Living in Chiang Mai means I haven’t stayed in many hotels in Chiang Mai. So when people ask for recommendations, I tend to give the same several answers based off of a couple stays or where I put up family over the years. But there are over 1,600 properties listed on Agoda alone…so many options!
There are also a lot of options that are surprisingly close to the center of town yet feel worlds away and are particularly good for visitors who are already familiar with Chiang Mai or are just visiting for a short escape from Bangkok or Singapore.
One such example Maraya Hotel and Resort located south of the Old City. The 18-room riverside resort makes a great getaway or, in my case, staycation, especially with its view of a reconstructed chedi (pagoda) just across the river. Part of an ancient city that existed before Chiang Mai called Wat Khum Kam, the unique chedi framed by palm trees offers a quintessential Southeast Asia scene that you can enjoy from your room’s balcony, the property’s restaurant, riverside lounge area or pool – magical!
Rooms at Maraya Hotel are surprisingly spacious, feeling more like an apartment than a hotel room including a couple different seating areas.
The hotel’s open-air restaurant, Pagoda, is also surprisingly good. I usually find small boutique hotels in Thailand to either have incredible food or incredibly mediocre food, often offering the same five Thai-ifying western dishes you can find anywhere or dumbing down Thai dishes for a foreign palate. At Pagoda, their take on classic Thai dishes means fusing them with some imported ingredients or upping the presentation but staying true to the original Thai flavors. For example, instead of typical moo bping, barbecued pork skewers, they grill the pork which has been skewered on a lemongrass stalk and serve it with a spicy chili sauce that hasn’t been toned down on the spice factor. Salmon with panaeng curry served on squid-ink spaghetti is another good example of fusing ingredients but keeping the original (delicious) flavor of panaeng curry.
I loved the change of location and scenery from my usual spots in Chiang Mai and took the opportunity to explore Wiang Khum Kam, along the river and the Saraphi district more than I have before. The property also offers a welcome alternative for celebrating some of the major holidays like Loi Krathong or New Year’s Eve. After six years here, dealing with the crowds in the center of town during holidays and festivals can get irritating and large hotel celebrations can feel contrived, but the size and location of Maraya Hotel help you feel that you’re still participating in the spirit of the holiday without being overwhelmed.
And you still can’t beat that view.
Rooms at Maraya Hotel & Resort in Chiang Mai are priced starting at 4,900 baht in the low season from March – October and 5,900 baht in the high season from November – February with a few rate hikes during peak holiday seasons like Christmas or New Year. This does seem to be a little high for Chiang Mai but you can check out their current special offers for significant discounts (like up to 40% off early bird bookings) and perks (such as late checkout until 4:00 pm or free airport transfers). Low season prices on Agoda were cheaper, but didn’t offer any extra perks so it’d still be best to book directly through the hotel.
While not within easy walking distance to much except some good riverside restaurants, the hotel is still really easy and quick to get to located less than 15 minutes driving from the Night Bazaar area or center of the Old City and less than 10 minutes from the airport.
Looking for other accommodation suggestions? Check out these unique boutique hotels in Chiang Mai:
Note: I was a grateful guest of Maraya Hotel & Resort.
Hey! I'm Alana and I've spent nearly the past decade living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, working as a writer and photographer. I started Paper Planes as a place to share local insight, special places, and how to travel well through a range of experiences — from hostels to high-end hotels, street meat to multi-course meals.
New places are always calling my name...
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