We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Wowie Howie”
Review of Howie's HomeStay

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 4 more sites!
Howie's HomeStay
Ranked #3 of 19 Hotels in Mae Rim
Certificate of Excellence
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Wowie Howie”
Reviewed December 13, 2012

What's not to like, much less absolutely fawn and drool over?

Both the bedroom and the public rooms and gardens are far more inspiring than the Four Seasons (nearby) or the Mandarin Oriental (about 30 minutes away). If you are considering either of these luxury hotels, you should consider instead staying at Howie's for 20-80% less. Keep in mind that you don't pay extra here for the meals.

We particularly enjoyed getting to know Howie and Jerri, especially learning to cook Thai food with Jerri in the kitchen. Additionally we had the privilege of being in Chiang Mai during Loy Kratong festival during which Howie and Jerri personally guided us on an evening tour through the city, helping us both navigate the chaos and understand the traditions.

Besides the hosting, the other main point of difference at Howie's is the design. The house was designed by Bill Bensley who is racking up awards for hotel design around the world. A number of pavilions are connected by enchanting outdoor walkways, gardens ponds and pools, including an outdoor dining table with a fountain in the middle of the table, sitting under a canopy of trailing vines amidst traditionally built brick columns. Every time you turn a corner there, you see a new detail of interior or exterior design to delight you. The bathroom of the room included its own large private garden with exterior tub overlooking the lotus pond and outdoor shower as well. Everything was beautifully presented and dramatically lit - it is rare for a space to look even better at night than during the day. I completely agree with the previous review that says the property really looks like it does in the photos.

I had not heard of this place until a friend tipped me off, but I can't imagine visiting Chiang Mai again and not returning to Howie's.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank EtherealKotuku
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

86 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    84
    2
    0
    0
    0
See reviews for
25
45
2
Business
0
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 3, 2012

Before arriving at Howie's Homestay, Howie told me that the place was better than the pictures on his website. I doubted it after staying at so many places in the past where the professional pics are amazing and the real place is "eh...." Plus, the pictures on his website are incredible.

Well, Howie's Homestay beat the pics and we were instantly thrilled that we chose to stay there for 5 nights as soon as we arrived!! The place was absolutely incredible and we had the whole place to ourselves (with, of course, Howie and Jerri there to host us like no other).

The best part about Howie's Homestay is the service. Its the best I have ever received (and I do get to travel quite a bit). Every detail and need is attended to.

I especially enjoyed the "all-inclusive" nature of Howie's. I'm tired of the "nickel and diming" you get at so many places, so it was nice to arrive and have all our needs included in the price (meals, airport transportation, wireless internet, and even laundry)!

A small critique is that the Air Conditioning in the room doesnt cool the room to a temperature that I preferred. I enjoy it cool when I sleep (~68F) and we could only get the rooms down to ~75F.

On our last night with Howie and Jerri, Howie told us that they dont view hosting guests as a business, but rather as an opportunity to entertain and meet new people. What a perfect way to describe it! I felt like we have met 2 incredible people (that happen to allow folks come stay at their private resort) that we will continue to keep in touch with for years to come.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Erich F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 30, 2012

AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME! Howie's HomeStay is excellent for families and young couples. We visited with our 11 month old daughter and our BIL/SIL (no kids) also were with us!
I was a bit nervous as this was our first trip with our daughter BUT, once we arrived it really was like visiting our favorite Uncle and Aunt (Howie and Jerri) but in Thailand! :D They are amazing hosts and we will never forget this truly amazing trip.
Every detail of what we needed was attended too, no request is too small for Howie's HomeStay. The whole environment is a dream and so relaxing! From the pool, to the outdoor areas, to the rooms, every inch is covered with Thai-like details that let you know you are in another country while keeping the creature comforts of home nearby.
We stayed in the suite and were provided with a bassinet for our daughter along with a thoughtful basket of baby wipes, baby soap for washing baby, bottles and clothes.
Almost every night we dined together looking at the beautiful pool and mountains in the distance, with fantastically authentic food! It was our BIL's birthday, so Howie's helped us surprise him with some pie and a-la-mode to celebrate.
*It's not really in Chiang Mai, but that doesn't make a bit of difference, it is centrally located near many attractions such as elephant rides, river rides, tiger viewings, orchid farms, crocodile farms, four wheeling park etc... AND only a 20 min or so ride to Chiang Mai proper to take advantage of the markets and spas, Howie's provides the transportion.
We don't want to travel anymore because Howie and Jerri have set the bar too high!
We can't recommend this gorgeous and delightfully personable atmosphere enough, GO GO GO!!
My only small critique was that the rooms were a little warm for us, perhaps we should have opened all the doors/windows? But to add some context, we came from Guam where it is hot and humid 24 hours a day and we are used to indoor temperatures being much colder. I'm sure if we stayed longer we would have been adjusted to the evening temperatures. :) NEXT TIME we will stay longer!

