Where are you staying?” people would ask.
“The Small Hotel,” I’d reply.
“Yes, but which hotel is that?” they would respond.
“The Small Hotel,” I’d clarify.
I got into this kind of conversation again and again while staying at the The Small Hotel Chiangmai because people thought I was describing the hotel when I was naming it.
Very much a boutique hotel, The Small Hotel only has 35 rooms. Mine came with a queen-sized bed and lots of space, including a private balcony that overlooked the main street. The walls were, fortunately, thick enough to block out traffic noise.
All rooms come with an LCD TV, a DVD player, an MP3 player and — this I loved best — an iPod docking station. Happily, the hotel offers free Wi-Fi (I hate hotels that tell you Wi-Fi is available but then proceed to charge you for it). I also had a pantry equipped with a microwave oven. There was also a safety deposit box for my valuables.
The rain shower in the bathroom was very nice and I had no problems setting the temperature, unlike some showers which veer from lukewarm to scalding hot, and are never just right.
In tune with the arty set-up of the hotel, my room had a red floor and walls with murals — Roman statues, temple scenes, picturesque scenery, etc. This seems to be the trend with boutique hotels in Thailand for I have seen a few in Bangkok too.
The lobby is a shocking pink, but manages to be charming. It even boasts a small bar with interesting cocktails. The other F&B option is the Parsley and Basil Restaurant on the roof. Open only for breakfast, it offers a nice view of the city, looking out to the famed Doi Suthep Temple up in the mountains.
Breakfast is a simple affair here but will satisfy hunger pangs. And if you want to take a dip after your meal, there is a small saltwater plunge pool on the 3rd floor.
What truly gives this hotel an edge, however, is its location — it’s just minutes on foot from the famed Night Bazaar and other more delightful markets like the Warorot, the Flower Market, the Hilltribe Market and the Ton Lamyai Market.
Foodstuff, fresh produce, clothes and accessories are all within walking distance. About 10 minutes away is Tha Pae Gate, part of the ancient fort walls of the city, not to mention Chinatown. The hotel’s central location meant numerous trips to these nearby attractions for me, which in turn meant suffering aches and pains later.
Luckily for me, the hotel arranges great massages and spas. I took advantage of this and ended up at The Oasis Spa (www.oasisspa.net). I was picked up at the hotel for remedial work and then dropped off at the hotel feeling good as new.
The Oasis Spa offers six private rooms set in a garden, Thai chalet style, with a menu of massages and treatments too long to list.
I opted for the two-hour Oasis King Oil Massage. My masseur made sure the pressure applied was just right — strong enough that I felt the effects but not so forceful as to be painful. To his credit, I managed to doze off despite being an insomniac. Imagine my joy when I discovered they had branches in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket.
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The Small Hotel Chiangmai
T148-150, Tha Pae Road
Amphur Muang, Chiangmai
Tel: +6653 235-866-7
Fax: +6653 235-868