In a secluded area in northern Thailand, lies an oasis unlike any other- a world in which you can take several steps back in time, into the era of Lanna royalty. The Mandarin Dhara Devi occupies over 60 acres of lush landscaping, artfully and lovingly created to preserve the beauty of Mother Nature while seamlessly flowing with traditional Lanna architecture which houses guests’ villas, the Dheva Spa and Oriental Culinary School.
Dhara Devi’s aura is majestic without being garish, luxurious without being ostentatious. Intricately carved wooden ornamentation abounds amongst green rice paddies and swaying palm fronds, creating a mystically peaceful feeling that leaves you wondering how you could ever go back to wherever it was you hailed from. Guest villas are an aesthetic feast of smooth wooden floors and flowing organza curtains, many with private plunge pools and all ridiculously spacious. Traditional Thai accents of hand-woven fabrics, triangular accent pillows and fragrant blooms give each suite a precious sense of cozy tranquility.
Wake up to a gently glowing sunrise and the dulcet sounds of birds chirping and water streaming, all while the Rice Terrace prepares your healthful breakfast of fresh fruit smoothies and egg white omelets. The culinary delights at Dhara Devi know no bounds, with five restaurants and three bars, each offering tantalizing specialties using ingredients grown right on hotel property. Every day guests can witness locals and staff picking rice or organic produce from the fields and even partake in an activity that is part of local daily life. There is such satisfaction in watching the vibrant vegetables go from ground to Dhara Devi’s kitchens, where prolific chefs wash, chop and stir-fry simple ingredients into authentic, mouth-watering Lanna specialties.
Though many of the sister properties enjoy highly acclaimed spas, Dheva Spa is truly a destination in itself. One cannot leave Chiang Mai without having tried the Lanna Ceremony, which includes a Tok Sen massage (the body is tapped with a stick made of tamarind bark followed by aromatic oils and warm compress), foot ritual, herbal steam bath, tamarind body glow and a decadent head massage. If you find a need to venture out of hotel property, top rate golf courses and guided treks through the breathtakingly beautiful mountain regions await. However, if you never want to leave Dhara Devi, it will come as no surprise. Mandarin Dhara Devi is truly one of the world’s most extraordinary hotels, lingering in the hearts of many guests.