X2 Chiang Mai Riverside Resort stunned me right off the bat with its distinctive red brick walls, a design that I later found out is a nod to the brick walls that still surround the city center of Chiang Mai, a place that used to be the capital of the Lanna Kingdom. The next surprise that literally had me squealing with joy? We were welcomed with cookies and cream chocolate bars that had our names on them! I personally love cookies and cream chocolate and couldn’t believe this was one of their welcome treats. We were also given refreshing cool towels, tamarind beverages and fragrant malai crown flower necklaces.
Within the short walk to our river view suite, we were given the lowdown on what’s behind X2 Chiang Mai’s unique design and overall architecture. The inspiration, along with the Lanna Kingdom, is Wat Umong is an iconic forest temple that’s characterized by its tunnels and meditation spaces. This became apparent as I discovered a few cozy, nook like areas within the hotel to relax in.
“The property was built on the site of an old rice winery and we actually unearthed some antique remnants during construction,” says Ewan Taylor, General manager, X2 Chiang Mai Riverside Resort. “Great effort went into preserving the natural features of the estate, which included a dramatic row of 120-year-old tamarind trees, all of which remain standing as part of the hotel’s unique character.”
Within the five-story resort, there are 30 stylish suites, each bringing together both traditional Northern Thai and Lanna architectural elements with modern design. I stayed in a riverfront suite which faced the property’s ancient tamarind trees that shade the glass restaurant beneath. My favorite part of my room was definitely the spacious balcony furnished with a plush couch where I could enjoy a glass of bubbly while admiring the view of Mae Ping River in the distance.
The X2 Chiang Mai Riverside Resort also features a rooftop cocktail bar and lap pool with sunken loungers overlooking the river and the iconic Doi Suthep mountain range. Peak relaxation? Laying back on a lounger, coconut water in hand, soaking in the hazy sunshine while reading Mindy Kaling’s “Why Not Me.” It was perfection! I was shocked I was the only one up there. Also on the rooftop is a fully equipt gym (I steered clear of it, because vacation).
This property boasts excellent cuisine at Oxygen Dining Room, which is the first restaurant in Chiang Mai to have had consultation from a Michelin-starred chef. Situated under the looming tamarind trees is this very cool, contemporary glass house restaurant that offers a menu of French-influenced Thai cuisine. Expertly plated, these recipes utilize the season’s best ingredients to create tasty dishes that double as works of art. The restaurant is right on the river, so I definitely recommend going on a nice stroll pre- or post- meal.
My favorite afternoon experience was high tea at the H2O Water Bar and Tea Lounge! This super cute lounge offers 50 brands of water and a huge selection of teas to pair with your sweet treats. Our lovely host came out with a selection of teas to choose from, and being the child that I am, I chose a banana caramel “children’s” tea. It was a caramel-y decaffeinated type with hints of banana and vanilla. Once our teapots came out, soon did our triple tiered selection of tea sandwiches, desserts that included macarons, cakes and mango-filled cream puffs, and flaky pastries. I felt like a princess!
The pampering only continues at their spa where they offer traditional Thai massages, body and face treatments, scrubs and aromatherapy in a relaxed, calm setting on the river.
It’s good to note that the property is super close to everything there is to see in Chiang Mai (restaurants, the famous night bazaar, temples and the old city center) and only 20 minutes from the Chiang Mai International Airport.
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Note: I was a hosted guest of X2 Chiang Mai Riverside Resort. However, as always, my opinions are entirely my own.
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