Top of the range
Within the Chiang Mai city limits, hugely popular 137 Pillars House is about as plush as it gets. We visited during one of the quietest periods of the year, and all 30 rooms were full. If you do fancy a splurge, 137 is one of the few spots that warrants it, but make sure you book well ahead.
The resort has a slightly unusual location in a clutch of suburban streets behind Wat Ket on the eastern bank of the Ping approximately on the same level as Worarot Market. It's not too convenient for in-town sites but if you can afford to stay here, you can afford a tuk tuk. As with the Anantara, 137 Pillars is built around a venerable old historical building, yet here they’ve made it a central feature and attempted to blend in new constructions around it rather than have it sticking out like a sore thumb. The building in question is a 130-year-old-plus teak-stilt mansion (yes, there are 137 teak stilts or pillars). We were assured it was built by the family of a certain famous 19th century English governess going by the name of Anna.
The family were apparently involved in the teak trade and a path where elephants dragged logs down to the Ping has also been preserved in the gardens. They also have a small museum underneath the teak mansion—which now serves as bar, gym and restaurant area—displaying objects unearthed during restoration work.
The resort is set in lush gardens and they’ve thankfully kept a lot of the mature trees that used to grace the mansion’s garden. Rooms are split between a series of two-storey villas, each of which contains four rooms—two up and two down. All were occupied when we visited but peeking through windows they looked as plush and well-appointed as the price tag would suggest. Decor is naturally Lanna style, with plenty of wooden furniture and Thai fabrics. All rooms are spacious and come with huge tiled balconies.
A major plus for 137 Pillars is that they have restricted the number of rooms to 30 so though availability may be an issue, it does have a more intimate and casual feel to it than many other larger top-range establishments. Among the 30 rooms they do offer four slightly different variations—all suite style—but some with better views, some with their own plunge pools and so on.
As Thai staff were unable to pronounce the names of the various suites they offer, please check their very comprehensive website for full details. (We’re not quite sure who Mr Banes is but Leonowens is the family name of the royal governess.)
As is common with this category of hotel, pricing is dynamic, meaning it's changeable on a weekly basis depending not only upon season but also occupancy rates. We’ve listed indicative rates by season, but you’ll have to check their own website or see what online agents have to offer for rates specific to your stay.
Address: 2 Nawat Ket Soi 1, Wat Ket
T: (053) 247 788; F: (053) 248 780
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º0'15.1" E, 18º47'31.23" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: over 8,000B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
Rajah Brooke Suite
|13,050 baht||16,200 baht|
|Private pool villa|
Louis Leonowens Pool Suite
|31,390 baht||34,316 baht|
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.
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