Stay Comfortable: Le Meridien Chiang Rai

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This is part of the Trip Report So Long Mongolia, Hello SE Asia (December-January 2015) which covers:

Catch up by reading the preview, The Banana Pancake Trail to Myanmar Starts This Monday, then the overview, Thailand, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Disney, Home, where the game time decision was made to leave Mongolia for good.


Getting There: From the bus station, hire a tuk-tuk for $4. To get to the airport, pay no more than $8 for a taxi. The airport is close by so don’t leave the hotel earlier than necessary.


I tried to leave the Prison of Posh for local life but ended up being overcharged and underwhelmed. After one night at Nak Nakara, I made the executive decision to move to Le Meridien Chiang Rai. The cost of the room during the December peak season is $140 for the standard room or 4000 SPG points. I went with points which was a good value since I value SPG points at 3 cents/point. To make this determination, I use the standard room price as the test for whether to use cash or points even if I know I will be upgraded to a suite. Unless I’m somewhere like the Maldives , I’m not going to pay extra for a nicer room so that amount shouldn’t be included in the computation.

Check-In 

The check-in was quick and smooth. As a platinum member I had been upgraded and would receive complimentary breakfast and happy hour.

The lobby decorated for Christmas
The lobby decorated for Christmas
The Lobby
The Lobby

The Hotel

After bouncing around from Mongolia to Bangkok to almost missing the train because of the Myanmar visa, it was nice to unwind at a proper hotel. Though prices for food and drink are outrageous compared to those in town, it was the last thing on my mind. Instead, I sat back and enjoyed the view of the pool and hotel grounds.

The hotel grounds
The hotel grounds
The hotel grounds
The hotel grounds
The hotel grounds
The Coffee Bar
The hotel grounds
The Shop for no bargains
The hotel grounds
The hotel grounds
Santa's Crib
Santa’s Crib
R&R spot
R&R spot
The hotel grounds
The hotel grounds
The hotel grounds
The hotel grounds
Looks like a golf course
Looks like a golf course
DSC_0240 (Copy)
The hotel grounds

The Pool 

Tranquil pool
Tranquil pool
Pool at night
Pool at night

The Room 

What a room for 4000 points. Nice bed, great bathtub, lovely shower, and a spacious balcony that overlooked the pool.

View of the pool
View of the pool
The balcony
The balcony
The coffee (no espresso)
The coffee (no espresso)
Bathroom
Bathroom
The bathtub
The bathtub
Looks out to the room
Looks out to the room
The bed
The bed
Where no work gets done
Where no work gets done
Where no work gets done
Where no work gets done
The Grand Deluxe Wing
The Grand Deluxe Wing

The Happy Hour 

I showed up promptly for the start of Happy Hour which featured frozen drinks, beer, and wine. Snacks were also included. The trick to happy hour is to stop drinking immediately when it ends, lest you cut into your profits by ordering a $7 beer that costs $.65 on the street.

The sun says it's time for happy hour
The sun says it’s time for happy hour
The tradition
The tradition
Platinum perks
Platinum perks
These aren't nonsense chicken fingers
These aren’t nonsense chicken fingers

The Location 

Le Méridien is a bit far from town. I recommend leaving the resort and hailing a tuk-tuk or hopping on the back of a motorbike. Though taxis aren’t that expensive in comparison, I can’t rationalize giving away my baht without good reason.

Le Méridien Chiang Rai is unquestionably worth booking because of the perks described above. It’s undervalued at 4000 points making it the best bargain I received in Thailand even with my stellar haggling skills.

<==Back to Nak Nakara HotelOnto Guns & Butter: Chiang Rai Travel Guide==>

 

 

10 COMMENTS

  1. In your last sentence you stay the hotel is “undervalued” at 4,000 SPG points. Redemptions are based on projected average room rate for the next year. So, I like to think properties are pretty much fairly valued. You might feel you received good “bang for your buck” using 4,000 points…but, I don’t think the property is undervalued.

  2. My wife & I stayed here for 5 nights in Feb. 2014 , and I used points & cash . I am Gold SPG & they upgraded me to a suite with 2 bathrooms, separate living room & free Bkfst. I hired a car to go to White Temple, The Queens Summer Palace, Golden triangle , & we went to Myanmar for a few hours. I paid $60 for a driver, English speaking guide, and an AC car. I would gladly return! I think you are a little cheap not to give back to the community. A cab is nothing!
    And it supports the people. Thailand is so reasonable that you are way too cheap!

    • you’re one of those self impressed do-gooder tourist tourist’s who confuses not overpaying with being cheap. having lived in Thailand and SE Asia i can tell you this: they are happy you are foolish with your money, but they don’t respect you. Thai’s don’t overpay (regular Thai’s, not the rich status seekers in BKK), and, behind their smiles, they’re ridiculing you in Thai to anyone who wants to hear about the dumb farang. just fyi…

    • @abby. Yes!!! Best comment ever. In my book I write about negotiating in shanghai and how people ask me, ‘how do you know if you got a good deal?’

      Answer: if the merchant smiles and shakes your hand, you got ripped off. If he throws the box at you and calls you a bad man, you’ve done a good job.

      Keep your comments coming. They are appropriately critical.

  3. Things were going so well with your positive review of the hotel then it goes negative.

    I’m supporting the tuk tuk driver. Thank you.

  4. you’re on point in most comments but you sound like the dumb tourist above when you start saying it’s too cheap at 4k points/night. not that your blog has the power, but it’s in nobody’s interest to point out bargains on the redemption chart as ‘too good’- agree?!? the jump to cat 3 is too big (most cat 3’s are not good value and really the jump should be to 6k not 75% to 7k- dontcha think?). at a cat 3, this hotel would, predictably, be a poor value. the aloft bkk was a great value at cat 1, but became blah as a cat 2 given the better and MUCH better located 4 points is also a 2. only good for hotel hopping for status now (which i do).

    • @abby.I agree with you. Undervalued probably should be written as perfectly priced. I wouldn’t do it for 6k or 7k with a smile on my face opting to return to the hostel life.

      I was comparing it to W hotels that try to charge 10k + $180 for mediocrity. Even if my blog doesn’t have the power to influence the price your point is well-taken.

    • Oh and how dare you speak ill of aloft bkk. I’ll tell you of my ‘trick’ to get it priced appropriately over DM lol.

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