Chiang Mai qualifies as a 'must-see' destination for any visitor in Thailand, and the city's many charms make it a place that many come back to time and time again. For my second trip there, I wanted to stay in the old city and in the same time, in a serene and relaxing place. Then I discovered the Tamarind Village, an oasis of calm and tranquility nestled in the heart of historic Chiang Mai.
Sprawling across the grounds of a magnificent 200 year-old Tamarind Tree, Tamarind Village is a haven of peacefulness with the charm of a village. Situated around a series of garden courtyards, the rooms and suites are decorated in a traditional Lanna (northern Thai) style, full of gorgeous tribal fabrics and artefacts.
Not only we enjoyed the situation and the design, but we also loved the Village Spa and the beautiful Ruen Tamarind Restaurant. Let's explore the property.
Checking in a secret sanctuary...
A bamboo grove lit by spotlights and floating lanterns beckons us onward, toward the promise of a beautiful discovery. At the end of the walkway: the entry to Tamarind Village. It is late on the evening, we just arrived from Bangkok. After a tiresome crazy weekend in the city, we are beyond happy to throw ourselves into the large sofas awaiting us in the garden. Dim light, exotic locusts sounds, colorful fabrics, welcome drinks and lots of smiles welcome us. Even by night, the Tamarind Village looks stunning. We can't wait to discover it by day.
The minute we walk into our suite, we know we are in for a few days of ultimate relaxation. "Welcome in your home", the porter says. On our bed, a handwritten note greeting us, and fragrant fresh flowers. Indeed, it does feel like home.
Around the hotel...
Tucked away in the center of the old Chiang Mai, Tamarind Village is at once a hidden oasis of peace and directly in the center of the action, within an easy walking distance to the main attractions including a host of ancient temples, restaurants, quaint shopping streets and the ever-popular night bazaar.
Our day starts with a quick swim in the pool to cool off a little bit, followed by a delicious exotic breakfast. [Yummy: the homemade coconut jam + the passion fruits]. Comfortably laid in this haven of calm surrounded by lush palms, bright flowers and great bamboos, it's easy to forget we're in the middle of busy Chiang Mai.
The subtle colors highlighted by authentic Thai design from the hill tribes create all together a unique atmosphere that tastefully evokes the spirit of the region. At the entrance, there's a long gallery decorated with local art. Being creative myself, I am charmed by the artistic feel to the place.
Treating ourselves at the Village Spa
The Village Spa's extensive menu is so promising, it's hard to choose a treatment. Seated on a colorful sofa, surrounded by pink orchids and art pieces on the wall, we take our time to decide how to get pampered, sipping our savory tea. Meanwhile, a cute squirrel is playing on the tree branches... This place is so enchanting, it feels unreal. Our girls' getaway in Thailand is about to reach perfection.
I select the Village Signature Massage Therapy, while the girls both go for the Traditional Thai Massage. We seat on a wooden bench for a special foot bath: warm water, fresh lime, lemongrass and herbs. What a smooth start... The scents are delicious, as well as the sensations. It's divine. The therapists are adorables and very skilled. They use only the finest herbal preparations drawn from the Lanna Thai heritage, for a wonderful sense of health, vitality and well being. After 90 minutes of pure happiness, I meet the girls, who obviously are in the same condition as me: relaxed and happy.
We are now ready to explore the old city. Markets, crafts boutiques, temple hopping and art galleries, our day is about to be busy and pretty exciting! At the end of the afternoon starts the so expected Sunday Walking Street market. It showcases art and craftsmanship of Northern Thai people, from cheap sarongs to gorgeous art pieces. Many of the stall vendors make and sell their own products, and the quality of some craftsmanship is superb. It is good fun, but packed with people. We're happy we booked a table at Ruen Tamarind Restaurant. It's dinner time and we are starving.
Experiencing Northern Thai food at Ruen Tamarind Restaurant
All the tables are dotted with candles and musicians are playing music by the pool. The atmosphere is sophisticated and relaxed. We are far from the market's vibrant ambiance. As we are curious and want to try different dishes, the waiter smartly suggests us the Thai Set Dinner. A bit later, arrives one of the best Thai cuisine I've eaten, including -my favorites- Tom Kha Goong, a delicious Thai coconut soup with shrimp, and the scrumptious Gaeng Ped Yang Linchee, a roast duck with lychee in red curry. Every dish is a surprise. After that delightful dinner, we are ready to face to crowds again and go treasure-hunting at the market.
This trip wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of The Tamarind Village friendly team. However all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced. Tamarind Village was our home for a few days, and a perfect base to explore Chiang Mai. You can follow Tamarind Village news on Facebook and Twitter. I'm more of an Instagram addict!