One of the more common questions we get asked a lot is why we travel? We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our text books will accommodate. One of our latest excursions to Chiangmai had us noting the differences between North Thailand and South Thailand. Yes, we have been to Bangkok, Hatyai, Pattaya and Phuket but Chiangmai is vastly different from those cities in terms of the the pace of life, food and culture.
One of our greatest Chiangmai experiences was 137 Pillars House – a luxurious 30-suite hotel established around a colonial teak home built in the early 1880’s. It is just a stone’s throw away from Chiangmai old city, but the hotel’s surrounding is peaceful and serene. We also enjoyed walking to the riverside restaurants and bars for drinks and live bands as the hotel is located near to the east bank of Ping River.
137 Pillars House is full of history and character. Everyday we learnt something new about the hotel; from the stories of Anna and King Rama V (Anna’s son used to live here) and from the exhibition space preserving the historic artifacts found onsite.
Louis Leonowens, a British merchant who worked for the East Borneo Company was best known for being the son of Anna. He built the teak house which served as residence of the company’s manager until 1927 though it remained part of the company’s headquarters until World War II.
In the post WWII years, the company returned to North Thailand but sold its Chiang Mai headquarters to William Bain, a Scotsman educated at Harrow. William married a local Mon girl, and together they raised a family of two daughters and two sons. Son Jack followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the company and raising his own family on these ground.
In 2002 when Bangkok born Panida Wongphanlert came on her own holiday to Chiang Mai and fell in love with the house known to locals as Baan Dam, or “black house.”. She has decided to share this slice of Thai history with the world.
Hence the teak house supported by 137 pillars now stands as the hotel’s lounge and bar. The 30 guest rooms are spread throughout newly built two-storey colonial-style bungalows scattered around the premise.
Our short stay here was nothing but perfect. A bright and well appointed lobby greeted us along with the courteous and knowledgeable staff. I was especially impressed with the wall and ceiling made of traditional chests of drawers, and kampungboy was very appreciative of the well laid out design.
We love the attention to details around the property – vintage ceramic tiles, old school fan, traditional ceiling fan and turquoise ceramic stool.
Standing in large grounds of trees and greenery; the hotel area is gorgeous. Every corner provides great photo opportunities.
The pool albeit being small; is absotulely beautiful against a backdrop of green walls adorned by 20,000 potted plants.
The Teak House is also the “heart” of the resort. It houses a lavish Parlour lounge for high teas, Jack Bain’s bar which serves as a library and a games room, Wine Cellar and the Palette restaurant. Underneath the house is a small but well equipped gym and an exhibition space preserving the historic artifacts found onsite.
We love spending our time at the Jack Bain’s Bar. While KampungBoy and Ivy got fully engrossed in a chess match, I spent time flipping through some of the interesting books they have here.
From time to time, the Palette restaurant will showcase works and art pieces of talented Thai artists.
The Parlour Lounge is a favourite hang out place of the young, hip crowd of Chiangmai.
Apart from doing a beautiful afternoon tea here, it is also a great place for cocktails especially when the talented pianist is playing in the evenings.
The Dining Room being the hotel’s main restaurant is beautiful – we absolutely adore those hanging turquoise lanterns, oriental lattices and organza drapes.
We love having our daily breakfast at the elegant al fresco dining area, set against a backdrop of singing cicadas.
The buffet breakfast selection really good with lots of gourmet choices.
The one page ala-carte menu features Western, Chinese and Thai selection.
Dinner at the Dining Room was an exciting affair. The contemporary Thai menu showcases a few interesting Thai dishes with a twist – green mango salad with grilled mapled salmon, galangal soup in coconut milk and truffle oil, karubuta (Japanese black pig) in red curry sauce and wok fried chayote tip with grilled oriji mushroom. Dinner was so good that we polished them off quickly!
We were staying at the Rajah Brooke Suite for three nights. It is the “smallest” suite in 137 Pillars House with “only” 70 square meters.
pic from slh.com
I love the vintage tiled flooring of the shower room. Apart from the beautiful victorian bath tub; there are separate indoor and outdoor garden showers.
luxurious puripunn toiletries with lovely jasmine scents
From top left: charming elephant prints, comfortable room sandals, book introducing the stories of 137 Pillars House and beautiful leather key holder box, bedtime stories left on our pillow.
We appreciated the attention to detail including the daily turn down treats, fresh fruits delivery, Jim Thompson’s thai silk cushion cover, authentic Thai furnitures and iPod loaded with relaxing music. We also love the Egyption cotton bed linen – I like the feeling of smooth legs when I brush them against the fresh linens. There were also Nespresso coffee and complimentary mini bar, which was refilled during our stay.137 Pillars House.
Staying at 137 Pillars House make our first visit to Chiangmai remarkable. SLH (small luxury hotel) is always a sure bet for us and 137 Pillars House being an exclusive selection of SLH worldwide, exceeded our expectations in almost every department. We vowed to return here for its charming architecture, attentive and friendly services, spacious suites with GREAT attention to details.
137 Pillars House
2 Soi 1, Nawatgate Road,
Ph: +66 (0)53 247788
Fx: +66 (0)53 247780
Disclaimer: Hotel accommodation was sponsored by 137 Pillars House without any forms of monetary benefits. Bloggers paid for own air fare, meals, transportation and every other related expenses of the trip.