English somewhat limited. Lovely pool, had meals on veranda by pool. Room had a veranda too. Many special touches. Inexpensive 24 hour laundry service. Good location, 3 blocks from night market, but on quiet street, just off the river. Lovely temple next door and boat landing. Took trip on river too.

Room Tip: I expect all are great
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank judith j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa

Property: Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa
Address: 135/9 Charoenprathet Road | Changklan, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Chiang Mai Province > Chiang Mai
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Chiang Mai
#3 Family Hotel in Chiang Mai
#5 Luxury Hotel in Chiang Mai
#6 Romantic Hotel in Chiang Mai
#12 Business Hotel in Chiang Mai
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel and Spa. Set in the awe-inspiring colonial style of the early 1900’s, the Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel and Spa is located at the heart of Chiang Mai’s vibrant business centre and entertainment venues. The hotel is just a five minute walking distance from Chiang Mai’s famous Night Bazaar to the numerous riverside restaurants, while at the same time allowing guests to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the natural surroundings. The three-storey hotel with a central elevator boasts of 19 luxury guestrooms, all individually styled and elegantly furbished with the colonial charm. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in all the rooms including a TV, DVD player and a free mini bar. The hotel's restaurant offers a wide variety of food from authentic Thai cuisine to Western dishes. Coffee and tea, soft drinks, wines and liquor are served at the Lobby Bar, and guests can enjoy their drinks in the comfort of the library or at the peaceful verandah by the outdoor pool. For holistic health and relaxation, guests can unwind and enjoy the genuine Ayurvedic treatment from the hotel’s Nakara Spa. Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel and Spa offers a broad range of services, facilities and amenities designed to provide personalized service and first class hospitality. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel Chiang Mai
Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel And Spa

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