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At Niman Conceptual Home, Chiang Mai

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Thailand, Asia: At Niman Conceptual Home
37 Nimmanhaemin Road, Soi 9
Chiang Mai
Thailand 50200
Tel: 66 53 224 949's insider take:

After overseeing the sprawling, $75 million Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, architect Rachen "Taam'' Intawong went for up close and personal with this eight-room "conceptual home.'' Located one mile west of the old city, the hotel appeals to budget-minded bohemians of all stripes with decor that reflects Chiang Mai's cultural bond with India and the Himalayas. The lower floors are heavy on Indian, Nepalese, and Tibetan trappings, such as hand-carved teak door jambs and lintels, while sleeker, Lanna-style accessories like bud-shaped lamps enliven the top tier. No two rooms are identical, though all are larger than 1,000 square feet and have the requisite modern comforts: Wi-Fi, mini-bar, candles, and aromatherapy products. Downstairs, there's a small library, a swimming pool, and a restaurant, the whimsically named Le Muang de Cuisine Snob. One of the city's best shopping areas, Nimmanhaemin Road, is just a five-minute walk away; a free shuttle connects to the Night Bazaar.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

This intimate eight-room urban retreat from owner-designer Rachen Intawong on a residential street in downtown Chiang Mai—he also designed the nearby Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi—flaunts design elements inspired by Himalayan culture, from the Indian carved arched doors to the Nepalese-Tibetan hanging lamps and singing bowls, plus a scattering of antiques from Burma. The rooms, themed after goddesses, come with elegant touches including small balconies and platform or four-poster beds, and the highly commendable staff go beyond their duties to make guests feel at home, learning names quickly and bringing Thai coconut-covered treats to visitors in the second-story alfresco café. There's a rooftop sundeck (though it lacks any seating), and Chiang Mai's trendiest shopping strip, Nimmanhaemin Road, is just steps from the hotel.

—2008 Hot List

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