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Review of Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

Stunningly located within a valley of landscaped gardens and rice terraces across 13-hectares, the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand offers 99 rooms breaking down into 64 pavilions, 12 pool villas and 23 private residences set across the property. A natural amphitheatre, the gardens feature two small lakes, lily ponds and waterfalls, incorporating a working rice farm into the layout complete with water buffalo. There are five restaurants, bars and lounges benefitting from the onsite organic kitchen farm including North by Four Seasons featuring grilled dishes cooked over open flames; Khao for a culinary tour of northern Thailand, Burmese and Yunnanese cuisines; the Rim Tai Kitchen for either a cookery lesson or a street themed dinner; the Rice Barn for peaceful breakfasts and dinners among the rice paddies and the poolside Ratree Bar and Lounge to relax over a cocktail or two.

Offering peace, tranquillity and above all, the luxury of space, the property features the equally serene Wara Cheewa Spa with seven treatment rooms inspired by a northern Thai temple in the ancient Lanna Kingdom style. Five of the suites have private herbal aromatherapy steam rooms, two feature double rain showers perfect for couples and some enjoy deep soaking tubs on semi-enclosed salas. Practice yoga or pilates in the Yoga Barn amidst the rice paddies or in your own villa. Refresh in one of the two infinity edge pools or the hot and cold whirlpools or head to the fully equipped fitness and exercise studio for a work-out or a kickboxing class, enjoying a sauna or herbal aromatherapy steam to relax those muscles. For tennis fans, there are also two tennis courts with professional coaching available. For golfers, the 18-hole, 72 par golf course of the Summit Green Valley Country Club is just a five-minute drive away.

Family friendly, the La-On Kids Club will keep kiddies aged between four and twelve occupied with complimentary games and activities every day. 

9 / 10

Just a 30-minute, 35-kilometre drive from Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) and downtown Chiang Mai, Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai is located in the lush Mae Rim Valley overlooking the Doi Suthep Mountain Range. For drivers, self-parking is available at the property.

Chiang Mai is the ancient capital of Lanna and Thailand’s second largest city where you will find a thriving contemporary art and artisan scene. The resort can arrange an art tour with a local expert. Nearby, there is the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, the sacred Wat Phra Phutthabat Si Roi temple and Sankampaeng Handicrafts Village to see craftsmen at work. Visits to Inthanon National Park with Thailand’s highest peak is also to be recommended as well as shopping at the vibrant Nimmanhaemin gallery and boutique district.

Joint stays at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai can also be arranged with a visit to sister property, Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai.

9 / 10

There are fourteen categories of accommodation at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai breaking down into 64 pavilions, 12 pool villas and 23 private residences set across the property.

All are built with locally sourced materials used throughout the Lanna-style architecture with northern Thai teak and rosewood furnishings, rich silks vying with hand-woven cottons, hand-carved wooden sculptures complementing teak floors and interiors. With high vaulted ceilings, outdoor salas or terraces and antique Thai artefacts, bathrooms feature deep soaking tubs, separate showers, double vanities, and premium toiletries. Other facilities include complimentary digital magazines and newspapers; a wellness amenity on arrival; wireless Bluetooth speakers; Blu ray plays on request and satellite televisions. There are also in room safes, irons and ironing boards, make up mirrors, minibars, hairdryers and tea and coffee makers.

The four types of pavilion – all sized at 70 square metres of living space - are set within the garden landscape around the gardens and rice paddies with wonderful verdant views available from outdoor salas or terraces. The Upper Rice Terrace Pavilions have the best elevated views over the resort over rolling rice paddies to the Suthep mountain range beyond. The Rice Terrace Pavilions are located at a lower level with ground floor accommodation, closer to the rice paddies to experience the daily life of the rice farm and buffalo teams. The Upper Garden Pavilion enjoy a secluded and upper-level accommodation with views out across the gardens, surrounded by trees and a green landscape. The Garden Pavilion ground floor rooms by contrast offers eye level views of the garden.

