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LE MÉRIDIEN CHIANG RAI RESORT, CHIANG RAI
The staff at Chiang Rai's spiffiest new accommodations are eager to make visitors feel at home. Greenery permeates this 159-room resort along North Thailand's Mae Kok River; even the guest rooms take up the hue, with leaf-colored bathroom tiles that brighten up the neutral palette. All rooms have a balcony with a daybed and table for two, although they lack total privacy. But no matter: You will likely spend most of the day elsewhere. Rise early to board the hotel's longtail boat, which heads out to nearby caves filled with Buddha statues; afterward, you'll want to dig into the copious breakfast spread at Latest Recipe, the main dining room. A complimentary shuttle runs to Chiang Rai Town as well as the more interesting Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park, with its impressive Thai antiquities and botanical gardens. The resort's extensive activities program runs the gamut from archery to yoga, and the riverside pool has plenty of padded loungers and the Chill Bar. Ten chaises placed on the grass beside the Mae Kok are optimal spots for relaxing and contemplating the river's peaceful flow.
When to go: Avoid only August and September, the rainiest days of the monsoon season.
Which room to book: Deluxe Rooms with river views are worth the small supplement.
Le Méridien Chiang Rai Resort
Tel: 66 53 603 333
See more hotels on Condé Nast Traveler's 2009 Hot List.