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“The Tented Camp is Fabulous!”

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Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Chiang Saen
Certificate of Excellence
NYC
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“The Tented Camp is Fabulous!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2007

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.

  • Liked — The gorgeous scenery and wonderful staff
  • Disliked — The pool is really an afterthought. Went once for about 5 minutes. Doesn't matter though as there is so much else!
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
27 Thank Benjamin B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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347 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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New York
Level Contributor
23 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2007

Perhaps the most romantic hotel in the world. Your private limo wisks you from the Chiang Rai airport to a private long-tailed boat for a 10 minute trip to tented camp. Tented camp in name, but it's as if Ralph Lauren goes camping. The units are so incredibly furnished and laid out that you never want to leave them. But leave them you must because elephant driving lessons await, or perhaps a private boat trip down the Mekong, or Thai cooking lessons, or a massage in a spa where the rain forest music is, well, live. Food is sublime and available whenever you desire a meal, the staff is gracious beyond belief and the elephants are adorable. I am reluctant to rave about this spot because I want to return and there are only 15 units. If you ever wanted to experience the ultimate in tranquility this is the place.

  • Liked — everything
  • Disliked — its a long walk from some units to either the bar, or restaurant, one needs to be in good shape.
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
13 Thank misdirected_baggage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
148 reviews
119 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 353 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 10, 2007

This place is exceedingly expensive, but the Four Seasons pulls it off and make its worthwhile! The tents are amazing - they have both aircon and heating (heating is needed in December) and a wonderful free standing bath where you can relax and take in the views. The experience with the elephants is fantastic - a bit daunting when you first get up close but you soon realise that these gently beasts have done it all before and completely ignore you and your commands! Word of warning - we did a mornings training on commands and an afternoon trek along the river with the elephants, but some guests were only given the opportunity to do one of these two things. Insist on doing both - they are the highlight of your stay, and you will really be missing otherwise. The half day river trip to the Golden Triangle was ok, but could really be improved upon. Jason, the camp host, I found to be too over the top for my tastes - lots of people like him - but for me he was too gushing and didn't quite know when to leave guests on their own! The food was amazing - the best vegetarian Thai food I have eaten. The chef was very flexible and professional and would cook anything that you like if you request in advance. There is a lot of walking between restaurants and tents and bars and the spa - if you are not relatively fit then you may struggle a little. Overall, I'm still dreaming about the place

  • Liked — They may be called tents, but they're like a 5 star 'out of Asia' experience
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
15 Thank KL_Sue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
132 reviews
130 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 693 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 9, 2007

We have just finished four nights here, and it is a truly great place which is well worth a visit. Since other reviews cover pretty much everything, I'll discuss how long to come for. The consensus of talking to other guests is this:

2 nights is too short. There are four key 'arranged' events for you - a Mekong River and local towns tour, a free spa treatment (90 mins), elephant training and elephant trekking. These need half a day each, so you literally cannot do it with a 2 night stay - they chop out the elephant trekking and squeeze in the rest.

3 nights is OK if you are happy to have both of your days filled by the resort. The four things above will be scheduled AM / PM for you across both days.

4 nights (what we did) is good if you want some free time. You will be able to spend a morning in bed (activities can start as early as 9am and cannot be moved since you are often paired with another couple) and still have half a day free to do something of your choosing. I have to say that FS is very lax in giving you ideas of what to do locally - there is no information in the tents at all. However, if you turn up and say 'I want to visit the Royal Villa and garden today', a car and driver will magically appear (at, I have to say, the crazy cost of $60 per hour) and whisk you off.

5 nights is too much, I think. A couple there had done this and were a bit lost for the last day.

The resort really is not as remote as you may think, although they don't try to hide this as it is quite clear when you do your river cruise - there is a massive casino just round the corner on the Burmese side! But DO go, it is a great experience.

  • Liked — The quality of everything is of the highest level
  • Disliked — The toiletries are too thick to pour easily - but thats all!
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
11 Thank Robert B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Island, NY
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 27, 2007

We stayed at Four Seasons Golden Triangle over the New Year, with our children ages 21 and 24. What an absolutely incredible and unusual destination! The hotel is comprised of 15 luxurious tents set into a hillside overlooking the Ruak river which flows into and is about 1 mile West of the Mekong River, where Laos, Thailand and Myanmar all come together to form the Golden Triangle.