The Villas at 403 square metres meanwhile are all about space, water and privacy with private pools and outdoor salas surrounded on three sides by water deep in the heart of the gardens, with a sundeck and porch swing for relaxation. There is also a draped canopy bed, outdoor showers and a shaded outdoor dining area.

For those travelling with larger families or with groups of friends, the Private Residences tick all the right boxes. They come with exclusive amenities with live in attendance, buffet breakfast and much more. 

There are nine categories available ranging from one to four-bedroom accommodation with kitchenettes, private pools and oodles of space with a live-in butler to cater for your every whim. Dressed with luxury fabrics, teak and rosewood furnishings with beautiful Siamese artifacts and original artwork, the 244 square metre One-Bedroom Residence comes with a master suite and a junior bedroom perfect for families whilst the two bedroom variety lies close to the Residence Pool and offers around 350 square metres of space, looking out over the gardens and mountains. The similarly sized One-Bedroom Spa Residence comes with an in-suite spa room for the ultimate spa privacy.  

The next size up is the ground floor One-Bedroom Residence with Plunge Pool with a 3 x 4 plunge pool at 284 square metres of open living space with the Two-Bedroom Residence with Plunge Pool offers around 390 square metres of space with shaded verandahs looking out over the pool. 

The Two-Bedroom Grand Residence Pool Villa is a split-level residence with ample space, a large private infinity pool and plenty of privacy as it is wrapped around with lush vegetation. At 855 square metres of space, it is based on the Eastern side of the resort. There is also a three-bedroom Grand Residence Pool Villa and a four-bedroom Grand Residence Pool Villa offering the same amount of living space with the latter accommodating up to 12 adults or eight adults and four children. The final category is the two-storey Three Bedroom Family Residence (524 square metres) where every bedroom comes with its own private whirlpool.

It is also possible to link five Residence Villas via a sheltered pathway to offer an enormous 20 bedrooms, five private swimming pools and five live in butlers. Complimentary meals, airport transfers, daily yoga lessons, wine-tasting sessions and more are offered as tempting buy-ins. 

9 / 10
Service & Facilities

Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai offers a range of guest facilities including a full-service spa, a chef’s garden, Lan Sai Village Shopping Boutiques, La-On Kinds Club and walking and cycling trails. There is also the Rim Tai Cooking Academy, two main pools (one a 20-metre infinity pool), two grass tennis courts lit for night play with a pro on hand for lessons, a range of fitness services and yoga classes.

Deep in the heart of the resort’s gardens lies the peace and tranquillity of the Wara Cheewa Spa offering seven treatment rooms with five of the suites enjoying private herbal aromatherapy steam rooms, two featuring double rain showers perfect for couples and some enjoy deep soaking tubs on semi-enclosed salas. There are a wide range of body rituals and treatments available including facials, massages, holistic full body experiences and combination therapies.

Fitness services include a state-of-the-art Health Club with weight training and cardio equipment, Muay Thai kickboxing lessons and group or private yoga or pilates classes in the Yoga Barn overlooking the paddy fields. Other fitness classes are available in the work-out studio or outdoors including TRX (Total Body Resistance Training), energy circuits and body toning. For the ultimate in competitive challenges, there is also complimentary croquet. Relax those muscles afterwards in the pool, the hot and cold whirlpools or the sauna or aromatherapy steam room.

For those wanting to learn more about Thai cuisine, spend the morning with the chefs buying fresh produce at the local markets before returning to the custom-built Rim Tai Kitchen for a hands-on lesson in preparing a range of Thai dishes. There are even classes for children.

For golfers, the 18-hole, 72 par golf course of the Summit Green Valley Country Club is just a five-minute drive away.

