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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.

The hotel website is here.

Le Meridien Chiang Mai exterior

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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai location

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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai facade

It does have some elephant sculptures in the entrance, though, which counts for something:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai elephants

Inside is a large double / triple height lobby:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai lobby

Reception and concierge are on the left:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai reception

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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai room

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.

Le Meridien Chiang Mai wardrobe

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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai bedside

…. although there are plenty on the desk opposite:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai desk

You also get a stocked mini fridge:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai mini bar

…. plus a kettle. There was no coffee machine, unfortunately:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai kettle

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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai sofa

The view is great, across the old town and towards the mountain, although in summer the visibility is pretty hazy

Le Meridien Chiang Mai view

Looking back, you can see through the window into the bathroom:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai room 2

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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai bathroom

and

Le Meridien Chiang Mai shower

Water pressure was great although it could take a minute or two for the water to warm up. Here is the sink:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai 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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai dental kit

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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai pool

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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai gym

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:

and

Le Meridien Chiang Mai buffet

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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai buffet gloves

On the middle island is the selection of juices, yoghurts, salads, cheese and meat, although no smoked salmon).

Le Meridien Chiang Mai buffet juice

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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai noodle 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 breakfast buffet

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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai club snack

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:

Le Meridien Chiang Mai club buffet

and

Le Meridien Chiang Mai club buffet 2

Not huge, but enough to keep you going if you don’t fancy venturing outside.

Conclusion

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.


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Comments (44)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • PL says:

    Looks nice but I wouldn’t bother with the big chains in Chiang Mai as there are many excellent small/boutique Lannna style hotels to choose from.

    • Rob says:

      Rhys was with his Mum which is why they went for the smarter Western brands I think.

  • numpty says:

    Strange point to pick up on, but as you mentioned the sweetened orange juice – fruit juice, especially when you get a smoothie from one of the shops or booths is always sweetened with a full ladle of sugar syrup.

  • AJA says:

    I stayed at the RatiLanna, a bit further out of town, beside the river but still easy to get to the centre by taxi or tuk tuk. Much more Thai in character (dark wood flooring and furniture, with a lovely balcony with day bed overlooking the pool area and has a small temple off the main lobby) lovely breakfast room over looking the river and a lovely pool too. A bit more expensive than le Meridien at £100 to £170 per night (depending on room but including breakfast) but true 5 star luxury and friendly, discreet service.

    • Jonathan says:

      RatiLanna’s owner is a big furniture manufacturer. He makes sure the his Hotel is always in pristine condition. Especially the wood interiors

    • Graeme says:

      Totally agree!

    • gordon says:

      Re My earlier I post. I’ve been there twice.Lek and her team of volunteers carry out a fantastic job. You can apply to work there.

  • Aston100 says:

    Thanks for the review Rhys.
    Was there a good reason this was picked over the Shangri La?

  • Wanderlust says:

    I stayed at this hotel just before the pandemic (End of December 2019), I quite liked this hotel and would return if I went back to Chaing Mai. It was one of the rare occasions where I really appreciated a hotel lounge and actually made use of it so I do hope that it re-opens at some stage (reflecting on why this was the case, it was small touches that made my trip work exactly as I wanted it to).

  • James Harper says:

    I have good memories of this place, I stayed when it was just open about 14 years ago and it was a good stay, relatively quiet at the time but the service was excellent and it is so close to the old town. I don’t know why I only stayed once, on subsequent visits I’ve used the Shangri-La but next time, I think I’ll go back to Le Meridien.

  • Lady London says:

    Were the pastries in the picture any good, Rhys?

    • Rhys says:

      Yes, croissant was pretty good. I did fill it with a healthy dollop of nutella though 🙂

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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