Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city and is best known for its numerous magnificent temples, lush tropical countryside and fiery northern Thai cuisine. It represents a slower paced and more rustic alternative to the bright lights of Bangkok and is a wonderful honeymoon destination for anyone looking for a taste of Eastern culture.
In the heart of the Chaing Mai’s old town, an area over flowing with spectacular Buddhist temples, you will find Tamarind Village which is an ideally located romantic haven from which to explore this amazing and exciting city.
The Tamarind Village was one of the first boutique hotels in Chiang Mai to be designed with Chiang Mai’s rich traditional northern Thai architecture in mind. The hotel, really a complex of smaller, individually styled cloisters arranged around a series of small courtyards and gardens, features elegant exposed dark timber beams, whitewashed walls and clay tiled roofs and is really quite beautiful. The tropical grounds are meticulously maintained and the paths that wind between them are lit-up at night by scores of candles. The centerpiece of the complex is a majestic 200 year old tamarind tree which towers over the central courtyard and was the inspiration for the hotel’s name.
Tamarind Village boasts 42 spacious guestrooms and 3 stylish suites. The room’s interior design reflects the ethnic diversity of northern Thailand with fabrics and patterns drawn from the various tribes of the region and many have verandas overlooking the luscious gardens.
Within the grounds you will also find the Tamarind Village spa which has a selection of signature and traditional treatments ranging from facial, body and head massages to herbal wraps and hot stone treatments. During our stay we experienced the Tamarind Village Signature massage, a 90 minute treatment which combines invigorating massage with the application of heated herbal pouches to the body – a perfect treatment after a long and uncomfortable flight. We also experienced the 90 minute aromatic elemental massage, which makes use of natural aromatic oils in order to bring the body back into a state of natural equilibrium. Both treatments were divine and expertly carried out leaving us with a pleasant sense of calm and wellbeing for the rest of the day.
The poolside restaurant features a top quality menu of mouth-watering northern Thai cuisine and every meal eaten there was delicious and beautifully presented. The unusual but excellent crisp fried chrysanthemum leaves topped with white prawn is well worth investigating as is the traditional Chiang Mai pork sausage, a real treat not to be missed. The romantic setting of the candle-lit pool coupled with an unobtrusive live jazz duo makes for a perfect evening.
Tamarind Village also offer their guests the opportunity to take part in many cultural activities. During our stay we were fortunate enough be escorted by a Tamarind Village representative on a trip to the adjacent temple Wat U Mong, to bring an offering of food for the monks (a Thai tradition). After making our offering we were invited inside the monastery, a part of many temples which is normally out of bounds to lay-people, to see a unique Buddha statue whose facial expressions changed depending on the lighting. We were also able to sit in on a ‘sermon’ from the abbot. Our escort explained to us the basic principles of Buddhism and gave us an insight into the monk’s way of life and their relationship with the people. As the only westerners at the temple, we felt very privileged to have received this insight into Thai culture.
All in all, our experience at Tamarind Village was wonderful. The staff were incredibly courteous and helpful, the surroundings were beautiful and serene and the complex was ideally located as a base from which we could explore all the sights of this culture-rich city.
For information on rates and to find out more about Tamarind Village you can visit their website www.tamarindvillage.com