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Chiang Mai, Thailand is a city well known for culture and creativity. With its rich Lanna heritage and a new generation’s eye-catching talent for mixing traditional styles with modern amenities, there’s no shortage of beautiful hotels in Chiang Mai.
In fact, over the past (nearly) seven years I’ve lived here the number of hotels has seemed to quadruple and new ones are still going up all around, especially in the Old City and around the Nimmanhaemin neighborhood. For those planning a first-time visit to the Rose of the North, I always recommend staying in the Old City. It’s central, one of the only really walkable areas in town, super close to the airport (like 10 minutes in a taxi or Uber) and home to several of the sites and activities you’re probably going to be wanting to do, like some of the city’s most import temples and the Sunday Night Walking Street. It’s also one of the best places to be during Chiang Mai’s many holidays or festivals as celebrations are always centered around the Old City.
There are a ton of accommodation options in the Old City ranging from $10 a night dorm rooms to surprisingly expensive hotels, basic guesthouses and trendy hostels. You really can find something to fit any budget or preference.
That said, here’s my curated list of the more boutique options that really pay attention to the special details. It’s become a bit of a trend to slap on the word ’boutique’ to any guesthouse, hostel or hotel trying to make it sound cooler but don’t be fooled — a lot of the ’boutique’ places I see around really aren’t that unique or detail oriented. The recommendations below are on the pricier side of things but definitely live up to their boutique status while also being undeniably Thai in their aesthetic.
On your next stay, consider staying at one of these boutique hotels in Chiang Mai’s Old City! Click on the bold hotel names to check out current rates or make a booking on Agoda.
Hidden on a little soi in the heart of Chiang Mai is Makka. Designed with Buddhist philosophies in mind, every detail of this beautiful boutique hotel will make you feel relaxed and zen. The architecture and green courtyards bring the outside in and add further to the feeling of relaxation. The entrance and lobby areas are incredible!
Located in the centre of the Old City on the same road as the Sunday Walking Street, this airy boutique hotel beautifully blends old and new. With a restaurant and spa onsite, you have everything you need to retreat from the world. Since you’re just steps away from the excitement of the city, however, you get the best chance to balance relaxation with exploration.
A member of the Secret Retreats collection, Rachamankha is located a short distance away from Wat Pra Singh, one of Chiang Mai’s most famous temples. It’s no accident that the architectural style of this boutique hotel is designed to take you back to the city’s golden age as Northern Thailand’s trading capital, blending and fusing different styles into one serene experience. Decorated with carefully curated art, artifacts and artisanal furniture, the property is clearly a special one and a great option if you’re looking to splurge on a place for a couple nights.
The green courtyard, shaded by a large tree really sets the tone for this tranquil oasis. One of the original boutique hotels in Chiang Mai’s Old City, Tamarind Village hides behind an unassuming fence of bamboo, but once you step into the grounds and gardens you’ll forget the city just on the other side. While the onsite restaurant serves up delicious Northern Thai food, you’re also just a hop and a skip away from some of the Old City’s best eateries.
With its gorgeous interior decor and expansive art collection, this boutique hotel almost feels like an art gallery. The Makkachiva, sister to Makka, pays attention to the little details that make your experience feel unique, like taking off your shoes before you enter the interior! Just across the street is a traditional Lanna-style temple to add to the ambiance.
When visiting Chiang Mai, staying in the Old City makes it easy to explore and pack as many adventures into your day as you can. Feeling like you can “come home” to a beautiful space really enhances the experience, and staying at one of these boutique hotels in Chiang Mai’s Old City will definitely be worth the little extra splurge.
Note: This post contains Agoda affiliate links. You get the best rate and I get a small commission at no extra charge to you – win win!