It has been 15 years since I last visited Chiang Mai. The place has changed. There are so many choices when it comes to book a hotel based on price, location, hotel ammenities and nearby attractions. After spending many hours researching the hotels and getting my bearing on Chiang Mai (google map), I have decided to book a hotel outside the old city. An obvious choice since I have already been to the old city the last time.
I was looking for a quiet part of town within walking distance to the markets. It has to be small and private with a personal touch and friendly, warm service. A place where my partner and I can relax without the noise and pollution of the city and most importantly a place where we could feel like our own little getaway home.
After reading the many positive feedback on Puripunn by the other hotel guests, I have ended choosing Puripunn and booked 3 nights for me and my partner. It is a small boutique hotel. It is not cheap in comparison to the other boutique hotels and some larger hotels. But Puripunn has an "introduction package deal" that seems inviting enough for me to splash the little bit extra for the extra luxe. Any regret? No. It is beyond my expectation.
On arrival at the airport, we were greeted by 2 of the hotel staff with a pickup service. Friendly and welcoming. It took 20 minutes to get to the hotel. It meanders through a very narrow laneway in a residential area off a main road. On reaching the property, we were awed by the grandeur of the entrance fronted by two traditional Thai style stone statue of a symbolic peacock. It was day time when we arrived. As we entered the main gate towards the reception, we were surprised at how beautiful this place is. We were completely swept over our feet with the vista of this hotel ground filled with different plants and flowers. Birds chirping and little frogs ribbit. It is a like a little wonderland with beautiful, colourful lanterns hanging off the tree branches.
On check-in, we had an ice cold face towels to wipe our face, neck and hands to cool down from the hot, humid weather. We were offered a welcoming lemongrass tea drink. We were then shown to our room on the top floor overlooking the garden and pool. It was simply beautiful. The room is large and has dark wood furnishing with a high ceiling fan and opens out to a balcony with a bench filled with cushions. The mattress is firm and furnished with soft cotton linens. The bathroom is Thai influenced with a colourful ceramic basin with a bathtub and overhead shower. There was a welcome fruit basket on arrival with a selection of Thai oranges, dragon fruit and banana. We couldn't have asked for more.
The room package comes with a daily breakfast for two, which is mostly continental - a selection of bread, pastries, fruits, muesli, salad, fruit juices and a cooked breakfast - eggs, bacon, ham of your choice, pancakes and waffles. We didn't mind the limited selection comparing to an international buffet breakfast, which one could get at a bigger hotel. Sometime it is about quality, not the quantity. When we ordered the poached eggs and omelette, it wasn't the same as the bigger hotels where the cook will only give you the eggs of your choice. At Puripunn, the cook will take special care to prepare the eggs of your choice, nicely plated the eggs with other condiments and bring to your table. It was visually beautiful like everything else in the hotel.
By nightfall, Puripunn is magical with all the lights. Our big night that was included in the "introduction package" is the traditional Khun Toke dinner set for two, which is a Lanna Thai tradition. We had the restaurant all to ourselves. It is a small restaurant with 2 levels. The ground level has 4 tables. It was a low season during our style, which could partly explained why the hotel is quiet. As we studied the menu, we were shocked to see that many items on the menu, thinking that it is a huge degustation meal of 11 dishes and not sure how we could finish all of the dishes! Fortunately, after we had the first course of a delightful, aromatic spiced chicken and vegetable soup, our waiter explained to us that the Khun Toke comes in a huge platter with small dishes eaten with sticky rice.
The food was amazing and we felt privilege and special to have such a wonderful, traditional Lanna style dinner. Just the two of us and no one else with our very own personal waiter.
We even had a bit of time to enjoy the pool and spa in the day time after we had a long road trip outside of Chiang Mai. Nice to cool down and relax by the pool surrounded by the garden oasis and birds.
Location wise at Puripunn is a distant away from the old city, but not far to walk to the night market, flower market and Warorot market, which is within 15 minutes walk across the other side of Ping river. The stretch of Ping river on the same side of Puripunn is interesting in its own right with restaurants, bars facing the river and nice shops dotted along the road, including a very popular cafe, art and gallery called Woo. It is within 10-15 minutes walk and there is a pedestrian bridge across to the other side of the river at the Warorot Market.
At the time of writing this review, Puripunn is an ideal spot and hotel if you have the budget and looking for something special and quiet, yet within walking distance to the market and the bar and restaurant scenes along the Ping river.
Insight Penang blogs about travel and food, sharing with anyone who enjoys traveling to other destinations, taking photographs, meeting people, experiencing new cultures and traditions, enjoying cooking and trying other cuisines.