DOWN TO EARTH OPULENCE
KNOWN AS THE GATEWAY TO THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE – WHERE THE MOUNTAINOUS BORDERS OF MYANMAR, VIETNAM, LAOS AND THAILAND CONVERGE – CHIANG RAI ENJOYS A PRESTIGIOUS PAST AS THE ORIGINAL CAPITAL OF THE LANNA KINGDOM.
Located directly along the meandering Mae Kok River, Le Meridien Chiang Rai shares an expansive garden setting with two majestic 100-year-old rain trees. Legend has it that the rain trees were once a man and woman deeply in love. Torn by family and class, they were never allowed to marry. Today, the resort’s luxury suites seemingly stand in between them, but the staff is eager to share the story about how during the construction of the property four years ago, the lovebirds’ intertwining roots were discovered.
Following in the lore’s romantic footsteps, Le Meridien’s Parvati Spa is an oasis of riverside calm, perfect as a reprieve from the bustling street markets of Bangkok or before heading north for a bit of adventure. Tucked discreetly away from the social hub of Le Meridien’s endless, three tiered swimming pool, and adjacent to Favola, the resort’s decadent, fine dining Italian restaurant, Parvati’s spa treatments and décor are inspired by northern Thailand’s famous scenery: lush mountain forests, crystal clear streams, verdant rice paddies and jungle hillsides.
Upon entering Parvati’s open-air spa lobby – a cultivated masterpiece of minimalist luxury, a glass of iced ginger tea and a chilled face towel appear before you, gracing the surface of a suspended wooden table. Knowing that the children are deposited safely in the Penguin Club, and the hubby is catching up on the news in the Library, a cozy sanctuary for everything literary, it is time to take a deep breath, and relax mind, body and spirit for the next two hours.
Parvati’s expert team of Thai therapists is skillfully trained to provide the very best in holistic care. From the environmentally sensitive design of its interior and exterior spaces to the sophisticated blends of natural products – handpicked from the spa’s very own herbal garden and carefully blended into all of its spa products – every second spent here is geared toward providing the utmost benefit to guests in need of a little me time.
As you are led into the inviting treatment room – graciously appointed with stylish furnishings and complemented by the tranquil sounds of flowing water – your graceful therapist gives you ample time to undress and slip into one of the resort’s signature bathrobes. A distinctive feature of the sensuous Thai spa experience, your two-hour treatment begins with a sumptuous 15-minute footbath ritual. The next hour and half is a blur, as your skin is scrubbed to perfection from head to toe, and you doze in and out of semi-conscious bliss. Your eyes open to impeccably soft lighting and the angelic therapist who stands at your side, hands clasped in a warm-hearted thank you.
What’s next? The children are enjoying their painting activity, and the Mister is now detoxing in his own way – atop a treadmill in Le Meridien’s modern fitness center. Why fix what isn’t broken? Although dinner isn’t scheduled until 7pm, there isn’t any harm to slipping into Favola’s intimate six-table dining room, where a few more minutes of bliss can be found accompanied by the Chef’s signature panna cotta.