Family friendly, the La-On Kids Club will keep kiddies aged between four and twelve occupied with complimentary games and activities every day. There are opportunities to plant rice sprouts in the fields alongside the rice farmers, dressed in the traditional Mor Hom attire, to take a nature walk to get close and personal with the tropical plants and even the water buffalo, to learn how to create pottery or to tie dye – all at the Chaan Baan, an example of a traditional Thai home where the resort introduces guests to Thai culture. Guests may even take a Thai language lesson. 

9 / 10

One of four Thailand properties operated by the luxury Four Seasons brand, Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mail is an inland hideaway, enjoying a magically serene location nestled amidst verdant rice paddy fields, tropical foliage and a backdrop of misty mountains. Forming a natural Amphitheatre, the gardens were designed by Bensley Design Studios and they have returned again and again to ensure the original vision concurs with today’s landscape. It might come as no surprise that the gardens and organic farm are maintained by around 40 full-time gardeners together with a team of water buffalo.

The resort’s architecture by Chiang Mai Architects Collaborative and Bunnag Architecturs and interior design by Abacus Design was inspired by Chiang Mai’s Lanna-style with rich silk and hand-woven cotton fabrics and locally procured materials sitting next to antique wood carvings. Clearly of the area, the design and feel of the resort however is not mired in the past but is interesting and contemporary, refreshed by Bill Bensley’s palette of rich toning blues used throughout.

The designers have clearly gone to great lengths to ensure the longevity of the resort with its design and interiors refreshed regularly. That shows the attention to detail that only a brand such as Four Seasons brings to the table.

9 / 10
Restaurants & Bars

There are five restaurants, bars and lounges at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai including North by Four Seasons featuring grilled dishes cooked over open flames; Khao for a culinary tour of northern Thailand, Burmese and Yunanese cuisines; the Rim Tai Kitchen for either a cookery lesson or a street themed dinner; the Rice Barn for peaceful breakfasts and dinners among the rice paddies and the poolside Ratree Bar and Lounge to relax over a cocktail or two.

North by Four Seasons under the toque of Executive Chef Liam Nealon uses as many local ingredients as he can purchased from local farmers and suppliers, even partnering with a local producer to rear rare grass-fed Thai wagyu whilst ensuring that their Australian suppliers follow eco principles. Even the steak knives and serving ware has been commissioned from Chiang Mai artisans.

This restaurant is a celebration of the grill and the fire-pit allowing the simple flavours of each ingredient to shine through with nearly 70% of the menu cooked on the wood-fired fire-pit. There is anything from beef satay Thai inspired street food to Sea Bass with Green Beans, Olives, Fennel, Tomato and Lemon to Australian rack of lamb and BBQ spareribs. 

Khao by Four Seasons invites guests to take a culinary journey around Southeast Asia with a menu drawn principally from northern Thailand but with starring roles with dishes from Burma and Yunan. Sous Chef Naruchit Taingtrong is inspired by the rich produce of northern Thailand with every dish beautifully presented with style and panache. Each dish is served on platters hand-crafted at local pottery barns with fresh herbs and flowers cut daily from the chef’s kitchen garden. The largest of the restaurants, there is ample seating both in air-conditioned comfort and on terraces overlooking the verdant rice paddies and the resort’s reflecting pools. 

The Rice Barn as the name might suggest overlooks both the lake and the brilliant green rice paddies surrounding the resort. Guests may request a private breakfast in the rice fields with a signature menu or a five-course moon lit dinner for the ultimate in romance. 

Rim Tai Kitchen is all about teaching the principles of northern Thai cuisine within a Lanna-style traditional teak house surrounded by banyan trees and lush green planting. There are cooking classes available throughout the day, even one specially for children with a private Thai Kitchen Live Dinner available in the evening. 

Named for a type of jasmine, Ratree Bar and Lounge is the resort’s open-air lounge, overlooking the resort’s pool. Relaxed and comfortable, this casual venue features a billiard table, infinity swings and an innovative cocktail menu with signature drinks such as the gin, lemon and honey inspired Bee’s Knees or the Wild Kitchen created from Lemongrass and ginger infused gin, berry liqueur, honey, lemon and apple. 

