Whether we have a good stay or a bad stay at a hotel, there will be opposing emotions when it comes to arriving and leaving. Hate the place and disappointment will reign on first walking through the door and relief when it comes time to go. Love the place and the opposite will be true.
These emotions are amplified after a long journey with little sleep and I can say we perked up immediately on walking through the open entrance of the De Lanna. I’d spent the night trying not to be thrown from the shelf wide top bunk on the night train from Bangkok. Tiny Deirdre had insisted on the bigger lower bed and had the better night of it.
While I’m sure the night bus would have been a far worse way to arrive in town we were particularly looking forward to getting between the inviting white sheets of our new home for the next three days. As Deirdre followed her usual routine of unpacking straight away, I explored the softness of the bed by flopping face down and laying motionless for ten minutes. My gentle moaning sounds signalled appreciation as my senses registered the lovely smelling, crisp bed and the quiet sounds of late dawn coming through the now open balcony doors.
I should state now our relationship with the management of the De Lanna Hotel. While we did not get our stay for free – we offered advertising on our sites in return – it always feels like we are getting nights like these at no cost when we do not see the money flying out from our bank account. While my opinions below are my own it is fair that you know about this arrangement if we start gushing below about how much we loved the place.
Ordinarily the De Lanna would be out of our price range but not so far that it couldn’t play a role as a birthday treat, especially when promotions are taken in to account. Normally our superior room would be priced at 4,800 baht but is discounted by 40% between March 1 and October 31, 2013.
So what did we get for our not money?
Our room was characterised by traditional Northern Thai fabrics and handicrafts and came with a king sized bed, cable TV and satellite channels, wireless internet, in-room safety box, air conditioner, telephone, private balcony, mini bar, complimentary tea/coffee making set and a shower.
As already mentioned the bed was extremely comfortable and the bathroom an absolute delight. We spend most of our money travelling but if we were to invest in doing up our bathroom at home this is how I would want it: stylish granite, modern and functional. A nice touch was the provision of bathrobes. The saying goes you don’t miss something until its gone but with travel sometimes the opposite is true and you only miss something once it reappears unexpectedly in your life.
The method of connecting to the internet by a username and password logging in system (as opposed to picking up the signal and entering the password that way) is not my favourite and I find always takes a little time for our laptop and iPod to get used to it. But once it did the wifi was fast enough for our needs.
This initial frustration was tempered by trying to connect to the internet from our balcony overlooking the grassy, enclosed courtyard. We spent a lot of time relaxing here and elsewhere in our room, or within the comfortable grounds of the hotel. As we knew we were going to be in Chiang Mai for some time, in rooms most likely not as nice as this, we made the most of it. It was also nice to catch up with a bit of TV under dimmed lights.
The balcony overlooked the grassy courtyard – which also served in the morning as the breakfast area – and the swimming pool. Breakfast itself showed an ambition we are unused to.
Catering to both western and local tastes, fruits, cereals, toast and croissants, yoghurt, fried rice, noodles, fried eggs, bacon, hot dog type sausages, juice and coffee were all available in buffet help yourself serving style. The bacon could be a little dry by the time we arrived (usually last, five minutes before they started clearing up) but Deirdre just made a wistful ‘Hmm, De Lanna breakfast’ noise to indicate her approval of the overall ensemble.
We did feel a bit of an unfriendly vibe from the main guy at breakfast but I’ll cut him some slack as this might have been because we were always last down and munched our way through virtually everything on offer. Otherwise, every single other member of staff, including the rest of the breakfast crew, the cleaners and reception staff couldn’t be faulted.
Often when we have exchanged our advertising for accommodation some of the saving we have made can be lost when eating in the hotel restaurant but De Lanna’s prices were reasonable. I ate there twice – and enjoyed both meals – before we plunged ourselves into the wonderful value that is Chiang Mai’s street food.
Drinks prices were, not unexpectedly, a little more than in the bars and restaurants around town but not so much more to be off putting. Months later I’ve yet to find a place to sip a glass of wine or down a beer in a more relaxing setting. Day or night the De Lanna is a little oasis of calm despite its central location within the old city walls and proximity to the city’s busy Sunday Walking Market and many of its main tourist sights.
After three days we were released – almost screaming and kicking – from De Lanna into what felt like the wild. We’re still in Chiang Mai for a few more weeks yet and occasionally walk past. We throw a mixture of jealous and appreciative glances when we pass by but never go in. Leaving a second time would be just too much.
De Lanna Hotel
44 Intawarorot Rd. T.Sriphum Muang Chiangmai 50200
Tel. (66) 053-326266, (66) 053-326278, (66) 053-326279
Booking: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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