Room Tip: The Suite is good if you have a young child with you.
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank bosxco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2012

Homestay is a very modest word for a gorgeous property with architectural street cred, decorated with beautiful objects from all over the globe. And yet a homestay is exactly what it is -- gorgeous as the property may be (the photos on the website speak for themselves), the welcome we received from Howie and Jerri made our experience so much more than just a stay in a beautifully curated museum of objects d'art.

Being lovers of architecture ourselves, we were regaled with stories about the property -- the hidden TV, the rare orchids, the occasional transplanted Americana etc. The place is clearly a labor of love, and with hip, overly design-conscious hotels a dime a dozen, the personal touch made for a much cozier experience.

Howie and his lovely wife, Jerri, were the ultimate hosts. Always ready with a tall drink, a funny story, good recommendations whenever you needed them. We were always comfortable, entertained and well-fed. They also gamely took on the challenge of hosting our 10 month old daughter and were such experts at entertaining her that it was hard to believe she was the first infant to overnight at their home.

We seldom yearn to return to the places we have visited, preferring instead to explore new destinations. But this beautiful home and the lovely hosts may have just changed our minds about that.

Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
4 Thank shupeshupe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pattaya, Thailand
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed June 20, 2012

Stunning. Refined, classy, elegant and the perfect romantic get-away. Howie is passionate about Chiangmai and has created an architectural masterpiece. Simply first-class.

If you can afford this type of Lucullan experience, book it. Bring the one you love.

Fabulous

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Corybantic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
26 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2012

I'll begin by saying that I'm a little jealous that I'm not the first to write a review here, and I'm also a little put out that the first two reviews are so thorough and well-written. Everything that they say is true: the place, Howie's Homestay, and the people, Howard and Jerri, are welcoming, beautiful, and unique.

Every effort has been expended on making the estate into the perfect expression of Howard and Jerri's conception of beauty, luxury, and peace. Some examples of this include the tiles in the washroom, which were made from Italian glass infused with copper; a set of pillars in the garden which took five years to construct using only one individual builder to ensure consistency; and a light and sound system integrated seamlessly into the grounds and structures which facilitates total control over mood and atmosphere.

Howard and Jerri will also expend no less effort ensuring that you feel welcome and at home among friends. They will guide you to the best food, the best scenery, and the best services.

If you're trying to decide between this and one of the luxury chains around Chiang Mai, there really is no choice. Just go to Howie's. The omelette alone is unforgettable!

Room Tip: There's only the one, and it's magnificent!
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ssyang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2012

Review for a three night visit March 4-7, 2012.

A stay at Howie’s HomeStay is a step into a fantasy Lanna world of Northern Thailand courtesy of the vision of owners Howard and his lovely wife Jerri and brilliant architecture and design of Bill Bensley.

There are several superb descriptions of the property, so I will confine my review to the guest experience. For details and photos of the property, visit www.howieshomestay.com.

Those looking for an exceptionally unique experience will not be disappointed both in the property and the hosts. I have stayed at many luxury resorts around the world, but this is perhaps the most unique property where I’ve had the pleasure to take temporary residence. Howard and Jerri certainly provide the most unique overall hospitality experience.

To be clear – this is a homestay, not a commercially developed resort. Built as a labor of love to be lived in, enjoyed, experienced, not simply a commoditized branding of exclusivity. Howard and Jerri built an estate they love for them to live in and share with friends. Now they are providing the unique opportunity to stay as their guests and be entertained and enchanted by them.

Entering the property via a wooden walkway over water and through a gate is a transformation into a serene refuge. Every dimension – sight, sound, light, texture, etc - seems effortlessly balanced and natural. One hallmark of the entire property is the impeccable taste in every detail – the extraordinary teak wood, decorative pieces, arrangements, colors, textures, fabrics, lighting. Bold and innovative ideas executed with precision, decorative contrast and aesthetic distinction. Nothing is boring. Nothing is ordinary. Nothing is mediocre. Elements of nature seem to re-introduce themselves to your senses because they are not secluded from living spaces.

Guests stay in their exclusive teak pavilion located in a secluded enclave that provides privacy but doesn’t give a feeling of isolation. Enormous windows on three sides of the pavilion combined with high ceilings provides a uniquely open integration between interior and exterior spaces. During the day with the curtains drawn, the pavilion feels like it opens and extends out into the surrounding green, integrating harmoniously with its surroundings. The pavilion provides a remarkably fluid flow between interior and exterior spaces. At night it becomes an entirely private and quiet abode with the curtains let down.

