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“Beautiful architecture - stunning views - meet the elephants.”

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Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort
Ranked #2 of 9 Hotels in Chiang Saen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 6, 2013

We spent two days at Anantara during a two-week visit to northern Thailand so we could experience the elephant camp and learn more about Black Ivory coffee. We reserved the Discovery Experience in a Deluxe room, which included meals and beverages, minibar, transfers, and one activity per day. The hotel and grounds are gorgeous. The indoor outdoor spaces have local artistic touches that include elephant sculptures and mosaics (of course :).

It was easy to find the driver at the airport, and after a scenic one-hour ride we received a friendly welcome with a fragrant flower necklace. At check in, we sipped cold lemongrass tea and had a taste of passion fruit mousse – very refreshing. We received a printed itinerary with a schedule of activities, which was jam packed due to our short stay.

The room was an average size and there wasn’t much space for the luggage, but the décor, amenities, and view were spectacular. The large balcony had a table and chairs and couch overlooking the hills and rice paddies. There was a minibar with coffee/tea, crunchy snacks, beautiful fresh fruit (I tasted lichen for the first time), water, soda, juice, and beer. The room had a TV, wi fi, and a safe. The bathroom was small, but had the largest tub we have ever seen with sliding doors that opened into the room. The toiletries were wonderful: frangipani ylang shampoo, frankincense lemon conditioner, bergamot orange shower jell, and jasmine body milk.

As soon as we checked in we headed for the large infinity pool, which has the same spectacular view as the room. We had cocktails and watched the mahouts and their elephants below – bliss! The next day we went to the mahout training at 7:00 AM and again at 1:30 PM. Afterwards, we went to the pool to cool off and relax, but there was a large family with about seven kids in floaties splashing throughout the pool and it was a bit too loud. At night, we had Dinner by Design at the baby elephant camp - it was very intimate and relaxing. The next morning we did the baby elephant experience with Rachel from Think Elephants and veterinarian Shompu. It was very interesting (there is a video on our blog – link below).

The food was very good. Breakfast was a huge buffet with fruit, juice, bread and pastries, cereal, yogurt, 6+ hot entrees, and cooked to order eggs. For lunch and dinner, there is a menu. The bar area is a great place to hang out – there are comfy couches with lots of magazines and games.

The boutique has a good selection of souvenirs. Get one of the silk scarves or table runners. The wives of the mahouts produce the silk and do the weaving at the elephant camp where they live (you will meet them during the mahout training). There is a nice gym with racketball court, hot tub, lounge chairs, towels, and cooler with bottled water and sports drinks (not described on the website). It is down a shaded path about a two minute walk from the main building. We didn’t have time to exercise and try it out.

Anantara is a beautiful hotel in a stunning location. The hands-on elephant actives were very educational and exciting. We enjoyed meeting the staff and volunteers. (The only suggestion I have is to advise the guests in advance what to wear for the elephant activities.) Our two-day visit was rushed, so it would have been better to stay for three or four days. If you love animals and want to learn all about the magnificent Asian elephants, Anantara is the place to stay.

If you would like to read about our experience at Anantara’s Elephant Camp, please visit our travel blog, www.latitudeb.com/meet-the-elephants/.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank LoriBarber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 1, 2013

We had the most wonderful time at this hotel!
We stayed for 4 days, and it really was so incredible.

Staff - as we found all over Thailand, SO NICE, helpful and friendly.

Room - we had a huge luxurious room. The bed could have fitted 4 people in comfortably. The bathroom products were a lovely, natural local product and every day a little hamper with nibbles, sweets and fruit was put into our room. Laundry service was cheap and efficient.

Food - breakfast buffet was superb. A particular favourite was the stuffed waffles! Stuffed with interesting things like sweet bean pastes, but so, so good. Obviously the usual cereals, fruit, toast, eggs etc. Thai food for dinner, European options, but we never ate those. Good wine selection. Great staff, again.

The main reason we stayed here was the Mahout experience.

Elephants - it was an unforgettable experience. Never did I dream that we would have so much interaction with these wonderful creatures. We rode them through the jungle, bathed with them in the river, fed the babies bananas and sugar cane, accompanied them to the vets. It was an incredible community of rescued city elephants, their Mahouts and their families. A great cause. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Sunset elephant trek - on our last evening we did a sunset jungle trek with our elephant, they rode us up to a spectacular viewpoint to watch the sunset. When we got there, there was a table set out with food and a bottle of wine. So lovely.

