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There are so many amazing Chiang Mai boutique hotels, but I’ve done all the research for you and picked out the 14 best across the whole city! Check them out and let us know your favourite!
Usually, choosing the top pick for these articles is pretty easy. But I’m going to cheat a little bit here because I literally CANNOT pick between my two favourite places!
U Chiang Mai is the best boutique hotel in Chiang Mai for MOST travellers, and Ping Nakara is another similarly-priced option for those looking to treat themselves or a friend/partner to a little more luxury.
Top Pick: The Best Boutique Hotel In Chiang Mai
This is 100% where we would stay if we were looking for the best Chiang Mai boutique hotel, as typical travellers.
U Chiang Mai is just a fantastic place to spend a few nights (or longer)! You’ll honestly be treated to a first-rate experience from start to finish, in one of the best locations in the whole city.
For a *touch* more elegance, Ping Nakara is the place to be to experience a boutique hotel in Chiang Mai.
It’s perfect for romantic getaways, so we’d come here for a birthday or anniversary weekend! The fancy cars, the unbelievable artwork and attention to detail in the rooms make this a winner.
If our top picks don’t float your boat – or they’ve just been booked out already – then here is a list of Chiang Mai boutique hotels that will still blow you away.
They all have an incredibly personable feel, stunning decor and luxury facilities. All of the boutique hotels in Chiang Mai on this list are in a great location and easy to get to from the airport, meaning that you can get stuck into your holiday less than half an hour after leaving the airport!
Here’s a map of the six best boutique hotels in Chiang Mai to give you an idea of where the accommodation is in relation to the main city.
The Top Chiang Mai Boutique Hotels
U Chiang Mai
This is at the top of our list for so many reasons!
Firstly – if you want to be near all the action of the Old City, then U Chiang Mai has you covered! It’s on the road home to Tha Phae Walking Street, so you literally are in the best location for one of the best things to do in Chiang Mai!
I loved that although the hotel is really central, the entrance is behind an unassuming wall so only guests are treated to the gorgeous decor and atmosphere. The carefully restored building upstairs was actually owned by the governor of Chiang Mai around 100 years ago, so you can get a real feel for the typical architecture of the time!
As soon as you arrive, you’re greeted by one of the friendly staff and a tasty welcome drink, so already you know that you’re going to enjoy your time here. Don’t just take our word for it that it’s amazing though – read the verified reviews here.
U Chiang Mai has two unique ways to make your stay the best it can be, and I can’t believe I’ve never heard another hotel do this before!
The check-in system is designed in a way to give you the most time possible at the hotel. So, if you check-in at 1 pm on your first day, you won’t have to check out until 1 pm on your last day. This works for whatever time you check-in, so you don’t lose any hours if you have a late arrival flight! I think this is such good service and it’s the little details like this that make U Chiang Mai such a great place to stay.
Another fantastic idea here is the fact that you can order your complimentary breakfast at any time of the day until 9 pm! So, if you prefer to eat a little later than the normal hotel breakfast time, or maybe you’re a little worse for wear after a night out, then you can order the meal whenever and wherever you want. How good is that? If you are an early bird, then you can take advantage of the breakfast buffet until 11 am.
U Chiang Mai is actually a chain – this branch is the first of the brand in Thailand – but it doesn’t feel commercial at all. There are 5 gorgeous types of rooms – superior, superior with pool access, deluxe, deluxe with pool access and a family suite with pool access.
If you are in the mindset to work off a few of those street food snacks, there’s an excellent gym on-site, as well as bikes to use around the city, free of charge. Or, if you’re like us and like to indulge yourself by relaxing whilst you’re on holiday, then visit U Chiang Mai’s very own spa upstairs. Choose from a variety of massages, body scrubs or facials, and feel your stresses melt away.
Sometimes peace and calm away from everyone else is just what you need, and conveniently, there’s a quiet Reading Room in the main building, which is equipped with books, a desk and foot massage chairs.
Don’t forget to take a visit to the open-air bar, for some of the best cocktails in the city (and an all-day Happy Hour) and an excellent Thai-style afternoon tea!