Entering and exiting is from a dock where you are taken in a long tail boat to the hotel. Once there, you truly get the sense of being in a secluded jungle setting, but one with the most spectacular accomodations and amenities. The staff are incredibly friendly, helpful and knowledgable and are happy to indulge your every desire. When you arrive, you are given a intinerary with activities including tours around the area and the most incredible 1/2 day training and trek with the hotel's elephants.

You need to be in reasonably decent shape to walk the path and bridge from the tents to either the elephant camp, or the bar and restaurant. The rooms are spead accross what is about 3/4 mile from one end to the other, which only adds to the sense of exclusiveness and privacy at this exotic destination. It is so beautiful and so much fun, that you don't mind walking through the jungle on the path to the public gathering spots.

The tents themselves are the epitome of luxury with wonderful comfort and amenities and great climate control They are well screened (never saw an insect in our room), and incredibly, the wireless internet worked perfectly (as did my blackberry, which I found quite amazing.

All in all, an incredible place, amazing desination in typical Four Seasons style. Recommended with the highest accolades to Four Seasons for creating this special place.

  • Liked — Uniqueness
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
12 Thank jcheld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york city
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 23, 2007

I immediately wanted to go here when I saw the photo of one of the tents on the cover of Travel and Leisure magazine. So we booked a 3 night stay, and I can honestly say, that the resort went beyond our expectations. The view from the rooms of the morning mist over the mountains is breathtaking. The elephant mahout training and visits to local temples and markets was absolutely fun. We enjoyed the delicious food, the spa, and the friendly, highly professional staff. It was a happy and relaxing stay. My only criticism would be in the design of the tents themselves. Although they offered privacy, every comfort, and were well appointed, they weren't very Thai feeling. It was more of an Hemingway in Africa look. I wondered if whoever had designed the tents had bothered to research Thai architecture or design traditions. They did put some local crafts in the room, but they were overpowered by the heavy, bulky furniture and fixtures. It would have added a lot to the fantasy if it felt just a little more Thai, but I'd hardly say that this would be a reason not to visit. The overall experience is truly unforgetable, and is absolutely worth it.
Some tips: Tent 2 is closest to the restaurant and pool (the least amount of walking). Tents 6-15 are on the other side of the suspension bridge (more walking, but more privacy). Tent 15 is closest to the bar and the elephants(!).

  • Stayed January 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank designagent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2007

The Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle is an experience I would recommend to anyone and everyone! Truly, its only drawback is the price...over the top expensive for Thailand. That said, we do not regret spending a one of the many pennies we dropped there! From pick-up at the airport with cold water and lemongrass-infused towels to the amazing day with the elephants, we enjoyed every single moment we were at the camp. We were there in early November and the weather was warm but dry. The tents were every bit as wonderful as they look on the Four Season's website, with the outdoor shower and brand new Four Seasons bed being highlights. We stayed in tent 14, the Burmese Tent...14 out of 15. Although our walk to meals and to the boats was long (about 15 minutes at a good clip) we were rewarded with a 60 second walk to the bar and just a few minutes more to the elephant camp. We would not have had it any other way. The staff was extremely attuned to our needs, extending our time with the elephants after hearing me go on and on about them at dinner on the first night...we didn't ask, they just did it. The service here is second to none, far beyond what we have come to expect from the Four Seasons. After leaving the camp, we stayed at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai and, although FSCM was beautiful, it pales in comparison to the tented camp. If you plan to stay at both, do yourself a favor and stay in Chiang Mai first and then make the trip (about 5 to 6 hours by car) to the tented camp. You'll be glad you did! I can't say enough about the tented camp and look forward to going back to see Jason, the camp manager, and his wonderful staff again!

  • Liked — Amazing staff, amazing location
  • Disliked — Price
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank emjvw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle

Property: Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle
Address: P.O. Box 18, Chiang Saen Post Office, Chiang Saen 57150, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Chiang Rai Province > Chiang Saen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Chiang Saen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle 5*
Number of rooms: 15
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

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