Wat Gate Hotels
51/4 Moo 1, Chiang Mai-Sankampaeng Rd., Wat Gate
Slightly west of the Ping River is Dhara Dhevi, a hotel and resort we’ve been dreaming about since our first visit to Chiang Mai. A gigantic wellness retreat set on sixty acres of gardens, moats, and rice paddies, Dhara Dhevi prides itself on its elaborately adorned Lanna buildings and holistic spa treatments. You can choose from traditional Ayurvedic, Thai, and Chinese treatments. For a more in-depth wellness experience, there are retreats, which range from three to ten days and focus on whatever's ailing you—stress, back pain, stubborn weight, loss of energy. You'll leave completely revitalized. What also intrigued us here were the cultural workshops: You can take classes in traditional Thai cooking and bamboo weaving that give hands-on insight into the country’s traditions.
137 Pillars House
2 Soi 1, Nawatgate Rd., Wat Gate
137 Pillars House has an old-world aesthetic and total exclusivity. The grounds are centered around an ornate antique teak Lanna-style house (the Lanna kingdom ruled what is now northern Thailand from the thirteenth to eighteenth centuries) that the owners purchased and refurbished in the early 2000s. It’s worth spending several days just on the grounds. Have afternoon high tea in the house; lounge in the spacious, light-filled guest suites; and relax by the pool enclosed by a towering wall covered in tropical plants. The spa is pristinely decorated with oriental antiques. Treatments include facials and traditional Thai massage, but you can also ask the team to customize a wellness itinerary that can include a range of spa treatments, exercise programs, and healthy meals.