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If you're traveling to Chiang Mai and want to stay in the historic center, look no further than these top hotels and guesthouses. These five properties, in every price range, are the best the city has to offer and are all located inside the old moat, making the perfect choice to base yourself for exploring.
Tamarind Village is the best Chiang Mai hotel for those who want to enjoy the rustic beauty of the city without missing out on the pampering Thailand is known for. The compound is just a few minutes from the busy Tha Pae Gate area but is walled off from the rest of the city, so visitors feel like they are in an oasis of quiet and calm. Rooms are spacious and full of local design details, without forgoing all the modern amenities you’d expect in a luxury hotel. The on-site spa, restaurant, and swimming pool make this one of the only full-service resorts inside the moat and the most charming.
Pak Chiang Mai
This small upscale Chiang Mai guesthouse embodies everything that’s great about the capital of the north—comfort, style, friendliness and a relaxed atmosphere. Rooms are simply designed but elegant and comfortable. The on-site restaurant and small spa get consistently high marks. There is friendly service, complimentary and organic breakfast and Wi-Fi top off the experience.
3 Sis Bed & Breakfast
Just minutes on foot from some of the city’s most important temples is this gem of a hotel, probably one of the best guesthouses in Chiang Mai. The property, run by three sisters from the region, has recently expanded, so you get your choice of the less expensive rooms in the back wing or the gorgeous new rooms in the front. Either way, you’re getting a great value. The lobby area is airy and elegant and there are plenty of places to relax and plan your adventures. They offer free Wi-Fi and breakfast at their café, which is stocked with produce from the family farm. And the Sunday market is just around the corner.
Julie Guest House
Though Julie Guest House is about as cheap as you can get in central Chiang Mai hotel, it offers more than the typical backpacker guesthouse or hostel. Rooms and bathrooms are very simple but always clean and comfortable, and the rooftop and other common areas have space for lounging and talking to other travelers. Julie’s doesn’t offer air conditioning but you won’t miss it too much anyway during the cool season. This guesthouse is very popular so book well in advance and expect lots of backpackers when you arrive.
Just around the corner from the Pan Tao temple is this small, personal hotel. Rooms are clean, bright and simply furnished but have little extras such as in-room refrigerators and televisions. There’s plenty of space to relax and enjoy a cup of local Northern Thai coffee at the adjacent restaurant.