By Courtney Ridgel
To begin with, I LOVED the Marndadee Heritage River Village. Fair enough, this particular property suits my personal tastes, but I feel confident that I will not be alone in appreciating this beautiful hotel.
This property seeks to encompass the feeling of ‘Old Thailand’ so there is a mix of colonial- style buildings and traditional reclaimed wooden houses with tiled roofs. The property is situated right on the Ping River, so the setting is very peaceful and quiet, and in the spirit of a Thai village, there are small decorative rice paddies on the grounds. The owners are avid collectors of art, sculptures, and antiques so the property boasts quite a collection displayed throughout the grounds, with unique pieces showcased in each room. In addition, the original old trees and wells (now filled in and serving as flower pots for ferns) are interspersed between the buildings, as none of them were removed when the hotel was constructed.
In general, this property will be an excellent fit for travelers who are planning to spend more time in the countryside around Chiang Mai, visiting elephants, sightseeing, trekking, etc., and is perfect for those seeking relaxation, a beautiful view and peace and quiet with a romantic nostalgic ‘old-world’ feel. The Marndadee Heritage River Village can accommodate families, family groups and couples. The Rice Barn Villas in particular were designed for families, groups of friends or extended families with a three-bedroom option where three separate villas share an outdoor space together in the center, and a private outdoor space to relax beneath each villa.
All that said, this hotel falls in the category of ‘outside of town’. I’m told that the hotel is normally about a 40 minute drive from the airport but while I was visiting, it took us a bit longer due to Loi Krathong traffic and the bridge along normal route was undergoing repairs which have since been completed. This property is not particularly well suited for travelers who prefer to be situated at the center of the action in bustling downtown Chiang Mai. Going out to eat frequently may also be problematic, as there isn’t much nearby besides the river, the scenery and the local neighborhoods along the river. That said, this property does offer a restaurant, spa, pool, fitness room, and free shuttle service to and from downtown Chiang Mai 4 set times a day to keep guests entertained.