U Chiang Mai is an outstanding boutique hotel in Chiang Mai, and I cannot recommend staying here enough! Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Our second top pick is just as amazing – but for slightly different reasons! A few nights at Ping Nakara would be a great way to begin your holiday in Chiang Mai.
Start your experience here by using their airport shuttle service – with a difference! You will be picked up in a gorgeous classic car with a well-dressed chauffeur. You’ll feel super fancy leaving the airport and it just gets better from here! During your stay, you can also take a local city tour in one of these cars too, which we highly recommend if you aren’t a fan of tuk-tuks, but still want to see all of the stunning architecture from a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle.
Once you arrive, please go and spend a few minutes taking in the incredible artwork on the wall in the foyer. It took TWO YEARS to create and is handpainted by local artists. It’s truly one of the most stunning pieces of art we’ve ever seen, and just so impressive.
There are 19 rooms, consisting of the Royal Grande, Deluxe and Grande Deluxe. Each of them is special in its own way, as you can see from the photos. For more images, take a look here.
You even have the option of adjoining rooms, which is great for families with children they need to keep a close eye on!
Each room welcomes you with complimentary snacks and a note from the manager. You’ll also find some lovely finishing touches, such as pretty artwork on the walls, toiletries from the spa and even an extensive movie menu for the large TV. You can also request a Smart box if you want!
The on-site spa has a mix of single and couples massage rooms, with great deals on therapeutic, wellness and traditional massage packages. Just call down directly from your room – there’s a spa menu on the desk – to book yourself in.
Wind down in the stunning and recently refurbished cocktail lounge (don’t miss Happy Hour at 5!), or spend your afternoons immersing yourself in a good book from the hotel library, set inside the pretty conservatory.
If you’d rather be a little more active, then you’re in luck because Ping Nakara’s outdoor swimming pool is a good size for lengths as well as splashing around for fun!
Ping Nakara has a small restaurant with a pool-facing terrace serving food all day. You might want to have breakfast in your room or eat al fresco in the glorious Thai sunshine.
All of the boutique hotels in Chiang Mai on my list are exquisite in their own way, but Ping Nakara is especially good at showcasing its charm and elegance, without being too pretentious. It’s a fantastic choice for all types of travellers.
One of the most incredible things about this hotel is that it looks and feels super luxurious, so you could easily assume that the rooms come with a hefty price tag. This is not the case at all – a stay at Ping Nakara Boutique is extremely affordable!
We were blown away by the price ranges for each room because the quality of the space and service is just outstanding. Click on the button below to take a look at the prices for your best dates and I bet you’ll be just as surprised!
Amata Lanna Village
Located further out to the east of the main city, but still only a 10-minute drive from the centre, Amata Lanna Village is a great choice for a Chiang Mai boutique hotel.
With only 14 rooms, this is the ideal place for a peaceful getaway. You won’t be disturbed by many other guests, and the staff know exactly how to be around when you might want something, but quietly work behind the scenes when you don’t.
The rooms are beautifully furnished with traditional Lanna style teakwood throughout and have a view of the gorgeous garden and pool. The pool area is large and peaceful, with plenty of sunbeds to relax on.
Whether you need a double or a twin, you won’t miss out on any of the luxuries that Amata Lanna Village provides. All rooms come with a spa bath in the spacious bathroom, with complimentary toiletries to soak with.
Breakfast can be included in your room rate and is served in the outdoor restaurant. If you’re hungry throughout the day, you can choose from the Thai menu for delicious meals. Check the different room rates here.
Amata Lanna Village is a family-run business, with incredible service at the heart of everything they do. We stayed here for my birthday and had a fantastic time. Without request, the staff brought out a cake at breakfast and sang to me – it was so lovely and thoughtful, and it’s these small details that help us decide where to recommend and where to avoid!
We definitely recommend staying at Amata Lanna Village when you’re in Chiang Mai, and don’t forget to mention if you’re celebrating a special occasion!
