After booking this hotel, I received several emails giving us info about the local area and asking if there was anything else we would like to know or would like help with. The day before we left Perth we received the last one, confirming that their staff would be meeting us at Chiang Rai airport (and they were). The preceding emails and especially the last confirmatory one were appreciated, and this is reflected in the title of this review.
On arrival at about 9pm after complimentary juice, when the staff saw what a tragic I was (having come down with a heavy cold and sore throat the day before), they presented us with freshly made soup to help flush the virus out, plus echinacea and vitamin C. Again, this is reflected in the title of this review. We were told we could eat everything in the minibar at no further charge as it was included in the price we paid, so my husband enjoyed himself!
Design? - as the previous reviewer said, this small five roomed property is very new, so everything is in pristine condition and of modern design, with a Thai contemporary take on things.
Breakfast was not the customary buffet, but was several courses cooked for us. Service was personal and attentive. As with all things associated with RR, you get the feeling that the staff are made to feel equals, not subordinates, by the owners Greg and Koi (Sue), and in an Asia where sometimes I have felt like decking a manager because of the way the staff are spoken to in front of everyone, this was fantastic to see.
After breakfast we both had a complimentary body massage which was one of the best my husband said he had ever had (I haven't had enough to make a comparison).
I had asked via email prior to arrival about local orphanages and whether Greg and Koi could verify authenticity. They did as they themselves support one, and yesterday they arranged for two of their staff to take us via long boat complete with boxes of goodies there, up to visit the a hill tribe to drop off warm clothes and to have lunch there at a local HOUSE not a restaurant, fantastic! One of the men played the guitar while we ate, and my husband repaid the favour after the meal - a case of share food and music, what else could you want? The guitar player had lots of thoughts about globalisation and ecology and how they were affecting his people directly (translated by our hotel staff member). We felt privileged to have shared their lives for a moment and this was not your standard tourist visit - the other hotel staff member with us who drove, was a hill tribe man himself and this may have helped Greg facilitate our visit there. We also had an elephant ride which was your standard tourist fare, but the elephants did appear to be respected and well cared for (I have written some crushing reviews about 'attractions' that involve appalling treatment of animals in SE Asia in the past, FantaSea for example). We then drove back via the hotel land rover to the resort.
We stayed at River Rai for a short time, and I booked it as 'fill in' accommodation, after Thai Airways moved our flight date, thus we decided to book a different hotel for the extra time, rather than just add time to the one originally planned (Imperial River House Resort, reviewed separately). We would book River Rai Resort again in a heartbeat, and not as a filler. When I asked what time was check out? - the answer was when we felt like it, (we ended up doing all of the above, so it was about 5pm), and we were driven to the other hotel, a short distance away, and from where I now write this review.
If you want to be where the action is, right in town, then this is not the place for you. But if you want a laid back, zen-like experience with such personal attention you are stunned, where you want to be part of a tradition of going out to the resort garden on the bank of the Kok River, lighting a lantern and sending it skywards with all your hopes and dreams in, and would like something more than just to be fed and watered then this IS for you.
Lastly, and importantly, on leaving we were given a small carry bag that the hotel purchases from the autism society in Chiang Rai. Greg and Koi also employ a young man with autism to clean the pool and do garden maintenance.
It's a long review, but this is a new resort that offers something really different and deserves success.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Luxury boutique hotel in Chiang Rai with amazing river views, 10 minutes from both city Night Market and airport, with spa and fine Thai dining. A romantic getaway to relax, refresh and renew. Package rate includes airport transfers, full breakfast, a one hour massage per couple per stay, free minibar and wifi internet. Room Only rates available. Welcome to your home in northern Thailand. ... more less
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