My husband and I spent three nights here on the second leg of our Thailand honeymoon in April 2013. First, let me say, I am not sure who "complains" about things at this property, but I would personally ignore them - they all need a dose of reality. Spending time at the tented camp is a special experience that, although shared by many, the staff really tries to make personal and memorable. Worth the extravagance. Am not sure I have much to offer beyond that of other reviewers, which have it pretty well covered, but here are my thoughts:
Arrival: The camp ensures your arrival at the airport to your arrival at the camp is pleasant and seamless. As described by others, they pick you up in an luxury, air conditioned vehicle, and it is about an hour drive to the camp, where you are taken by longtail boat to the property. There are welcome drinks for you on arrival and the scenery is unbelievable.
Rooms: The tents are fabulous. I am pretty sure housekeeping cleans them 5 times a day. Down to the tinest details, I was completely impressed. Outdoor shower was a favorite. Reviewers have complained about having to zip in and zip out to get into the shower and bathroom, but you are in a luxury TENT in the jungle, people. Minor inconvenience. The bed was very comfortable, and it was really nice having the outdoor lounge area overlooking the jungle. The minibar is well stocked and one of my favorite things was the fresh cookies - so delicious.
Food/drink: I cannot tell you how wonderful the food is. I literally still wake up in the middle of the night a year later and dreaming about the pad see ew I ate for lunch one day. They have both more American-ized and Thai options and they grow a lot of the fruits and vegetables in an organic garden located on the property. I wish we would have stayed another night just so I could eat more. We also partook in the wine / cheese tasting you can do nightly at your leisure in the wine cellar. They make the most wonderful cocktails and infusions and drinks at the Burma Bar each night to watch the sunset is a special experience - it is an opportunity to get to know the other guests (there aren't that many of you) and just feels very intimate and special. You can eat whenever you want so you are never on a schedule. We did a private dinner at the elephant camp one night, which I highly recommend. They sit down with you earlier in the day to plan the menu to your desires and it is just a really special experience (you are greeted by the elephants, serenaded by local musicians, waited on hand and foot, etc.).
Experiences: The best way to approach the experiences at the camp is to take a "choose your own adventure" approach. The camp will plan daily morning and afternoon activities for you, but feel free to skip them. Personally, I would recommend not doing the activities other than anything involving the elephants and doing the longtail boat ride down the Mekhong River. We went to the Hall of Opium which was pretty much the most depressing thing ever, and did not go to the local markets on the recommendation of some other guests (most were put off by the smells and haggling). The camp is trying to support local tourism, which I respect, but the camp is so lovely, why leave! In addition to seeing the baby elephants at breakfast, we had a great day training and riding. Am sorry to those guests that felt it was too "Disney" like but I don't get many opportunities to ride elephants in my everyday existence and thought it was pretty cool. Maybe I am just easily impressed. But it was certainly an experience for me and I love the photos and memories we have from it. The story of the elephants is very heartwarming, and we spoke to several guests who were at the camp for a repeat visit and it is pretty neat that you can come back and ride "your" elephant several years later. Other reviewers complained about the elephants that roam on the property being chained - the chains are very long and necessary to keep the elephants from running off to Burma where the camp can't get them back so I didn't take issue with it...made perfect sense to me.
Spa: We chose to do our massages at the spa, which is a very long walk as a heads up, but a pleasant one. What a great massage...I fell asleep and woke up to my technician gently braiding my hair. So lovely. Like a dream.
Service: By my estimates, there are about 5 staff members to every guest at the camp. You will not feel more taken care of anywhere. Everyone is always smiling and knows your name and just seems really happy to be working there. What a nice group of people.
In summary, I am just really sad that I likely won't have an opportunity to visit this property again for some time - but look forward to when we can once again find the time to travel halfway across the world and I would love to go back. As noted, we stayed 3 nights, but I think 4 nights would have been the perfect amount. Everywhere else has paled in comparison since but you just have to section it off as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have been on safari in South Africa and it is very similar in its uniqueness but different in that it is much more relaxed and the experience is distinctly Asian. A heartfelt thanks to everyone at the camp who made our honeymoon incredibly special!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Escape to the natural wonders of Northern Thailand, just south of Burma, west of Laos, for an unforgettable experience. On our unique min 2 nights stay excursions, you'll have the adventure of a lifetime trekking elephants through lush jungle and spectacular mountain trails. Unwind in our superb luxury tented accommodations, which feature stunning views and Four Seasons luxury. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- 4 Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle
- Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle Hotel Chiang Saen
- Four Seasons Chiang Rai
- Chiang Rai Four Seasons
- Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle Chiang Rai Province, Thailand - Chiang Saen