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/.
- 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