The Four Seasons Tented Camp is put simply an episode of Fantasy Island come to life. From the moment you step off the plane in Chiang Rai, till you sadly board the outboard skiff to return back down the Mekong from whence you came, I was completely blown away by the sublime caliber of the service and experience. To call this just a 'hotel' or 'resort' is really to miss the point altogether. Unless you are related to Ernest Hemingway or Isak Dinesen, this place is absolutely unlike anything you could ever imagine or experience. The pictures on both the 4 Seasons Website and on this blog (while certainly attractive and were helpful in making my decision to honeymoon here) cannot do the camp justice. It needs to be experienced in person to be fully realized or believed.
Imagine staying in the most authentic, luxurious & hospitable lodge smack in the middle of the jungle. This is what the Tented Camp is like. While the maximum capacity of guests is about 30 (there are 15 tents total and while I have heard they allow families there were thankfully only couples here during my stay) there are almost 150 staff members!!! This is not an exaggeration. You really cannot lift a finger here without someone immediately popping up to help you. Its not in any bit annoying either. Its almost as if the excellent and warm staff has a 6th sense attuned to your every need. Unlike so many other 'high end' resorts I have stayed in around the world, any kind of resentment or attitude toward the guests is utterly absent here. The people employed by the camp take a bona fide interest in hospitality and in making sure you have a wonderful time.
We arrived via a short flight from bangkok and were greeted at the airport right on time by a staff member of the camp. Upon arrival in Chiang Rai, you are instantly whisked into a range rover, graciously given cold lemon grass scented towels and cold water to drink. The drive to the mouth of the mekong where u pick up your skiff is about an hour and very pleasant. Once you get to your boat, your luggage stays in the car (the road up to the camp is purportedly very bumpy and arriving by boat is so much cooler and more fun anyway) and after a very brisk 15 minute trip up the river you arrive at a small dock with a steep stairway leading up to the many sublime pleasures awaiting you over the course of your next 3 days.
As the 'mysteries' of the camp slowly reveal themselves over your short but fulfilling stay, I hesistate to report on every detail. I think its more fun to experience things the way we did--slowly learning your way around the camp and enjoying and experiencing the myriad pleasures as a surprise. Nevertheless as reading the descriptions of others on what they did hear influenced me to give this place a shot, I do want to include some brief details and pictures of what you will find at this resort.
The tents are simply gorgeous and appointed with an incredible and tasteful attention to detail. They will remind you of a ralph lauren safari advertisement.
The food is fantastic, with the choice of a western and thai menu at every meal. Both menus change daily and everything we had was delicious.
I will say the elephant training (this is depicted on the website) was unbelievably memorable and executed with such a high level of intimacy and respect for the natural environoment I was just amazed. Everyone who works here will treat you wonderfully. Some point over your stay you will undoubtedly meet Jason Friedman, the camp manager, who is so charming you will feel as if you are an honored guest in his own home (which you sort of are).
Another really special aspect of the resort is their classy gift shop. I walked in expecting to find sundries, magazines and inexpensive souvenirs but this was not the case. Rather, the shop is stocked with beautiful one of a kind hand crafted homeware made by Lotus Arts De Vivre. Again, we were so blown away by the quality and beauty of what we found in the shop we ended up purchasing an incredible candy dish that I know we will treasure for years and will serve as a meaningful reminder of our wonderful experience at the tented camp.
I really am hardly the sort to get so excited over a resort or hotel and cannot even believe I am taking the time to actually post a review. But there is something so magical about this place and my wife and I were treated so royally I felt compelled to share my experience and rave about the tented camp online.
Is it expensive? Absolutely. At just over 2k/day the tented camp is by far the most expensive resort we have ever stayed at. Nevertheless, it is not overpriced. We beleived this place was worth every penny. Everything is included (with the exception of an optional trip to Burma, which with private guide, transportation, visas, etc. comes out to a reasonable $300 or so) and the elephant experiences alone will be worth the cost of admission for many. My advice is if you want one of the most unique and unforgettable hospitality and eco-tourist experiences of your life, forget about the money and book a 3 night stay at the camp. You will not regret it.
PS i tried to include more photos but for some reason they werent uploaded. i think they were too big. If u need any, please dont hesistate to email me and I will send them to you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Escape to the natural wonders of Northern Thailand, just south of Burma, west of Laos, for an unforgettable experience. On our unique min 2 nights stay excursions, you'll have the adventure of a lifetime trekking elephants through lush jungle and spectacular mountain trails. Unwind in our superb luxury tented accommodations, which feature stunning views and Four Seasons luxury. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- 4 Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle
- Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle Hotel Chiang Saen
- Four Seasons Chiang Rai
- Chiang Rai Four Seasons
- Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle Chiang Rai Province, Thailand - Chiang Saen