Away Chiang Mai Thapae Vegan Resort
Travelling whilst vegetarian or vegan can sometimes be tricky, but here is a hotel that takes the worry about food for you!
Not only is the restaurant vegan, but there is a huge focus on well-being and healthy organic food. No alcohol is served on-site as the hotel adheres to the Thai Buddhist principle of abstinence. You can really relax here, knowing that everybody around you is looking for a peaceful and mindful stay.
Each of the 39 rooms here is named after a road in the city. There are 4 different types to choose from: a deluxe room, a suite, a deluxe room with pool access and a family suite. Most rooms have a bath, and you can find cute little packets of bubble bath at reception to buy! See all of the room options here.
The hotel has its own spa, with excellent and affordable options. Just make a reservation at least one 1hour in advance so that the staff can prepare.
There are plenty of activities at the resort itself that you can enjoy – just ask reception and they’ll be glad to help you! Daily yoga is available on the pretty lawn, and if you are interested in the Buddhist culture, you can make a monk offering in the early morning. The swimming pool is huge (and if you book an access room then you just jump right in from your room!)
Hire a bicycle for a trip around the city for just 50 THB per day. If you’d prefer to explore by tuk-tuk, then the team at Away Chiang Mai can organise a trip for you.
This hotel is a dreamy place to stay for a calm and tranquil holiday, with the added bonus of being fully vegan too!
My Chiangmai Boutique Lodge
Out of all of the boutique hotels in Chiang Mai, this is the one that surprised me the most! It just goes to show that you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds a night to get great accommodation!
For travellers who like a little more independence to be able to cook themselves, or if you’ve got little ones in tow that you’d like to have close by (but not too close!) then My Chiang Mai is a fantastic choice.
There are just 23 rooms, but you’ve got 4 options to choose from. My Chiang Mai offers superior and deluxe rooms, plus king suites and family studios. Every room except the superior has a well-stocked kitchenette, which is perfect for those days you want to cook for yourself. Check out the reviews of the different rooms here.
An a la carte breakfast is offered though, and there’s a large Thai menu served until the early evening if you didn’t want to cook or go out. You also get complimentary hot drinks and locally made rice crackers all day, which I thought was a lovely touch!
One thing I really liked about My Chiang Mai is that it is so perfectly geared towards holidaymakers. A lot of places check you in and then kind of leave you to it, but here, there are hundreds of tour leaflets at the desk, there are snacks available to buy at the reception and there’s a little souvenir shop too.
You can rent a bike here for such a good price – just 80 THB for 24 hours. The bar is open all day, and it is just next to the pool which is ideal for a little boozy day lounging around! The pool itself is open until 9 pm which is late by most hotels’ standards, but My Chiang Mai has installed lights in their pool so that you can swim safely for longer.
My Chiang Mai is a great find for anyone wanting a long-term option in a fantastic location! The staff are also incredibly friendly – not just because you’re a customer, but because they are just great!
137 Pillars House
Yes, just – wow.
137 Pillars House is just out of this world. Your stay here is genuinely going to unforgettable!
There is so much incredible history steeped into this hotel. The main building, where the bar and restaurants are, was built in 1889 on 137 pillars – hence the name! The rest of the hotel is built to reflect the architectural design, so you’ll still get the same beautiful vibe wherever you are in the grounds.
Honestly, there are so many amazing facilities and services here, I really don’t know where to begin!
Perhaps the butler service would be a good idea – every room has a personal butler service to cater to your every wish!
There are 5 different types of room, and they are all insanely opulent. They all offer comfortable four-poster beds, an indoor & outdoor shower, freestanding bathtubs and beautiful verandahs to relax on. Some of the suites are larger and accommodate extra guests, as well as having access to a private pool. Take a look at each of the suites here.
Looking to stay active whilst on holiday? Play a spot of croquet on the immaculate lawn, visit the 24-hour gym underneath the teak house, or swim a couple of lengths in the 25m pool.
If relaxation is more your thing, then head on down to the spa and be treated to the Serenity Centre where you can enjoy treatments such as traditional healing, aromatheraphy and sports massages, facials and body scrubs. You can choose to go solo, as a couple or even as a whole family with a variety of packages to select from.