Extraordinary rare and beautiful woods are found everywhere – floors, walls, ceiling – complemented with exquisite decorative pieces. The remarkable aesthetic appeal is contrasted with high tech features – highlighted by Howard’s crafty hidden television that rises from a beautiful wooden casing at the end of the bed. The television has a swivel that can be turned and watched from the sofa. All electronics are controlled via the click of a button from the bedside master control panel.

Doors open to a glass-enclosed bathroom that views a private garden where one can sunbath, shower or take a plunge bath in privacy. I particularly liked the beautiful metallic copper-esque mosaic tiles. The bathroom gives an overall feeling of being in nature, while providing protection from the natural little creatures outside. Taking a rain shower in the early evening with candles and dimly lit fixtures in the garden was simply magical!

Peace resonates throughout the property. I awoke early a few mornings and did my Ashtanga yoga practice in one of the lovely yet simple salas. Sun rising over the gently rolling hills, enveloped by a mystical mist – a perfect environment for peace and serenity. The mix of green gardens, flowers, water across the form of pool, pond and gently flowing streams. Balance is a key element of the property – green & flowers, water lines, structures, open spaces.


CREATE YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE OR LEVERAGE HOWARD & JERRI FOR HELP

Don’t be taken in by Howard’s schpiel ‘I’m just a working class guy from Boston’. Howard is wise, intelligent and remarkably creative and visionary for a man with an obvious natural talent in engineering and logical thought. Somewhere between Boston and Chiang Mai he developed a keen sensibility for aesthetics. Beneath Howard’s strong exterior is a sensitivity that reveals itself over successive conversations and in the remarkable attention to aesthetic detail seen throughout the property. I have patented the name for him: ‘The Godfather of Chiang Mai’. He knows everyone in the Chiang Mai area and can make anything happen.

Jerri is beautiful and charming and has a dignified feminine grace so rare to find these days. Her completely natural personality conceals the sophistication of an accomplished dancer and choreographer. She also possesses what seems to be in Thai’s very DNA – a wonderful warm and natural sense of hospitality.

As hosts Howard and Jerri have a unique, gifted sense of being present when wanted and invisible when privacy is preferred. Prepared with knowledge of the region that can only come from personal connections and years of experience living in the area, they can organize exclusive engagements ranging from dinners to art/antique reviews to adventure tours. Want lux and exclusive? Done. Want casual down to earth exploration? Not a problem. If it’s worth doing in Chiang Mai, they know it and can arrange it. Guests have total freedom to design as much quiet or activity as desired. They are your personal, real-time Luxe Guide.

No stay at Howie’s HomeStay is complete without (at least) one of Howard’s homemade Western omelettes or one of Jerri’s Thai omelettes. Coupled with a mouth-watering croissant from a local bakery and you have a heavenly breakfast complete with a spectacular view over the pool and foothills in the distance.

Also not to be missed is the heavenly Thai massage conducted in a beautiful spa pavilion on the estate. Guests are free to choose type of massage, aromatherapy oil (for oil massages), firmness, music, temperature – in short, every aspect of the massage experience.

Points for improvement were minor. Some additional closet real estate in the guest pavilion would ease competition for the limited hanger space. Improvement with some simple functionality in the guest bathroom including increased ventilation, lighting & mirror placement, etc. Howie’s HomeStay is perfect for couples but not ideal for children – too many nooks and crannies for little ones to get into trouble.

For those looking for an exceptionally unique experience and willing to explore the unconventional path outside the domain of commercial luxury properties, this private gem and its hosts will enchant you.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank James F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Mae Rim
1.3 mi away
Lana Thai Villa
Lana Thai Villa
#4 of 19 in Mae Rim
108 reviews
1.4 mi away
Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
7.0 mi away
Panviman Chiang Mai Spa Resort
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
0.3 mi away
Suansawan Resort Chiang Mai
3.8 mi away
Sukantara Cascade Resort & Spa
10.9 mi away
137 Pillars House Chiang Mai
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Howie's HomeStay? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Howie's HomeStay

Property: Howie's HomeStay
Address: 75/1 Moo 1, Ban Mai, Mae Ram, Mae Rim 50180, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Chiang Mai Province > Mae Rim
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Luxury Hotel in Mae Rim
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Howie's HomeStay 4*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Beautiful and unique Thai dream house in the Himalayan foothills outside Chiang Mai featured in Architectural Digest, now welcomes guests to the one bedroom Teak Pavilion. A singular accommodation with 8-meter teak ceilings, floor to ceiling windows that open onto tropical gardens plus outdoor bathroom with sunken bath can be yours. Total privacy, home cooked Thai dinners served by the palm-fringed pool, daily massages, car w/driver are all included. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz and Priceline so you can book your Howie's HomeStay reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Howie's HomeStay Chiang Mai Province, Thailand

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing