Upcycled good value
Artel is an “upcycled” hotel, making use of discarded windows and veranda columns to create a creative, special space; if you’re looking for a different place to stay in Chiang Mai, it’s an excellent midrange choice and well located smack dab in the centre of hip Nimman.
The first hint that Artel is quite unlike any other guesthouse or even five-star hotel in town is the white slide that curls its way from the second floor balcony down to the welcoming courtyard. While we didn’t see any guests making use of it on our visit, we’d make sure to never walk down the stairs during our stay there. Other details that jumped out at us on upon first arriving are the beautiful, circular window that adorns one of the the suites, as well as the glass and hexagonal wrought iron design demarcating the lobby.
No two of the 13 rooms are alike, but you can expect beautiful mosaic tiled doors, the tasteful re-purposing of window grates to creating stunning headboards, as well as an exquisite awareness of light and colour. All of these contribute to a room so stunning you might not get to see much of Chiang Mai. Opened in July of 2013, rooms at Artel are immaculate.
We’d recommend that groups travelling with children forgo Artel (stay at family friendly TipTop Thai Guesthouse instead), as the wealth of artistic details provide children with numerous delicate objects to be broken. Artel was designed with honeymooners or couples with an eye for design in mind. Their clientele isn’t exclusively Westerners, either, making Artel a gathering point for artsy folks from around the world.
We were quoted 1,700 baht for the standards, 2,000 for the deluxes, which have their own private garden space, and 2,300 for a suite, which have a somewhat odd little porch area, more space, a tub and a king-size bed. While of course it’s possible to stay in Chiang Mai for a lot less, Artel does provide great value for what it offers and is in a great location. There’s no food on offer but they will open a cafe soon in the lobby.
All that the Nimman area lacks in historic temples, it more than makes up for in kooky boutiques, art galleries, high-end restaurants, and the best nightlife spots in town. So if you’re looking to explore the artsier, more contemporary side of Chiang Mai, Artel is definitely your best bet.
By Claudia Sosa
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.