Rooms with a view are just the beginning
Thailand’s Chiang Rai province is blessed with some beautiful verdant mountain ranges, but to really appreciate them nothing beats a few days spent high on one of these hills in a lofty luxury getaway, where the air is clean and the breezes and bountiful. One such elevated escape is the Katiliya Mountain Resort & Spa, located a bit less than an hour’s drive directly north from Chiang Rai city.
The sprawling property, which is located in the district of Mae Chan, offers guests plenty of choice, with 90 luxury suites in total. The 90 sq.m Mountain Suite, the 100 sq.m Katiliya Suite, and the one- or two-bedroom 100 sq.m Superior Suites all come with king-sized beds, full amenities, and rustic stone balconies with spectacular views. I found myself checked into room 101—purely by coincidence—and was treated to glorious unobstructed sunrise views from my balcony which overlooked the nearby mountains and the tea fields in the distance. The added bonus of this exposure was that the balcony was cool and shaded by mid-afternoon, perfect for enjoying the cool mountain air.
Inside, my room was spacious to a fault, boasting a four-poster bed, daybed recliner big enough for two, flatscreen TV, writing desk, mini-fridge, a luxurious bathroom with sunken bathtub and a choice of indoor or outdoor shower, and plenty of other treats besides (including Wi-Fi). However, for a more traditional feel the resort also offers rooms in their Baan Thai, which is comprised of six unique 120 sq.m rooms that have been crafted with elements of Thai, Mandalay, and Yunnan architecture.
Overall, the property very much incorporates itself into the surrounding nature. Take a walk around the grounds and it’s hard not to be enchanted by the abundance of birds trilling away happily in the many treetops. And come May and June the area is overflowing with hundreds and hundreds of butterflies (I was too early by a few weeks). Another way to enjoy the outdoors is by taking in a dip in the main outdoor swimming pool and/or tanning on one of the pool’s many cushioned lounge chairs. There’s also a small kiddie pool on the property, as well as a separate heated Jacuzzi step pool—which comes in handy when the weather cools down in December and January.
The cool weather months are often the busiest at Katiliya, when the outside temperatures can get down to as low as 8°C in the evening. During these icy interludes roaring fires are lit in the gargantuan stone fireplace of the main lobby, located directly beside the aptly named Fireplace Bar (which is a nice relaxing spot even on temperate evenings). But no matter what time of year, the view of the surrounding forest-covered hills from the west-facing Terrance Restaurant are stunning, especially at sunset. This is the resort’s primary F&B outlet, and as such it serves up both a generous breakfast buffet, and offers an extensive lunch and dinner menu, including authentic Italian and Mediterranean dishes, plenty of tasty pizzas, and Northern Thai specialties such as Khao Soy Gai (yellow coconut curry with egg noodles, chicken, and pickled cabbage), and the veggie-friendly Tom Kha Pak Ruam Jay (mixed vegetable is a coconut spicy cream soup).
Apart from eating, sleeping, sunning, and swimming, other diversions here include a fitness room, a small library and computer room, and a relaxing spa where guests can enjoy a variety of massages, body scrubs, and facials in the comfort of sun-drenched private treatment rooms—each with their own private terrace overlooking the twin lakes. And keep in mind that Katiliya’s location makes it the perfect base from which to go on day trips to see some of the Golden Triangle’s most popular attractions.
Katiliya Mountain Resort & Spa
388/1, Moo 4 Tambol Pha Sang, Mae Chan
Tel: 05 360 3000 | www.katiliya.com
There are plenty of amazing destinations in the Golden Triangle (see pg. 55) but the Katiliya Mountain Resort is particularly well-situated to visiting the nearby Choui Fong Tea Plantation, which is a mere 6 km away and open daily from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Visitors to this over 1,000 rai property in the mountains can see first-hand how tea is grown and cultivated. Watch as workers hand-pick the leaves from the neat rows of tea trees that cascade down the hillside slopes, and afterwards be sure to make a stop at the café and shop where you can sample teas and treats and marvel at the stunning scenic vistas.
A newer attraction worth checking out is the Doi Tung Tree Top Walk, in which explorers can experience a 300-meter long walkway—suspended 30 meters above the ground—which winds its way through the canopy of trees at the Mae Fah Luang Garden. The price for both adults and children is just B150 per person.