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Monday, August 05, 2013

Chiang Mai: Pillars of Tranquility

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The former royal city of Chiang Mai in Thailand’s mountainous north, rises above the noise from the rowdy south. Roderick Eime escapes the rabble.

“Everything in Siam has its own time”

So said the bold Anna Leonowens to King Mongkut in that famous piece of semi-fiction, “Anna and the King”

And if that time was now, the former Kingdom of Siam has indeed come into its own.

While the southern territories abound in hedonistic pleasures, attracting record tourist numbers, the north retains the charm and beauty that so enthralled the 19th century royal governess. With her precocious son, Louis, the two lived in the King of Siam’s court for six years from 1862. Anna left, never to return, while Louis returned 15 years later to begin an enterprise in the burgeoning teak trade.

He returned to the former seat of the royal family, Chiang Mai, and built a magnificent manor in the traditional Thai style. That residence has now been restored and forms the centrepiece of the superb new boutique resort, 137 Pillars House.

So called because of the number of teak pillars on which the house was built, the immaculately renovated structure now hosts the restaurant, bar and lounge of the property and transports guests back to a time of colonial opulence.

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Further points to consider any story:
  • Chiang Mai supports a busy adventure/adrenalin tourism sector with animal parks, off-road tours, cultural villages and bungee/ziplines.
  • Chiang Mai is applying to UNESCO for ‘Creative City’ status along with cities such as Melbourne, Berlin and Buenos Aires.
  • Chiang Mai is the only tourist destination in Thailand to have made it into the 2012 TripAdvisor list of "25 Best Destinations in the World".
  • 137 Pillars House has been included in the 2013 HOT LIST of the Best New Hotels in the World by Conde Nast Publications.
  • 137 Pillars House featured in Travelite Spring 2013 Destination Hot List
  • 137 Pillars House is a member of the SLH group and is managed by SilverNeedle Hospitality.

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