The Kingdom of Lanna, bordering Myanmar and Laos, is blissfully calm yet blessed with rich culture, mouthwatering cuisine and breathtaking landscapes. Mountain valleys, the dreamy sea of mist at sunrise, flower fields of all colors, and the breezy weather. Many of the reasons why we like it so much here. The capital of Lanna, Chiang Mai, is Thailand’s second largest city and is definitely a destination not to be missed. One of the best places to stay here is undoubtedly Four Seasons Chiang Mai, which is why we are staying here again. We are so happy to be back and oh did we mention that it is pet friendly here as well! Yeah! Checking into our Pool Villa 7, come with us this way.
Truly, a five star sanctuary tucked away and nestled among the lush emerald rice field and tropical gardens. Designed by the renowned, Bill Bensley, who we also call friend. Hence the style, the design, everything here is top-notch. Upon our arrival, as we stepped out of the car, the hotel manager and staff warmly welcomed us to Four Seasons Chiang Mai placing the beautiful flower wreath on our necks. We are so happy to find that the resort is very well maintained and looks as new as when we last stayed in 2017. The check in process is swiftly done and we are then escorted to our Pool Villa 7 via the golf car. The rice fields are evergreen and the Pool Villa is hidden away in the private lush tropical zone together with the opulent residential villas adding a supreme sense of tranquility, perfect for unwinding, recharging and romance seeking.
Pool Villa is definitely our most favorite accommodation category. Housed in a charming Thai looking villa celebrating the traditional Lanna elegance equipped with the stunning ornamental king-size canopy bed, white bed curtain from ceiling to floor, teak wood floor and matching wall with hand painted golden trees, private pool, day-bed on the swing, the pretty sundeck, lavish bathroom and outdoor shower, private dining area, and more. All of which were surrounded by water from all three sides. Of course, the first thing we did upon arrival was pool dipping in our villa.
Mountain trekking, rafting, visiting elephant sanctuary, doing Thai crafts, mastering Thai cooking with a chef, swimming in the waterfall, private romantic dining experience, pampering yourself with a world class spa, are just a few things that you definitely must do when you are in Chiang Mai! Luckily, some of these activities are available here at Four Seasons! Our all-time favorites are; first, taking a private cooking class at its legendary cooking school with Chef Tor and second, the private romantic dining experience at The Rice Barn. If you are staying at Four Seasons Chiang Mai, you definitely have to do these two. It’s a MUST.
The cooking studio is housed in this charming restaurant “Rim Tai Kitchen”, the beauty of teak wood is complemented by the marvelous dark yellow amber glass chandelier hanging down from the ceiling to the center of the long dining table. For our private Thai cooking class we choose the combination between Mastering Curry and Lanna Origin, as we both absolutely love Thai curry but we are also obsessed with Khao Soi Gai (One of the best Thai dishes ever created – the creamy curry soup with egg noodle and chicken!). So we were torn in between, Four Seasons then made a custom cooking menu for us, so we got to cook our favorite Green & Red Curry, as well as to cook Khao Soi Kai and Laab Mueng Moo (Minced Pork Northern Style Salad).
First thing first, the amazing Chef Tor, took us to the Four Seasons homegrown vegetable garden where we learn so much about Thai herbs, then we made our way back to the cooking studio to start our first dish (out of four) Red curry where we learn to make our very own curry paste and do everything from scratch! Chef Tor is a kind of person whenever you see him you want to give him a big hug; he is so kind, friendly, and always happy! Apart from being a great chef, he always makes it look easy to cook such mouthwatering yet elaborate dishes. After cooking all the four dishes, we must say that it is not that hard when you learn from the best. We 100% loved all of the dishes we learn to cook that day but the very special ones are red curry (my favorite) and Khao Soi Kai (for Patrick), you guys definitely need to cook these two. Red curry is the best one I have ever had. So just to get the recipe is pure gold! We are now certified by Four Seasons Chiang Mai as Thai cooks.Now the fun part, getting to eat our food! The staff has transformed the cooking school into a private romantic dining area. Our long dining table is fully covered with rose petals and endless beautiful bouquets, all of the 4 dishes we have cooked earlier are now being beautifully served on the table pairing up with the white wine. Bon Appétit.
Second favorite, Private Rice Barn Dining Experience. It is not an overstatement to say that my favorite place at Four Seasons Chiang Mai is the rice barn, the overwater pavilion perched onto the rice field, surrounded by the water and boosting the perfect view of the resort’s infinity pool. When we came here 5 years ago, we were greatly welcomed with the Private Sunrise Breakfast at the Rice Barn and it was breathtaking, the team decorated the place with the majestic Lanna style; endless orchid flowers, the breezy white long curtains all around the rice barn, Lanna’s exquisite handmade umbrellas all in white, and much more. It was just like a dream, definitely a breakfast to be remembered. So I wanted to surprise Patrick by re-creating the same moment. With the amazing help from the FS team who were very discreet and with a lot of attention to detail, we were able to re-create that perfect moment and completely take Patrick by surprise. Luxury is definitely the love language! And because we are completely obsessed with the rice barn we had a private romantic dinner with champagne pairing as well. The rice barn is completely lit up with endless candles. It was also perfect, equally romantic with a twist of different mood and tone. We chose the western full course menu, and we really loved the food. Unlike many of the fine dining five courses menu, the quality and the quantity of the food were serious; we could barely finish our dessert!
Now last tip for the stay, Four Seasons Chiang Mai has free bike rental service close to the main lobby, roaming around is super fun and we did not do it during our previous stay so we did not discover one of the most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai, which is located next to the hotel! Wat Pa Dara Phirom Phra Aram Luang, rated 4.8 on google, is only a 7 minutes bicycle ride from Four Season Chiang Mai. The temple has such gorgeous architecture and decorations, as lovely as that of Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang. Everything is done in Lanna style; the craftsmanship is superb and meticulous. Such a beautiful place to appreciate the moment and reflect.
We must say that we loved our visit at Four Seasons Chiang Mai as much as our last stay here if not more. We loved everything from our stunning Pool Villa, to the private breakfast and dinner at the rice barn, our spa treatment and crystal healing experience. Our private Thai cooking class with Chef Tor, Pottery and Organic Tie-Dye Class and much more. We will definitely be coming back here again. Until then take care and very much looking forward to seeing you again soon.
Jibbie & Patrick Gouret