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A Room With Three Views at Anantara Resort Golden Triangle
01 Sep 2006
The resort is positioned hugging a hill ridge with views looking down over a jungle canopy to the Mekong River and up to the rolling, green hills of Laos.
All 77 rooms and suites feature large balconies with in-built sofas and space for private dining. Signature terrazzo bathtubs large enough for two people are the central feature of the bathrooms designed in a ‘flow-through' style enabling them to be opened up to or closed off from the bedrooms with sliding fluted-glass doors.
Set in 160 acres of indigenous forest and landscaped gardens, the resort was created by a design team comprising John Lightbody of Abacus Design for the interiors and the award-winning landscape architect Bill Bensley for the gardens.
Lightbody chose locally made arts and crafts that reflect the area's distinctive hill-tribe and Buddhist cultures. He describes the design as ‘a contemporary interpretation of classic Thai' and emphasises that the richly finished teak wood used throughout the resort was reconditioned and that not one single branch of new teak was cut for the project.
One distinctive statement piece is the ‘sat tu pan', a traditional Buddhist screen. Measuring two metres in height and three metres in width to enhance a sense of arrival, the screen is in typical ‘Lanna' (northern Thailand) style with engraved ‘nagas' (serpents) featured on it and brass candleholders along the sides.
Bensley describes the Anantara's gardens as his ‘most colourful yet'. Cascading terraces of annuals, which thrive in the cooler air of northern Thailand, add a riot of colour while scented native trees add an olfactory dimension to the gardens.
Guest facilities include an infinity-edge swimming pool which is surrounded by a multi-tiered pool deck and flowered gardens and set into the hillside behind the resort to capture the views over the Mekong valley below.
A fully equipped gymnasium, indoor squash court and outdoor tennis court provide a wide choice of pursuits for active guests, while those more inclined to relaxation may choose to indulge in an array of pampering treatments at the Anantara Spa. This exclusive facility features a hair and beauty salon and five treatment rooms, each with a herbal steam room and a private alfresco deck with either a muslin-draped soaking tub or Thai massage platform.
In addition to an extensive room service menu the resort also features two restaurants. Sala Mae Nam is an expansive restaurant that seats 100 and serves a mixture of local and regional cuisine as well as a selection of international favourites. Baan Dahlia, the signature restaurant, is an intimate dining experience seating only 30 and features a contemporary setting with rustic Thai accents. It offers authentic Italian cuisine complemented by an extensive wine list.
The resort's social hub is undoubtably the stylish Elephant Bar with an outdoor terrace and a open-fire in both areas - outdoors an open hearth with a fire-pit and indoors a log-fire fireplace beneath a slate chimney breast.
During their stay, guests may choose to broaden their culinary skills by attending the resort's cooking school. The course begins with a morning excursion to the local produce market with a member of the ressort's culinary team who provides the participants with knowledgable culutural insights into the items on display. Back at the resort. Guests are taught the basic techniques of traditional lanna cuisine before sitting down to sample the ‘fruits' of their labour.
An undisputed highlight of a guest's stay would have to be a visit to the elephant camp. Set within the resort's lush bamboo forest, the camp is home to four elephants. The animals are cared for by their local mahouts (drivers) and English-born resident nature-ranger, John Roberts who is also a qualified mahout himself. On an on-going basis, Roberts works closely with the Thai government's Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang (located 600km north of the Thai capital Bangkok) to develop Anantara's camp as an elephant sanctuary.
Roberts is also keen to re-introduce to the area indigenous wildlife and birds which may have died-out in the local eco-system or migrated elsewhere. Guests are able to take guided tours along nature trails and for keen ornithologists the resort's teeming forest and nearby river-banks provide plenty of bird-watching opportunities.
Guests are also offered the rare opportunity to learn to ‘drive' an elephant by choosing to undertake a unique three-day mahout training course. As well as learning the mahout commands and some log rolling skills, guests can take their pachyderm charge bathing, partake in mahout camp life and gain a greater understanding of their three-tonne mount from Roberts.
Anantara Resort Golden Triangle is located 60km north of Chiang Rai's international airport. For enquiries and reservations, please call + 66 (0) 5378 4084 or + 66 (0) 2 477 0760 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit http://www.anantara.com/.
Anantara is taken from an ancient Sanskrit word that means 'borderless water', a name chosen for this element's association in many Asian cultures with wealth and good fortune. Inspired by local architecture and sensitive to the indigenous culture, Anantara Resorts are currently located in the seaside town of Hua Hin (220kms south of Bangkok), on Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand and in the Golden Triangle in the country's north. Anantara Resort Maldives has opened in August 2006.
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Updated September 2006