There’s also an interesting museum underneath the main teak building, highlighting local artefacts that were found when rebuilding the hotel and a wonderful library area for reading, games and meetings.
Foodies can be confident that they’ll have a great time here too. Enjoy a delicious afternoon tea in the Parlour or visit one of two restaurants in the teak house. The Dining Room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Pallette is a Michelin star recommended restaurant, serving delicious western cusine.
You can ask your butler to book you in for a Thai cooking class in the open kitchen, order a picnic basket to go, or enjoy your meals in your room if you have had a busy day!
Treat yourself to the high-quality drinks in your minibar, but for incredible cocktails, visit Jack Bain’s bar in the main house. Named after one of the last inhabitants of the property, the bar provides a magnificent place to enjoy drinks mixed with skill and care (and sometimes even fire!).
137 Pillars House has everything you’d ever want in a boutique hotel in Chiang Mai. It’s the most expensive one on my list, but worth every penny and memory that you make here! Don’t just take my word for it – click on the button below to read the superb reviews that I think this place deserves!
Other Boutique Hotels In Chiang Mai To Consider
Although the hotels above are the best of the best, I couldn’t leave out this next bunch! There are some real gems in this list, and again, I’ve created a map for you to see where exactly they are in the city.
This beautifully designed hotel is set right in the Old Town, offering deluxe rooms and executive suites – all with a bathtub! Breakfast is included in your rate, and there’s a restaurant on-site for your other meals.
Swim in the saltwater pool, and relax in the bar with snacks and drinks. If you feel like keeping active on holiday, then make the most of their gym too!
VC@Suanpaak Boutique Hotel & Service Apartment
At VC@Suanpaak, you can choose from just a double room or a whole apartment which is great for families or groups travelling together.
Every room is air-conditioned, with a private balcony and complimentary toiletries. The on-site restaurant serves food all day and your breakfast is included in the price. The hotel offers a free shuttle service to and from the airport – just another amenity that makes your stay smooth sailing and hassle-free.
This hotel is a fantastic choice, with its beautiful outdoor swimming pool next to the terraced dining area, delicious healthy breakfast buffet and wonderful choice of rooms to suit all travellers and all budgets.
You can rent a bicycle from the hotel, or ask the tour desk for information about things to do in the city. The staff always go above and beyond for their guests, so ask them for anything you need!
This charming hotel is just a short walk away from the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai’s walking streets and markets, although inside the grounds there’s a lovely calm vibe.
There’s a spa on-site with fully trained staff, as well as the opportunity to take part in cultural activities like umbrella painting, or a cooking class.
The elegantly decorated rooms all have free toiletries and air-conditioning as well a minibar, but the main bar serves great cocktails so you’ll probably visit there instead of staying in the room!
For the ultimate 5-star luxury Chiang Mai boutique hotel stay, choose Rachamankha.
The huge outdoor pool is fresh and inviting, the library offers computer access and the suites are beautifully decorated.
This hotel has a poolside spa and an intimate restaurant, serving carefully prepared local dishes.
With its excellent location, free airport shuttle and fantastic breakfast, it’s easy to see why Pingviman made it to my list of the best Chiang Mai boutique hotels!
The rooms are very spacious, and all come with a bathtub – perfect for winding down after a busy day in the city. Some rooms even have direct pool access.
Pingviman Hotel offers a pool bar, laundry services and a fitness centre too, and is a great peaceful place to stay in the heart of Chiang Mai.
Buri Gallery House
This hotel is a great choice if you’re interested in learning about the traditional local communities dotted around Thailand. Decorated in the Lanna style, Buri Gallery House has an on-site souvenir shop, where you can buy handmade items from around the country.
Another unique attraction of this hotel is that you can order an in-room Thai massage if you’d prefer to relax in the privacy of your own room.
The restaurant in the garden serves your complimentary breakfast, as well as lunch and drinks.
