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.
- 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.)
- 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.
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.
- 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