In Chiang Mai, where beautiful scenery and awe-inspiring views are often steeped in tradition, IHG Hotels & Resorts has unveiled a hotel that interprets Thai heritage for the 21st century.

Standing at the site of the former Imperial Mae Ping, the 240-room InterContinental Chiang Mai The Mae Ping was designed by PIA Interior. The firm took inspiration from the Lanna Kingdom, the former state in northern Thailand that included Chiang Mai.

At the main entrance of the new hotel is a rammed-earth wall, reminiscent of clay walls in the old kingdom. Continuing through the driveway, one is greeted by bold deep reds and oranges, meant as a reference to the Vieng Gate, the first wall built around Chiang Mai.

The lobby, lobby lounge and the club lounge form the hotel’s “core”. With its 8-metre-high ceilings, the lobby is undoubtedly grand, giving guests an inkling of what to expect during their stay. Teak furniture fills the space, an ode to Chiang Mai’s bustling teak industry. 

Meanwhile, the lobby lounge, which overlooks the pool, is illuminated by massive lanterns, in a reference to the Yi Peng festival.

Throughout the hotel, warm browns and tans are offset by sleek whites, for a homely and cosy — yet modern — space. Greens and blues help add a pop of colour, while maintaining a soothing, serene atmosphere. Wood and stone add a touch of natural texture.

Light is a key feature of the hotel’s design, with large windows and skylights found in many common spaces. At night, those same windows and skylights turn the hotel into a warm, intimate locale.

Guest rooms face either the Doi Suthep mountain or the charming streets of the old town. They also feature Lanna-inspired crafts: think lacquering, wood carving, plastering and metal beating. Each piece of unique art, including the 600-year-old stupa on the lawn, was sourced locally by PIA.

Over at the Planet Trekkers kids’ club, elephants are the centre of attention, in an homage to the Lanna Kingdom’s strong association with the animal. (There’s even an observation tower shaped like an elephant!) Other locations in the hotel include a grand ballroom, event spaces, swimming pool, fitness centre and spa — there’s no shortage of amenities, for sure.

The InterContinental Chiang Mai The Mae Ping is a masterclass in updating tradition for today. Its roots in the Lanna tradition are clear, and its tributes to Chiang Mai heritage are evident throughout, even as it continues to focus on providing modern luxury accommodation.


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