The Rim Chiang Mai
For a stylish yet traditional boutique hotel in Chiang Mai, spend a few nights at The Rim Hotel.
Each room offers a balcony with a pool view, a bathtub and a minibar.
The hotel is located on the west side of the Old Town, just a 15-minute walk from the Walking Street or a few minutes in a taxi.
Food is served at The Canal Restaurant, and you can also grab a drink here! There’s a fitness centre and you can also rent bikes from the hotel.
Things To Do In Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is famous for a few things – elephants, temples and waterfalls. Oh, and don’t forget the delicious northern Thai dish of Khao Soi!
You can easily spend a few weeks here and not get bored, so here are my top things to do in Chiang Mai!
Visit An Ethical Elephant Sanctuary
The elephant is Thailand’s national animal, so it makes sense that you want to see one whilst you’re here! Chiang Mai is home to thousands of elephants, but it’s important to know how to meet them in an ethical way.
Read More: The Truth About Elephants In Thailand
Hopefully, you already know that you shouldn’t be riding these incredibly intelligent creatures – if not, then here’s your homework to read!
Many sanctuaries and retirement parks still allow guests to bathe, play with and feed elephants. However, recently a few places have decided to stop this as it goes against the animals’ natural instincts to be so close to humans. In reality, elephants should be viewed from afar, and they should be left to enjoy their lives without feeling like they are working to please tourists.
There are just four truly ethical elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai recommended by the World Animal Protection organisation.
Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary
- Tour Duration: 2 days, 1 night
- Pickup Included: Yes
- Age Suitable For: Any
- Need To Take: Hiking shoes, suncream
- Extra Info: Wear modest clothing
- Tour Duration: 6 hours
- Pickup Included: Yes
- Age Suitable For: Any
- Need To Take: Camera
- Extra Info: Only 1.5 hrs from the city
Elephant Nature Park
- Tour Duration: 8 hours
- Pickup Included: Yes
- Age Suitable For: Any
- Need To Take: Camera
- Extra Info: Cat + dog adoption centre too
Having visited all of these sanctuaries ourselves, we can honestly say that they treat their elephants with the utmost respect, dignity and kindness.
You can take watch them splash in the river, learn about their individual stories and meet the wonderful staff who spend every waking minute focused on helping the elephants live their best lives!
Visit The Local Temples
In Thailand, you’ll hear the word ‘wat’ quite often as it means ‘Buddhist temple’, and there are over 300 in Chiang Mai alone.
The main ones I’d recommend going and visiting though are Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chiang Man.
As these are religious sites, you need to follow rules such as covering up your knees and shoulders, taking off your shoes before entering and avoiding touching the statues.
If you’d prefer to get more involved in the temple experience, then try this Buddhist Almsgiving Sunrise Tour where you can beat the crowds for the best views from Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, help with the daily offerings to the monks and enjoy a private Buddhist blessing. You’ll also get to try the classic Khao Soi dish too!
Explore The Nearby Waterfalls
Just outside of Chiang Mai city are plenty of waterfalls that you can enjoy, both independently and with a tour guide.
The famous Sticky Waterfalls lie about 60km north of Chiang Mai and are the most popular for visitors. Combine a tour to the Sticky Waterfalls with a visit to the Doi Suthep temple on a private tour like this.
Take a look at these waterfalls in Chiang Mai too:
- Mae Sa
- Huay Kaew
- Namtok Mae Kampong
- Mork Fa
Enjoy The Walking Markets
Chiang Mai is the home of walking streets! Aside from the small alleyways and street food stalls popping up everywhere, there are some official walking markets that host hundreds of vendors selling everything from sticky mango rice to cashmere scarves!
The most popular is probably the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. It sells traditional clothes, gifts and crafts, but has a lot of modern stalls as well (DVDs, toys and clothing). Don’t forget about these cool markets too though:
- Sunday Tha Phae Walking Street – street food, souvenirs + artwork
- Saturday Night Walking Street – local art, jewellery + snacks
- Sunday Night Market – crafts, souvenirs and Thai food
- Chiang Mai Gate Market – opens at 4:30am so go for a local breakfast!
