A stay in 137 Pillars House, Chiang Mai is never just a stay.
It is an experience, and not just any experience. It is a memorable experience, a pampered episode, its charm and comfort lingering in memory long after departing from this beautiful award-winning resort.
Beyond the white walls, stepping into 137 Pillars House is like entering a homestead in the 1880’s era. Its 30 luxurious suites are within the colonial-style teak traditional Lanna homes spread over the sprawling property with perfect lawns and lush greenery everywhere.
A sense of peace and serenity envelopes the resort; ancient tropical trees spread their broad comforting branches across balconies and rooftops while exotic orchids and birds-of-paradise splash their vivid colours beneath the trees.
The huge signature ivy-clad wall at one side of the property is truly breath-taking. Flanking all the way down to the infinity swimming pool and adjacent to the smooth green lawn, the majestic ivy wall stands tall and imposing. On a cool day, it would be bliss to laze around on the draped outdoor love-seats.
It’s hard not to fall in love with this place. 137 Pillars House is built on a rich history. Located in the Wat Gate area of Chiang Mai, the property is close to the Ping River and adjacent to the Wat Gate Khar Rham Temple & Museum. Former house owner, Jack Bain founded the said museum.
Architectural historians and conservationists took great care to reinforce the integrity of the original 1889 structures of this gorgeous resort. The immaculate landscape and well-lit stone walkways are maintained with great pride by the staff – I could not spot a single stray leaf on the grounds in the few days that I was there! It rained intermittently throughout the days during my stay here and each time the rain stopped, I could see the staff busy cleaning and mopping the outdoor facilities whole-heartedly. I was truly impressed by their commitment and dedication to this grand homestead.
When the sun begins to set, 137 Pillars House takes on a magical, almost-ethereal appearance…
I stayed in a Rajah Brooke Suite and was absolutely enthralled by its understated elegance and old-world charm. I had the green-themed suite (some are blue-themed) and the soothing hues were an immediate balm to my tired self (I had flown in on a super-early flight that morning!) when I walked into the lovely airy vintage-style suite.
Beyond the king bedroom was a vast walk-in closet and the ensuite bathroom was like something out of a glamorous interior-decor magazine. The free-standing white Victorian bath juxtaposed against stunning vintage tiles was conversation-stopping. The dual wash basins, indoor and outdoor garden showers add on to the list of superlatives.
When I sank into the deep comfy bed with its smooth cottony bedlinen, I really didn’t want to get up. For lazing around and resting tired muscles, it was tough choosing between this heavenly bed and the cosy spacious daybed in the veranda. In the cool evenings, it was bliss lounging in the veranda, looking over the tropical gardens, listening to the night symphony, doing nothing at all.
The Rajah Brooke Suites are actually the smallest (at more than 70sq m) and if you think (like I do) how gorgeous they already are, the other 3 types of larger suites are even more splendid. There are the East Borneo Suites (75sq m), William Bain Terrace Suites (100sq m) and the ultimate Louise Leonowens Pool Suites (135sq m). While they all have their own individual decor themes, the signature nostalgic ambience remains all-enveloping.
Our balcony – I loved chilling out here on the super-comfy day bed
While guests may feel they are living in the era of the 1880s, the suites are all equipped with state-of-the-art amenities like Posturepedic Premier Ultra Plush mattresses, multiple choices of pillows, personal in-room music system with iPod connectivity, high-speed wifi, 32” flatscreen HD LCD TV with satellite/cable channels, DVD player with complimentary extensive DVD selections, personal espresso coffee machine (which I never even got to use, just no time!) and books on Thai history, arts, culture, local flora and fauna. See, there’s really plenty to keep you occupied even if you don’t step out of your suite!
The view from our Rajah Brooke Suite
And if you do step out of your room, there’s the well-equipped gym, swimming pool and yoga sessions on the lawn to keep you well and healthy.
As for me, I headed to The Spa for some pampering. The quaint white building next to the reception houses The Spa. I had a relaxing and rejuvenating pampering body scrub and massage by their ever-smiling therapists. From the foot-wash to the invigorating body scrub using a traditional Thai herbal paste to the firm kneading of the massage, I felt the 90-minute session passed by way too quickly!
Choose your massage oils
I’ll be sharing our dining experiences in 137 Pillars House in a separate post – look out for it.
137 Pillars House is located in a lush tropical residential enclave within walking distance to the River Ping riverside restaurants and bars and about 10-15 minutes’ walk to the Night Bazaar. Access-wise, it’s 20 minutes’ drive from the Chiang Mai International Airport and 10 minutes away from the Chiang Mai Railway Station.
Popular attractions nearby are the Wat Gate Khar Rham Temple and Museum, Huai Kaeo Falls, Royal Winter Palace and Doi Pui Tribal Village.
137 Pillars House is a member of “Small Luxury Hotels of the World” which groups together 520 smaller hotels across 80 countries – these are like the “Wish List of Special Places”. If you are choosy about staying in more personal type of luxurious boutique hotels where top-notch service and quality is unquestionable, check out the special gems in www.slh.com
Needless to say, 137 Pillars House has now entrenched itself firmly in my heart and I certainly hope to revisit it in the near future. Its charm and beauty are just irresistible.
137 PILLARS HOUSE
2 soi 1 Nawatgate Road
*Photos without the PureGlutton watermarks are compliments of 137 Pillars House.