Review: Le Meridien hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand
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This is our review of Le Meridien hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
It is the third hotel review from my family holiday in Thailand. You can read our review of the St Regis Bangkok here and our review of Phulay Bay, a Ritz Carlton Reserve resort, here.
After finishing my scuba course in Krabi it was time to head into the mountains of Northern Thailand to Chiang Mai. Despite being the second largest city in Thailand with over a million residents, Chiang Mai feels like a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.
If anything, it feels like a slightly sleepy provincial town than a major metropolis – and is all the better for it. If I ever moved to Thailand, Chiang Mai is where I’d go.
Where is Le Meridien Chiang Mai?
The core of Chiang Mai is the historic old town bounded on four sides by the ancient walls and moats, and this is where the majority of the tourist activities are:
As you can see, Le Meridien is just outside the eastern walls, but it’s still only a 15 minute taxi away from the airport, on the western side of the city. It’s one of very few big chain hotels in the city – Hilton doesn’t have any properties in the area, although Accor, IHG and Melia do.
The hotel is very close to the night markets in Chiang Mai – another tourist hotspot.
There are no subway or metro lines in Chiang Mai so the easiest way to get around is via taxis or tuk tuks. I recommend you download Grab, the Asian equivalent of Uber. A Grab from the hotel to the centre of town where you’ll find some of Chiang Mai’s historic watts (temples) should be around 100 baht, or around £2.30.
Inside Le Meridien Chiang Mai
Le Meridien is in one of the tallest, if not tallest buildings in Chiang Mai: a fourteen year old 22-storey yellow concrete structure that won’t be winning any architectural awards anytime soon:
It does have some elephant sculptures in the entrance, though, which counts for something:
Inside is a large double / triple height lobby:
Reception and concierge are on the left:
Behind reception you can see a large fabric tapestry. There were a couple of these throughout the hotel and I really loved them.
Check in was quick and easy and my Bonvoy status was recognised. I was given a Club twin room on the 21st floor.
Rooms at Le Meridien Chiang Mai
Despite being only fourteen years old, I was told that the hotel is about to embark on a comprehensive refurbishment of rooms and public spaces. I was quite surprised as everything was still in really good nick and not massively dated (I’ve seen Ritz Carltons in greater need of refurbishment, to be honest). It certainly doesn’t look old:
It’s a fairly standard hotel room layout with a short hallway with wardrobe adjacent to the bathroom with the bedroom section at the end.
Like other Le Meridien properties the design is fairly light and simple, with mostly white walls and beige/wood touches. I particularly liked the lantern lights which gave it a slightly more Asian feel.
Connectivity isn’t great. Again, like the Ritz Carlton I had travelled from, this hotel was built before smartphones were really a thing so there’s a notable dearth of bedside plug sockets:
…. although there are plenty on the desk opposite:
You also get a stocked mini fridge:
…. plus a kettle. There was no coffee machine, unfortunately:
The TV is fairly large and I think has been updated since the hotel opened, because it certainly doesn’t look like the TVs from 2008!
In the window is a built-in sofa:
The view is great, across the old town and towards the mountain, although in summer the visibility is pretty hazy
Looking back, you can see through the window into the bathroom:
Fortunately there is a blind that you can close for additional privacy in the bathroom, should you need it.
The bathroom is fairly large, with a squarish bath tub and shower:
Water pressure was great although it could take a minute or two for the water to warm up. Here is the sink:
Again, no towel rails! Whilst you could hang a towel on the shower door handle it’s a bit out of the way.
The toilet is round the corner, but it doesn’t have a separate door from the rest of the bathroom.
Toiletries are the standard Le Meridien Malin + Goetz which I quite like. You also get a few other bits including a dental kit, cotton pads, shower cap etc:
Pool and gym at the Le Meridien Chiang Mai hotel
Le Meridien has a lot of facilities, including extensive conferencing and meeting rooms. These are on floors 1-4 and seem to be quite popular – when we were there it looked like the local police had an event going on.
The fourth floor is also where you’ll find the pool, spa and gym. The pool isn’t huge, given the hotel has 348 rooms, but it does have nice views across the city:
There’s also a separate, slightly shallower pool at one end that looks more child-friendly as well as a jacuzzi at the other that will blow bubbles at you.
There are dedicated toilets and showers, as well as a handful of lockers, but you won’t find a sauna or steam room outside of the spa which is for paying customers only, unfortunately.
The gym is next to the pool and features a range of cardio and weight training equipment:
Breakfast at Le Meridien Chian Mai
Breakfast is served in the main restaurant on the ground floor by the lobby. This is a fairly large, albeit windowless restaurant:
The buffet is quite extensive. Weirdly, you are expected to use plastic gloves when perusing the buffet – something that only the airport lounges in Bangkok and the Le Meridien seem to do:
On the middle island is the selection of juices, yoghurts, salads, cheese and meat, although no smoked salmon).
Just a heads up: the orange juice in Thailand rarely seems to be fresh and often seems to be sweetened – Phulay Bay was the only place I got genuinely fresh orange juice. This is not a huge issue when you have plenty of other fresh juices to choose from including pineapple, guava, papaya etc.
There’s also a noodle soup station:
As well as a waffle / pancake station, egg and omelette station and probably around fifteen to twenty different hot items including at least 10 Thai and Asian options ranging from Thai curries to congee to dim sum. It is extensive.
Le Meridien Chiang Mai Royal Club
Le Meridien normally has a multi level Club on the top floors, but due to covid this has been temporarily closed. For now, you can get Club amenities in the main restaurant and bar on the ground floor. That means you get the main hotel breakfast, which is an upgrade.
In the afternoons you have a (very limited) choice of snacks:
Oddly these are placed next to other items which you do have to pay for (including pastries) so that lead to some confusion.
In the evenings happy hour is from 6pm until 8:30pm with a fairly comprehensive alcoholic menu including basic cocktails, sparkling and house wines etc. You also have a small buffet, mostly featuring salady bits and a couple of Thai specialities:
Not huge, but enough to keep you going if you don’t fancy venturing outside.
Le Meridien Chiang Mai is a great base for exploring the city – within spitting distance of the historic city centre and right next to the night markets.
As with everywhere in Thailand, staff are very friendly and welcoming.
It will be interesting to see what the hotel does with its upcoming refurbishment. If it can match the standards of Le Royal Meridien in Dubai (review here) then I will be very impressed – that hotel has been refurbished recently and looks very smart. At the very least, though, they should put some plug sockets next to the beds.
As you’d expect in Thailand, it’s not expensive. Cash prices are around £70 per night whilst you can expect to pay around 30,000 to 40,000 Bonvoy points per night – this may now drop as ‘dynamic pricing’ is introduced. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.
PS. I can highly recommend Dash Chiang Mai – a traditional teak house restaurant that offers al fresco dining and is managed by a Thai American who grew up in Seattle and has moved back to Chiang Mai. The food was fantastic, especially the tamarind shrimp. On the other hand, I suggest you avoid The Service 1921 restaurant at the Anantara on the river – the service was all over the place.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (May 2023)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is doubled to 40,000 Bonvoy points – and you get a free night voucher too! Apply here.
Marriott Bonvoy American Express
40,000 bonus points and a free night voucher – only until 30th May! Read our full review
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)