LOOKING FOR LISTS FROM OTHER YEARS?
Hot List 2009
Verandah Chiang Mai, The High Resort, Chiang Mai
192 Moo 2
Tel: 66 53 365 007
This breathtaking compound of timber and concrete structures scattered across a valley dense with rice paddies, wildflowers, and tropical greenery is a 30-minute drive from Chiang Mai's frenetic night bazaar. A tunnel of polished concrete cooled by falling water creates a dramatic entrance into the resort's inner courtyard, which contains charcoal-gray-tiled pools, an open-air Thai restaurant with tables in stilted rice barns, and three low-slung buildings housing 69 guest rooms, all with balconies or patios and several with plunge pools. Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a neon-blue lemongrass welcome drinkone of the few colors in the hotel's palette that is not derived from nature. Interiors are sparsely decorated but comfortable and come with a roomy daybed, a generous changing area, and a terrazzo bathroom, and turndown service includes homemade cookies delivered by the quiet but smiling staff. The activities building has a valley-facing gym, a daytime eatery, a kid's club offering traditional crafts classes, and a four-suite spa that should factor into every guest's schedule (except during the sublime sunsets). While the rooftop infinity pool may seem contrived given the lovely natural surroundings, the elevation adds drama to the panorama.
When to go: Chiang Mai's sun shines year-round, but the coolest days are in December and January.
Which room to book: Top-floor Valley Deluxe rooms boast the best view-to-value ratio.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.