The Luxe List 2009, Thailand: Le Méridien Chiang Rai Resort, Chiang Rai

The early-2009 debut of this resort marked a new direction for luxury lodgings in Chiang Rai. Inspired by traditional Lanna architecture but given a modern twist, the 159-room hotel sits on the banks of the Mae Kok River. The vibrant jungle greens that you’ll see from your balcony are brought into the rooms: a shimmering emerald mosaic in the shower, chartreuse silk throws on the bed. There’s plenty to keep you busy around the resort, including archery, Thai boxing, and yoga, but where Le Méridien excels is in showcasing local culture—don’t miss the complimentary excursions to the Rai Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park, a garden-cum-museum dedicated to Lanna arts and crafts (221/2 Moo 20 Kwaewai Rd., Tambon Robwieng, Amphur Muang; 66-53/603-333;; doubles from US$370).

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