If privacy is required, in-pavilion dining offers a wide range of dishes, private BBQs and meals to go.


The resorts across Asia Pacific operated by Four Seasons Resorts Asia are committed to sustainability and preservation programmes through local partnerships, sustainable practices, guest education and more. They tread lightly on the planet and recognise their responsibility in minimising their impact on the environment. 

Each resort has created a Green Team who continually actively look for ways to be more sustainable. Over the years, the brand has undertaken a number of eco initiatives from employing marine biologists at their resorts, to maintaining organic gardens, to operating onsite water bottling plants, to upcycling soap bars and harvesting solar energy. The Asian resorts all use compostable straws, napkins and eco-friendly packaging as well as using refillable ceramic amenity containers in both accommodation and public areas.

At Chiang Mai, that most important of Thai ingredients and the country’s top agricultural export – rice – is grown in the rice paddies surrounding the resort by local Thai rice farmers who also maintain the resort’s stunning landscaping. As one of the resort’s unique experiences, the farmers will also teach guests how to plant rice, whilst dressed in Thai attire of Mor Hom shirt and boots. 

All the rice grown is used in the resort whilst the food and beverage team use as many local products as possible in their menus to counteract the food miles of imported products.  Executive Chef Liam Nealon purchases 60% of their ingredients from local farms in Northern Thailand with many of the vegetables grown organically minutes from the resort. They buy their rare grass-fed Thai wagyu from a local producer whilst their Australian suppliers have been chosen for their eco-credentials. Even the steak knives, platters and serving ware has been purchased from craftsmen in Chiang Mai, known for its rich crafts heritage, as part of their responsible practices. The tea and coffee at the resort is also locally sourced and grown by hill tribes with some exclusive to the resort.

As far as the local community is concerned, the resort provides scholarships for students at Mae Rim Wittayakom School, annually renovates and repairs local temples, provides hill trips with medical supplies and school equipment and puts on an annual charity concert in support of the local orphanage. 

What We Love

  • Amazing Experiences: There is something rather special about Chiang Mai – the resort itself gives you that wonderful, uplifting feeling of utter peace & tranquility. For me though, learning how to plant rice was special as was bathing the resident buffalo! Now that’s a dinnertime story!
  • Accommodation: There are 14 categories available - starting with pavilions and ending on “Residences”. Yes, some offer swimming pools and larger bathrooms but inherently, they are all pretty special … well-furnished and comfortable. It is amazing to wake up, sit on your balcony supping on black Thai tea and watching the happy buffalo wander past … 
  • Cuisine: Thailand is a huge country and offers different culinary accents in different regions. The Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, Thailand brings all these together in one hotel through its five restaurants. Chiang Mai is regarded as the food bowl of the country.  Also, the chefs create the dishes to your taste and don’t mock if you can’t eat spicy food!

    Varun Sharma

What They Love

  • Rice Fields: For me, it has to be the rice because of what we have done with the rice fields. Over the past years, we have expanded the rice fields and these have increased the size of the rice paddies and the aesthetic point of view. We widened the walkways so the guests can access them easily, and you get the beautiful contrast of each rice terrace. When you have nice wind blowing, you get this beautiful wave effect.
  • Experiences and Activities: What I love is that we have such a strong Thai culinary offering - Thai food around the resort and the cooking school at Rim Tai Kitchen and the connection that brings in the experience with the guests going to the herbs garden. When they pass through the farmer’s museum at the Chaan Baan, they will see the pottery workshop and the tie & dye studio. All of these things become part of the journey for the guests when they walk through the resort.
  • Spa: Our wellness focused experiences with a new spa menu and Chiang Mai provides that perfect backdrop for wellness retreats. The city has always been a spiritual place and one that is synonymous with wellness and religious pilgrimage. It is part of the backdrop, it’s in the fabric of Chiang Mai.

    Sean Mosher
    General Manager
    Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

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