We want to say thank you to everyone who made this stay so, so fantastic.
Special thanks to Eg, the Mahout, who is such a star!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank nikkismart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2013

We finally found the hotel we have always dreamed of: the Anantara Golden Triangle in the very north of Thailand. Coming from the main road and driving through the hotel gate you are entering another world: green lakes, trees and beautiful flowers bordering the road, water buffalos grazing free on the lush grass and at the next corner you are passing two elephants with their mahouts.
The moment you come to the hotel, you feel the hotel staff’s utmost endeavour to make you feel ‘at home’. The friendliness and efficiency, yet in a discreet way, is felt everywhere: from the most competent front office personnel, who are more than willing to assist you, to housekeeping and restaurant employees. The rooms are a delight, beautifully furnished and meticulously clean. The view from the balcony is stunning overlooking rice fields, the pond where elephants take a ‘shower’ to the mountains of Laos rising in the morning mist and in between the majestic Mekong River. The two restaurants (Thai and Italian) and the Elephant Bar leave nothing to be desired thanks to the excellent chef and his team and the efficient restaurant staff. The smooth and gentle treatments in the Anantara Spa refresh your soul and body.
All this can, of course, only be accomplished by a strong and capable management team who ensure that in our opinion, the Anantara Golden Triangle can be rated among the best hotels in Asia.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank jochenrang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2013

I can find little to fault at this luxurious hotel, sitting in what might look like a quite isolated position in the very north of Thailand: our suite looked out over the pool and across forest and rivers so that you could stare into Burma, Laos and Thailand itself from the balcony, with its day beds. The suite itself was beautiful, the oval bath being a particular feature, and well equipped. Perhaps it could have been furnished in a lighter style, but this wasn't significant. The staff throughout the hotel were attentive and delightful. If you wanted anything, it could be done.

The (infinity) pool is large and good, with various areas, such as a hot bath. It is difficult to see all the edges, which can make for jarring moments, but it is large enough to allow a decent swim. It also became a favourite place to sit and order a late lunch from the excellent menu.

The restaurant here is a highlight, with food that was far better than we expected, whether one eats in the main restaurant where Thai and western dishes are available, or in the adjacent cleverly designed Italian restsuarant where there are some very clever variations on a theme. We detected a very skilled chef behind the scenes and found the waiting staff absolutely wonderful.

Breakfasts are tremendous, even without the friendly baby elephant who pops along each morning for a chat. That just adds to the experience! Elephants also visted one evening after a major and quite exhillarating storm and you see them all the time around the extensive grounds of the hotel. You can walk down to their camp if you wish.

The hotel can arrange all types of outings and these are good and extensive: we felt we had our money's worth from the "three types of travel" (particularly the trip into the hills where we visited a village settled by 'hill tribe' people from Burma) and from hiring a long boat to go down the Mekong to Chiang Sien. Elephant riding is readily available and a highlight. The countryside around is scenic and fascinating. Don't miss the walk through the hotel grounds to 'Hill Top', where you look down on the Mekong. The Spa was pleasant and the staff professional.

The only jarring note in the five days we were there was the largish party of Americans who occupied the hotel on the first weekend - with the (sadly common) attitude that so many of their countrymen have that they are entitled to impose themselves on all around. If they wanted to photo an elephant, woe betide anyone in the way (and this was the tour guide's attitude!). Not much the hotel could do to control this sort of behaviour, I guess, but since such parties may be a regular feature there you may need to pack some patience along with some very lightweight clothes.

Room Tip: Treat yourself to a suite.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank MontrachetJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2013

My daughter and I have just returned from a special trip to Thailand, the highlight being 6 nights at Anantara. This was my first stay in a 5* hotel and I am so glad we chose it. From our first view from the bedroom of the elephants to the Mahout training and swimming with these wonderful animals, to the food and the exceptional service, this truly is a place to make memories. All the staff were so friendly, all the time, nothing was too much trouble..a special mention to 'Harry' one of the bar staff who was so nice to my daughter, at 19 she was pretty much the youngest person there during our stay, apart from some very small children, but he was kind and kept her entertained with his 'magic' tricks. Also to the two guys who took us through the Mahout training, one was an English volunteer and the other whom was so kind again to my daughter, I'm writing this at 5am as the jet lag kicks in so sadly I cant remember his name, they made our day so much fun, we were lucky to be the only two guests doing the training that day so had their undivided attention, I had some reservations about doing 'activities' with elephants but spoke to the guy who runs the sanctuary and there is no doubt these elephants are lucky compared to others in Thailand, the seemed to have fun too, especially rolling about in the water as the person sitting on them tries to hang on ! The food was excellent and the cocktails amazing. If you want a once in a lifetime experience, go visit this hotel, you wont regret it.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Mairi1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2013

We are a family of 4 with 2 boys ages 6 and 8. We travel quite a bit and have been to many countries with and without our boys. We stay usually at 5 star resorts and have pretty high expectations. This is my very first tripadvisor review.

