This was our 3rd visit to Chiang Mai and our first stay at BanThai Village. BanThai Village is down a small street off Tha Phae Road. It’s in a quiet location but very well situated with many small shops, massage places and family marts very close by. It’s close to Wat Buppharam, Wat Chetawan (best massages),the Night market, Ping River, the Old City, Sunday Night Market (where many other festivals are also held), Waroros Market (China Town & Gold jewellery sellers) Dental 4 U and many great restaurants, shops and bars that will delight and/or surprise you whether this is your first trip to Chiang Mai or your 10th.
We loved the hotel layout and architecture. Lanna style is beautiful and this boutique hotel has a great design with a pleasing, tranquil atmosphere and traditional style and décor. There are 2 sections to the hotel – the original which has the reception area and large pool and the second with a small pool, which is across a lane. We stayed in the smaller section on the first floor. During the night we didn’t hear any traffic noise. We delighted in spending the warmer part of a couple of afternoons both in the small pool and the large pool. They are both fine pools. There are relaxation areas that provide various books, magazines, DVD’s, music and movies available for guest’s use. There are computers too and the free WiFi is has good strength.
The restaurant food was simple, western-bland, but tasty and fresh and there was entertainment at dinner time. Breakfast was average for the price and we found better prices for the same selection, and even better selections for lower prices, very near-by.
Some hotel staff were helpful and friendly. Some spent a lot of time online, instead of keeping an eye on the guests’ needs. When we used up the free coffee supply in the room we had to ask to have it restocked. Not a big thing but attention to detail is nice to have at a boutique hotel of this rating.
I now understand what a previous reviewer meant about the strange shower curtain that was both the shower curtain and bathroom blind. Hope you don’t expect a dark bedroom to sleep in. I would have liked to have been able to close the bathroom windows properly but they were warped and didn’t fully close at the bottom, letting in mosquitos etc. There were two sachets of mozzie repellent provided and housekeeping staff had big cans of spray.
When we enquired at reception about hiring a private car for a few hours the quote we were given was way overpriced. We booked everything else at other places after that. The map the hotel provides is a poor indicator and better can be had for free at the multitude of tour booking places.
We got one of those beds with the edge that’s nearly a meter wide and made of two awkward heights. We were ok with sitting on the wooden part instead of the bed itself. What we weren’t ok with was the slipperiness of the wood. Getting onto/into or out of the bed was a slow careful somewhat clumsy process where you hoped your feet would not slide out from under you, resulting in your head cracking open on one of those wooden edges. Note, when getting massages, oils, feet massages etc. your feet end up nicely oiled. A very slippery combination of bare feet with wood.
The ‘wardrobe’ is about 900mm wide and 250mm deep. You can only hang a limited number of clothes in it. OK for a short stay only.
The room was tidy and regularly swept, dusted and towels & bed linen changed upon request. That’s where the cleanliness of room 527 stopped. The floor was badly stained and grimy. The bath was hideously stained and really dirty. Both appeared to never have been scrubbed in this lifetime. Though the housekeeping staffs were always busy cleaning, a quick look at the cleaning products provided to them was explanation enough of why the floor looked awful and the bath was filthy.
They do not appear to be provided with any cleaning products for actual sanitised cleaning of the floor or bath.
Considering that we follow Thai custom and take our shoes off at the door, it would have been nice to have a clean floor to walk on.
I may sound petty but we’ve travelled around several countries. We do not expect the hospital grade bleaching and disinfecting you’ll find in many western countries. We also don’t expect a build-up of brown mould-like grime in the corners where bath meets wall, the big patch of dark grey slime on the floor of the bath and the very obvious areas of filth on the wall and bath sides (where you can clearly see that some people’s bath products have splashed on the wall and cleaned it!). The bath/shower was just plain dirty and a potential health hazard.
Our 10 day stay was at a bargain price, considering the normal cost, so we didn’t expect the best of everything. However, I did not expect to feel like we were not worthy of bothering to provide a hygienic bathroom. Yes, this is Thailand but Thailand is not dirty. All in all I felt that we got less than we paid for and I felt somewhat disrespected.
Why didn’t we demand a better room you ask? Well, I guess I am too easy- going and stubborn. Why on earth should each and every guest at BanThai Village not get a clean room? Why should we have to ask for another? They gave us that room and now I am writing about what we were given and the board of directors of BanThai will have to accept this.
As ze-succubus said in their review on 2nd Jan 2014: Location Location Location. I agree with ze-succubus. I’ll add; don't stay in room 527, it's on the second floor of the second building, near the stairs. You can hear everyone go up and down because the beautiful looking teak boards squeak heartily. What is up with the tap and the sink? Well it’s a user-unfriendly design. You have to have a sense of humour about getting everything soaked when you turn on the tap. Turn the rain shower on and the water goes everywhere, except straight down into the dirty bath. Dear Reader, should you get room 527 please know that we did try to leave the bath a little cleaner than we found it. Though I didn’t go and buy cleaning products, our shampoo, soap etc. cleaned the grey slime from the bath floor.
Note: I wore thongs (flip-flops) in the bath when showering and never, ever had a bath.
Most of the things I have noted can be easily fixed. I would happily provide consultation (to the board of directors) on making small changes to their common practice, which would perfect the experience at BanThai Village. I am not writing this review in anger or malice, I am quite philosophical about our experience – it could have been better. If it has been better I would definitely have stayed there again.
If you are staying 1-5 days perhaps this is OK for you. If you are paying top Dollar, Euro, Baht, you’ll no doubt book a more superior room and I expect the bath/shower will be clean.
For those of us who like to travel, save up our money, look for internet specials etc. I see no reason why we should not have the same level of cleanliness that those that pay top dollar get.
Hubby and I are respectful of Thai customs and can at least say hello/goodbye and thank you in Thai. I can understand that Thai hotel staff are getting used to rude foreigners who ignorantly ignore their traditional Thai greetings and therefore the staff just don’t bother anymore. That’s sad, as one of the beautiful things about northern Thailand is that it’s not like southern Thailand or Bangkok. At least, it never used to be. So here’s a thought. Perhaps this sad lack of respect for us is just a reflection of most Falang’s lack of respect for the beautiful customs and people of Thailand and this is seeping into attitudes at hotels like BanThai Village?
So, Dear Traveller, Take the time to learn the basic respectful customs of the country you are visiting, learn to say hello/goodbye and thank you. It’s not hard - just a few words and common decency. The demanding, disrespectful, fearful and ignorant tourists are ruining it for the rest of us. Also, try smiling.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Banthai Village is the mini size hotel that tries to keep balance between the tradition and modernity among the changes of the world. This modern-Lanna decorated hotel, consisting of 23 rooms ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Banthai Village Chiang Mai