I own a busy cafe and catering business in the UK and as well as this I grew up in a hotel from the age of two. I wish to be fair to the owners as I know they are trying hard and this review is meant as constructive advice not hurtful criticism.
The location of the hotel is beautiful, quiet and ideally situated for the attractions along the Mae Rim strip - e.g. Elephants, Tiger Kingdom, Botanic Gardens, trekking etc. Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is a 500 Baht taxi each way - I preferred the quiet of this immaculate hotel with the tree frogs chirriping away to the hurly burly of staying in Chiang Mai.
The housekeeping and cleanliness of the rooms was superb, with quiet air conditioning, fresh bed linen and superb beds. There were even complimentary DVDs to borrow. The hotel grounds are exquisite with a new delightful discovery and aspect every day - a credit to the grounds people. In fact all the staff we encountered were wonderful and realy made us welcome. In no way are they responsible for the few faults this hotel has and that revolves around the food.
We dined in on the first night and sampled two Northern Thai dishes, the first, Chiang Mai sausages, was swimming in grease and the other a noodle dish was really below par. The noodle dish was akin to a cheap takeaway meal not a restaurant standard dish. The menu in the restaurant was overpriced (perhaps taking advantage of the hotel's isolation) and the 17 % tax and service charge on top was an insult really. In previous reviews the owner has said that the prices are on a par with other four star properties in the area, that may be so, but then the food must be of four star quality and it really is not. The food issue was extremely frustrating for us as we had no transport and had to go to great lengths to avoid the hotel restaurant. Working in the catering industry myself I just felt it was an opportunity missed for the owner - the restaurant was empty most nights when with more moderate prices and decent (not pretentious or gourmet) cooking he could have been on to a little gold mine.
Things did not get better in the mornings with the breakfast which was seriously disorganised, forgotten items, erratic portion sizes and some tepid plates (we stayed a week so we had quite a few breakfasts). Again I don't think the waiting staff were to blame I think the problem lay with the kitchen.
One reviewer said management was absent, I did get a glimpse of the owner so I know he wasn't absent, however I think these lovely staff need more leadership from the owner and if the food could be improved I really would rate this hotel more highly.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- It is a relaxing, boutique, garden resort situated in the beautiful and tranquil Maerim Valley, a 30 minute drive from Chiang Mai International Airport and in the centre of the wide range of Chiang Mai's attractions. Offering a full range of recreational activities the facilities include two swimming pools, a beautiful Thai spa, a fitness centre, a sauna, and a lakeside relaxation sala with library These facilities are surrounded by the finest relaxation environment and nature. The resort features 47 understated rooms & villas in huge sub-tropical surroundings with approximately 1,000 trees, an impressive lake, 3 fishponds and many garden areas with relaxing garden salas. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Away Suansawan Centara Boutique Collection Hotel Mae Rim
- Suansawan Resort Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Province, Thailand