To start out I will just summarize - in case this review is too long to read:
Anantara Golden Triangle COMPLETELY ROCKS!

We traveled to Anantara Golden Triangle beginning of February 2013 and spent 3 nights there. We did the 1/2 day mahout training and all 4 of us were on our own elephants. Pretty remarkable to see my 6 year old (who is smaller in size than his elephant's entire head!) riding on top of an elephant all alone for about 4 hours. If you have been reading about this resort already you have probably seen that this is, for many people, the highlight of their trip to Thailand. I cannot agree more! My boys were both in tears when we had to leave the elephants. My 8 year old now says he must learn to speak Thai for when we go back! The staff even brings one of the baby elephants up to breakfast every morning and we had a ton of fun feeding the elephant bananas and just being completely in awe of this amazing, gentle creature and the beauty of the resort.

The resort is gorgeous with breathtaking views of Myanmar and Laos and it is crazy to step out on your balcony and see elephants! The resort has fantastic food and truly fantastic service. We opted to arrive in style which included pick up in a very nice, air conditioned van with cool, scented washcloths and chilled water (a great treat after the hot, humid airport.) We were then driven about 40 minutes to a river where we boarded a long tail boat and were able to see Laos to our right and Thailand to our left with houses, huts, kids playing soccer on the Laos side. We were then dropped off to board our official "taxi" to our hotel which was 2 huge elephants that we rode in style to the hotel. Pretty cool. Kept this part as a surprise for our boys and they flipped! The resort was a bit costly (like any 5 star resort) but the elephant experience and gracious, friendly, accommodating staff made this all so worth every penny. We will definitely be back!

We also did a special dinner which was prepared just next to the elephant camp (where they are kept at night with their trainers - who also own the elephants and have been with them their entire lives - the resort kind of "rents them" which was very cool to me and my family.) So we had a very romantic (even with our two monkey boys) dinner prepared just for the four of us where we ate by candle light and were treated like royalty.

Lastly we all went on the 3 country excursion. I could have skipped the little island that represented Laos - I don't feel like this was really representative of the country itself (which you must have a visa to enter - but the island does not require this.) But Myanmar was FANTASTIC. Happiest people we saw on this trip were in Myanmar. Kids and people super friendly and our guide from Anantara was amazing. I am sorry for not remembering his name but please take my word and do this excursion!

As far as for our kids - I don't think we saw many other kids while we were there. But honestly I am so glad we did all of this with our kids. We were all exhausted at the end of every day and no kids club could have ever competed with the activities we all did together.

If you are considering this as a stop on your Thailand tour - just go! You will not regret it.

Room Tip: The 3 country view suite was fantastic! Free mini bar every day too!
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank sinnercin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2013

We stayed in a beautiful suite with a 3 country view, and loved our stay here. We were welcomed with cool towels and drinks and smiles. The elephant experience was absolutely wonderful. We enjoyed our meal at the resort's Italian restaurant. Highly recommend this property.

Room Tip: Loved the 3 country view suite on a high floor, but prepare for lots of walking.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Roni4451
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort

Address: 229 Moo 1, Chiang Saen 57150, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Chiang Rai Province > Chiang Saen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 9 Hotels in Chiang Saen
Price Range: $1,066 - $1,661 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 61
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tucked into 160 acres of ancient jungle in northern Thailand, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort rests on a bluff overlooking the fabled convergence of two rivers and three countries. The region also boasts a rich cultural heritage, as seen in the many hill tribe peoples or at the Hall of Opium Museum. At Anantara Golden Triangle, the natural and cultural merge at our unique onsite Elephant Camp, modelled on traditional mahout villages and home to the resort’s very own gentle giants. Book any of our indulgent All Inclusive Packages and enjoy the following benefits:•Accommodation with daily buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner for every night stayed•Roundtrip transfers from and to Chiang Rai Airport•Beverages (select range of non-alcoholic drinks, house wine, beer and spirits)•Internet access•In-room mini bar•One time visit to the Opium Museum•One activity for every night stayed from a choice of:oElephant Camp ExperienceoLanna Cooking ClassoAnantara Spa TreatmentoGolden Triangle Private ExcursionWhatever the experience, your Golden Triangle story begins with Anantara. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Anantara Golden Triangle Resort And Spa
Anantara Golden Triangle Hotel Chiang Saen
Anantara Resort Golden Triangle
Anantara Hotel Golden Triangle
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort Chiang Rai Province, Thailand - Chiang Saen

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