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Mandarin Oriental to manage luxury new resort in Chiang Mai

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 16 February 2004

Mandarin Oriental today announced that it will manage a luxurious hideaway resort that is under development in Chiang Mai, the cultural and historical heart of Northern Thailand. Designed to appeal to internationally sophisticated travellers in search of innovative ways to restore balance in their lives, the retreat will provide a holistic approach to the rejuvenation of body, mind and spirit. At the same time, it will offer a series of authentic culinary, educational and adventurous experiences on site and in the surrounding region. The resort is due to open at the end of 2004.

Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai is spread over 52 acres of serene, natural landscapes, incorporating picturesque rice paddies, tropical hardwoods and exotic plantations. The resort's design draws heavily from the architectural and cultural influences of the historic Lanna Kingdom that influenced the region for 300 years from the end of the 13th century. Featuring 142 villas and over-sized suites, this secluded retreat will provide some of the largest and most exclusive resort accommodation in the world. Offering the ultimate in privacy, each villa and suite has been locally handcrafted in keeping with traditional Lanna architecture and will feature extensive museum-quality artefacts and antiques. Spacious open terraces, some of which feature private plunge pools, exquisitely designed interiors and seamless technology will further enhance the guest experience and contribute to an overall atmosphere of luxury and serenity. 

Two large, natural swimming pools have been landscaped into the spacious and tranquil grounds. Formal gardens and expansive lawns blend into a background of ancient, towering trees and colourful tropical flora. Nestled into the grounds is a traditional Lanna temple, featuring extensive hand carvings and religious artefacts. Visitors will be presented with a wide choice of contemporary and traditional dining experiences with four separate restaurants and lounge bars. 

These include Le Grand Lanna which is a specialty Thai restaurant set into a cluster of reconstructed teak Lanna buildings, each one replicating a unique component of Lanna history and decorated with authentic antiques and handicrafts from the region. A cooking school, following on the successes of the Thai Cooking School at The Oriental, Bangkok, will provide further education and entertainment, as will performances in the resorts own amphitheatre.

The spa, at over 3,100 square metres, is a destination in itself, and has been modelled on the ancient palaces of Mandalay in Myanmar. A group of gilded buildings, housing specialist spa rooms and private treatment suites, are dominated by the seven tiered spa lobby which rises majestically above the resort and provides a serene environment for guests to relax, rejuvenate and re-energise.

A well-equipped health club, providing space for private and group tuition in popular and alternative forms of fitness and well-being, is complemented by two outdoor tennis courts and two air-conditioned squash courts. A traditional set of buildings have also been created to house a variety of interesting boutiques selling a wide selection of local handicrafts and materials.

A traditional Lanna building, incorporated into the site but exclusively separate from the resort, houses a grand ballroom equipped with state of the art technology, which can accommodate up to 600 people. This is complemented by a variety of smaller facilities ideal for conferences, banquets, meetings and private entertainment.

The overall development is located just ten minutes drive from Chiang Mai International Airport and the city centre of Chiang Mai. Visitors are therefore in close proximity to the myriad cultural experiences on offer in this diverse region. Handicraft centres, national parkland within mountain ranges, hillside tribes and traditional Buddhist temples are just some of the many attractions available.

Complementing the resort facilities will be Mandarin Oriental's acclaimed levels of gracious service and in particular, the 130-year old legendary Oriental hotel in Bangkok will bring their operational expertise and knowledge of Thai hospitality to this exclusive destination. Mr Patrick-Denis Finet, who has been appointed General Manager of the resort, has a wide variety of luxury resort experience in Europe, Indian Ocean and the Caribbean.

"This hideaway, with its serene and tranquil setting, will provide an exhilarating and authentic cultural experience. With Mandarin Oriental's award-winning levels of service, exotic accommodation, innovative dining and holistic spa and wellness, Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi is set to become an internationally recognised oasis offering an enriching experience. It will also be the perfect retreat from which to explore the region's rich heritage," said Edouard Ettedgui, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental.

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