There are few places in this world that are as special as that Four Seasons Golden Triangle. Take it from me, someone lucky enough to experience many of the world's most magical destinations and luxury hotels, this particular property is the crème de la crème. So, what's it like to check in to the Four Seasons Golden Triangle? After my recent visit, I can tell you what to expect from this luxury holiday in Thailand, overlooking Myanmar and Laos.
If you don't already know the region's secrets, the Golden Triangle is a small pocket where three neighboring countries collide on the Ruak and Mekong rivers. These countries are Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. Three very unique cultures that also share a few things in common, making them very unique places to visit.
Before I visited the Golden Triangle, I didn't know what to expect. I envisioned a jungle-like backdrop with elephants roaming in the distance, with a humid day and an extraordinary sunset. All of this is true and more.
In many ways, this experience feels like Southeast Asia's version of a safari, especially in recent years as this area in Northern Thailand has become a sanctuary for elephants. There are now many elephant sanctuaries in the area, as well as several luxury properties that offer elephant engagements in a respectful and educational way.
There is also a seemingly endless supply of temples to explore and learn about in Chiang Rai, the main township in Thailand's enclave of the Golden Triangle.
Cottage: Check into the Four Seasons Golden Triangle
If you've come all the way into the jungle depths of Northern Thailand, you'll want to stay at least four or five nights to maximize your efforts. And if you choose to stay at the award-winning Four Seasons Golden Triangle, believe me when I say you won't want to leave!
This property has been on my hotel wish list for a while now, having first lusted after pictures of the property in a travel magazine years ago. But with its isolated location far from anything else, it wasn't until I was planning a bigger trip around Thailand that it made sense to visit.
Compared to some of the safari style properties in Africa, the experience at this lodge is not that different. Here you are in the middle of the jungle, far from civilization, but also never far from the luxuries of modern life. An all-inclusive mini bar, for starters, which is replenished daily.
The cottage itself is an oasis. There is a main pool area with multiple pools and daybeds tucked away for privacy for guests. It is also here that you will find the main restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. But if you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere for a sundowner, then you shouldn't miss the opportunity to watch the sunset at the Burma Bar which is located on the other side of the property facing Myanmar.
Inside the Safari Tent
The safari tent is the farthest from the tent. For starters, they feature polished floorboards and a large, luxurious bathtub. And I don't know about you, but to me, sleeping in a tent on camping trips growing up in Australia didn't even look like these luxury canvas tents!
All the essentials are taken care of – including multiple doors and fly screens to prevent woodland creatures from entering the room. There are also canvas windows which allow for sleeping in if you wish, but when the inn offers an elephant breakfast in the restaurant, it's a little hard to want to lie down in bed.
As I mentioned before, the mini bar is stocked with snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks daily. There are even dried lemon wedges for your afternoon gin and tonic, best enjoyed on the large deck in front of your tent.
Within the canvas tent rooms you will find your choice of indoor tub or outdoor shower, both worth enjoying during your stay. And take it from me when I say the rooms are so well equipped you will never want to leave. But those who do will be rewarded with wildlife encounters such as walks with elephants, or a safari-style sundowner in a vintage Land Rover Defender.
Spa in the Four Seasons Golden Triangle
One of the highlights of my stay (though there were many), was a luxurious afternoon at the spa for a pampering 90-minute full-body massage. This is not an old hotel spa. This is an experience in itself. The spa is deep in the forest and takes at least five or ten minutes to walk, meaning you will have complete privacy once you are there. You will be greeted by your therapist and a very large outdoor bathtub, which you can enjoy before or after your treatment. The setting is truly fairy-tale – the wind lazily blowing the trees in the distance, birds chirping, and the addition of gentle fans to keep the humidity in check.
Breakfast with elephants
Another highlight of my visit was the morning ritual of enjoying breakfast with the elephants that call the lodge home. Northern Thailand has become a haven for elephants in Thailand, with many sanctuaries located in Chiang Rai and surrounding villages. And the lodge has made it possible to meet these elephants in a meaningful way, learn about elephant life while feeding them breakfast or watch from afar as you eat yours.
Food and Dining in the Four Seasons Golden Triangle
And of course, the food. Many of you who have followed my adventures over the years will know that food and dining is one of my primary measurements of a hotel. There is so much to be said about encountering foreign cuisines, and I truly believe that on a plate you can experience so many cultures.
Of all the meals we enjoyed during our stay, lunch was my favourite. On a hot day, I feel nothing but a cold and fresh salad. And it never ceases to amaze me how fresh and delicious fresh produce is in Thailand.
Dinner and breakfast are also memorable experiences, with plenty of delicious Thai curries on offer if you fancy something local, or a Western menu if you're feeling nostalgic for home.
Overall, this was a great experience and will definitely go down in World of Wanderlust history as one of my favorite hotels in the world. This is certainly my pick of the best hotels in Thailand, so be sure to add it to your travel list!
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