Eat Amazing Thai Food!
Try the Khao Soy (coconut milk-based soup served with soft noodles in the bowl and crunchy ones on top) – it’s a northern Thai speciality!
There are stalls everywhere serving green curry, spring rolls, fried noodles, Pad Thai, smoothies, mango sticky rice – and if you’re craving something different, there are plenty of other cuisines too. We even got a from a street food stand one night!
Read More: Try A Thai Cooking Class For Yourself
Chiang Mai is foodie heaven – and if you’re vegan, you’re coming to the right place. There are so many plant-based options and restaurants there that your only issue will be choosing where to go first!
How To Get To Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is the north of Thailand’s largest city, so there are lots of transport options. Thailand is surprisingly big though, so be prepared for at least half a day of travel from most other places in the country.
Here are the most common ways of getting to the Rose of the North!
This is usually the quickest way to get to Chiang Mai, especially if you’re coming from somewhere like Bangkok or even further south. There are a few direct flights from different cities, so you’ll easily be able to book a seat.
It takes around an hour to fly from Bangkok, and prices can start from as low as 850THB.
If you’re not already in Thailand, then you can fly directly to Chiang Mai as it is an international airport. It’s only around 10 minutes or so from the Old City, so download Grab and book a taxi to your Chiang Mai boutique hotel once you’ve landed.
Taking the train is a great way to get to Chiang Mai. You have the option of a normal seat or a sleeper – I personally would recommend taking the overnight sleeper train for the experience!
The shortest trip takes around 10.5 hours (but some are much longer so check before booking if you’ve got plans for the morning!). Grab a 1st or 2nd class sleeper berth and enjoy the slow chugging through the countryside.
There might be a restaurant car on the train (this depends on the train you get) but I would also bring snacks – things like instant pot noodles, crackers, fruit and plenty of water.
For a unique local travel experience, take the bus to Chiang Mai! It takes around 10 hours and costs between 500 and 700THB.
The buses are actually coaches, with comfortable seats, air-conditioning and toilets. They’re not designed for sleeping though, so it wouldn’t be my first choice as the journey is long.
However, if you do decide to travel to Chiang Mai by bus, then definitely buy your tickets in advance here.
It’s actually relatively easy to drive in Thailand (minus the crazy city traffic of course!). You can hire a car or scooter cheaply from lots of rental shops, but do be careful with these.
Make sure you have an international driving licence, it is illegal to drive without one and they’re easy to get (but do this before you travel). A lot of car/scooter rental shops will still hire out their vehicles even if you don’t have an international licence, but they won’t take responsibility for you if you’re caught by the police. Ok, the fine you get if you’re stopped by the police is minimal, but you will not be insured if something happens.
I know a lot of foreigners ignore driving laws abroad because they think that they won’t get caught and won’t crash. It’s not worth it – get a licence, get insured and drive safely!
Don’t forget that Thailand drives on the left!
You can also hire a driver to take you all the way from Bangkok to Chiang Mai if you want to the flexibility of a car but don’t want to drive yourself.
This is obviously only if you’re already on one of Thailand’s gorgeous islands! You won’t be able to avoid using at least one of the other options above as well, but you’re going to have to plan ahead if you need to get a boat first.
Find the best ferry option for you with the form below, and book your tickets in advance so that you’re not stuck on an island without a hotel room!
Frequently Asked Questions About Boutique Hotels In Chiang Mai
When is the best time to visit these Chiang Mai boutique hotels?
Visit Chiang Mai between November and early February. You’ll experience the best weather, and you’ll miss the ‘smoky season’ which usually begins in March.
What is the best honeymoon boutique hotel in Chiang Mai?
If you are visiting Chiang Mai on your honeymoon, then definitely stay at 137 Pillars House. It offers a luxury that you might not be able to justify on many other occasions!
What is the best boutique hotel in Chiang Mai for a family?
If you’ve got young kids but still want to stay in a nice place, I would recommend booking a family suite at My Chiang Mai Boutique Lodge.