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Pulling up through the gate to the Swiss-Lanna Lodge in Chiang Mai, we parked our bike and had just started to take off our helmets when we heard, from somewhere through the doorway of the dark wood house, “Sawadee Kah!” (hello in Thai). When we first saw Miss Toto, our host, she smiled and welcomed us warmly. Actually, every time we saw Miss Toto she was smiling and making us feel welcome and invited.
She quickly ushered us through the doorway where we set down our bags and were seated on their patio outside for some iced Thai tea that had been freshly made and was wonderfully refreshing. It was nice to take a minute and relax, unburdened by the weight of our backpacks. Miss Toto took some time to tell us about their breakfast menu for the following day, and waited until we were done before showing us around the property. We noticed that they made a point of putting a welcome to their guests on the chalkboard by the patio dining area. It made us feel special and it was a nice welcoming touch.
The Property – Traditional Lanna and Chiang Mai Style
Walking around with Miss Toto we learned that the Swiss-Lanna Lodge, which opened in November 2013, has a total of 7 rooms decorated and furnished with Chiang Mai handcrafts and hand carvings. The house itself is traditional Lanna style and, while over 80 years old, is immaculately clean and organized.
We were shown the three rooms that were vacant at the time. All three were on the upper level and had a shared toilet and shower. The upstairs also connected at a common area where people were able to sit and socialize if they wanted and the common area opened onto a rooftop patio with lounging mats and a meditation area. Peaceful and serene the dark wood and beautiful decorations made the whole space stylish yet warm and traditional.
The first two rooms we saw were the Buddha’s room and the Artistic room. Two of the four standard rooms, both have two single beds and are decorated with the same type of handcrafted and handmade decorations and artwork as the rest of the property. The Buddha room keeps the theme of it’s name and showcases Buddha-image artwork. The third room we were shown was the Elephant room, with one queen-sized bed and, of course, elephant inspired artwork. These three rooms share a toilet and shower down the hallway and are an affordable choice for two travelers or a couple looking for something unique with a rustic, but comfortable, style.
The remaining standard room, the Lanna room, has it’s own washroom and air-conditioning unit with a bunk bed and has easy access to the upstairs common room and patio.
We stayed in the Deluxe Pasha room, very much for couples, but the two other deluxe rooms offer options for those who are travelling alone or as a family. The Deluxe Majestic Tree room is more for single travelers with its single bed and the Deluxe Lotus room for families, as it has one king and one single. Both offer a private terrace, washroom and air-conditioning.
We especially liked the fact that there were common areas where guests could mingle or relax if they wanted and the patio by the kitchen was a great place to sit and enjoy a hot or cold beverage while reading or doing work. The front reception is also super helpful if you have any questions about the area or about any tours and will help in arranging them for you.
Our Room – A Thai Sanctuary
For years Carolann has been on the hunt for a hotel swan towel. Every photo you see, resort or hotel, shows a perfectly created swan towel perched on the bed. It seemed as though swan towels were just some piece of fiction only found in promotional photos…until Swiss-Lanna Lodge. Opening up the doors to our room we saw them. Two large white towel swans with a beautiful flower in between. You can see for yourself in the photo, but Carolann was more than ecstatic to have finally found her swan towels. It was one amazing start to one great stay.
The Deluxe Pasha Room where we stayed was beautifully decorated, clean and fully equipped with everything we could need. A minibar, snack bar, safe, closet, robes, mosquito lamp, air conditioning and satellite flat-screen T.V. Stepping outside to our own terrace and lawn, we could access a private Jacuzzi and washroom “under the stars” which, although it was intimidating at first to do one’s business outside, we got accustomed to it quickly since the bamboo fence provided more than sufficient privacy. The shower was also outside by the toilet and was hot with amazing pressure.
The first of our two nights there, we honestly didn’t want to leave the room. It was way too nice and relaxing. We could’ve been anywhere in the world in this sanctuary of ours. We did end up going out the first night, sleeping in the next morning because the bed was so comfortable, and ended up missing our chance to order breakfast as it ends at 11am.
The Kitchen – Delicious and Homemade
That first morning, we slept in and stayed in our room enjoying the amenities for so long that we missed breakfast. The kitchen opens from 8-11am to serve a reasonably priced selection of breakfast items, homemade by Madame Lose, one of the ladies who help make the place feel like a home away from home, and Miss Toto. They had freshly made croissants when we got there and although we had just eaten and didn’t end up buying one, they looked and smelled amazing.
We did end up having some breakfast the second morning and our meals were a great start to the day. We weren’t aware of it during our stay but talking to Miss Toto on our last day we learned that guests will sometimes purchase groceries at the local markets or stores and bring them to the kitchen where Madame Lose and Miss Toto are more than happy to cook with them and show them how to make Thai dishes. If we are ever back in Chiang Mai we will definitely be heading over to the Swiss-Lanna Lodge and taking them up on this great opportunity.
The Patios – Open and Inviting
Like we had mentioned the patios and common areas gave the space an open feel and were an especially great idea for those guests wanting to be social as well as those wanting a peaceful place to relax, meditate, read or work. We thought it was great that there were several areas to use for different purposes and it really made use of the entire property.
Our own private lawn and terrace was wonderful. We sat on the terrace for a bit, drinking our iced coffee and tea we bought from the front and enjoyed the moment away from everything. The hotel’s tagline is “A quiet and peaceful place of quality” and that is exactly what is achieved throughout all of Swiss-Lanna Lodge, but we especially felt it while sitting on our terrace and again while out on the patio enjoying breakfast.
The Location – Decent and Accessible
Swiss-Lanna Lodge is in a fairly decent location. It would be most beneficial to have your own mode of transportation, but they rent out bicycles and motorbikes if you don’t already have one. It is not too far from the Night Bazaar and there are several restaurants and a 7/11 within walking distance. We would recommend making use of a motorbike rental, either from Swiss-Lanna Lodge, or elsewhere in order to really explore the area and have the freedom to come and go as you please. The Lodge itself is tucked away in a quiet and fairly residential area. It was in a different part of town than we had stayed so we loved the fact that we could see a new area and try new restaurants.
The Service – All the Comforts of Home
In talking to Miss Toto, who owns the Swiss-Lanna Lodge, she said that her and the staff strive to make it feel like a home, like a family, and that they always strive to make their patrons feel welcomed and happy and do better for them. Swiss & Lanna, she said, are both known for good service and cleanliness, always trying to improve upon what is already there and that is the inspiration for the Swiss-Lanna Lodge. You can tell that they take this to heart. Always smiling and helpful, the staff go out of their way to make you feel at home. It’s obvious that cleanliness is of utmost importance and keeping it that way seems to be a constant endeavor. Not only do they help with tours and finding your way around the city, they also offer bicycle and motorbike rentals as well as laundry service.
Whether you are eating their homemade breakfast or cooking meals with them, relaxing on their patio or rooftop deck, or renting a bike to tour around the city, the Swiss-Lanna Lodge offers all the comforts of home and the staff goes out of their way to make you feel like that’s exactly where you are.
Heading to Chiang Mai? Find your own peaceful oasis in Swiss-Lanna Lodge!
Wat Ket, Mueang Chiang Mai District
Chiang Mai, Thailand