The River Art Hotel in Chiang Mai

Pre-review disclosure: we knew of the owners of this delightful hotel, via some official, work stuff in Bangkok.

Knew of them, as opposed to know them.

We’d never met, never even spoken on the phone.

All we knew is that they ran a hotel in Chiang Mai.

So when we decided to visit the city (after a gap of 35 years, but that’s another story altogether) we chose the River Art Hotel simply because of this tenuous connection.

And also because it looked so quirky from the photos online.

What a fun hotel it is.

We stayed 3 nights in the River Art Hotel & had an absolutely wonderful time.

The hotel is located a short distance outside town, an easy rickshaw ride, and has an unbeatable location, with a garden going down to the Ping river.

It is peaceful, quiet, there are birds everywhere, meaning breakfast in the garden is a delight.



The hotel is beyond stylish.

It is fun, it is colourful, and every corner has a different piece of modern, pop art.

This lovely fella greets you in the lobby
An atrium-styled lobby

There is quirky pop art at every turn, much of it making you laugh out loud – like the crocs peeping out from plants in the garden, and one placed cheekily by the pool.

The pool is small but just what you need after a day’s sightseeing.

We stayed in a garden room, with a fab view, a balcony, rocking chairs…what more can you ask?

Stylish way to store the in-room tea and coffee

The hotel only serves breakfast, so we explored the local restaurants down the road, walking to dinner every night.

One of the delicious breakfast choices

The staff of the River Art Hotel could not have been nicer, advising, explaining, and were super helpful.

The hotel is non-smoking, other than in the garden.

It is also dog-friendly, and the owners’ dog exemplifies this attitude, happily following us back to our room for a quick cuddle.

Would we stay here again, on a subsequent visit to Chiang Mai?

100% yes.

We paid our own way, and no-one at the hotel knew that I blogged and write reviews.

Address: 96 Wang Sing Kam Rd, Patan, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand

Phone: +66 80 071 2946

For a quick reply about a booking, you can contact them via their Facebook page.

EATHAI

There are food courts in malls the world over.

And then there’s Eathai in Bangkok’s Central Embassy Mall.

Eathai is in a class of its own, and deservedly so.

Amazing food, amazing variety of cuisines, and all served with elegance and – important in a food court where there are lots of office workers – efficiency and speed.

As tourists, we had all the time in the world, but for office workers, quick, efficient service has to be key, and Eathai  delivers.

Whatever one thinks off food courts, they work for a couple like us: hubby highly allergic to any form of fish and shellfish + I don’t eat any kind of meat, but do eat fish + he loathes chillies (AND he’s Indian :P) and I crave ‘em.

Plus, and this one is on us, we don’t speak or read a word of Thai.

Eathai showcases Thai cuisine from all over the country, at separate food and cooking stations and – one thing I really appreciated – detailed explanations in English on the menu boards (above).

The system is very easy to use.  On entering the vast Eathai, in the basement of the mall, you are given a credit card which you use to buy your food.  And you settle at the cashier’s on the way out.  So no issues there.Since the food court is, as I said, vast, you never feel crowded.

Tables have lots of room between them, and the staff even deliver dishes that require more cooking time to your table.

  

I had scallops and garlic – it might not look anything special from the photo, below, but it was pure heaven.

Trust me.

Heaven.

Eating at Eathai is definitely more expensive than eating at a street food vendor, but for the location, the air conditioning, access to loos, service – it can’t be beaten.  This is a food court like no other.

We paid our own way (Baht 525 for 2 of us) and no-one in the mall knew that I blog or write reviews.

Another Hound Café in Bangkok

In Bangkok last week, our family had the usual issues of finding a mutually acceptable restaurant for our complicated dietary set-up.  Namely:

1 carnivore who is highly allergic to any seafood.  Even a hint provokes rapid & very bad reactions

+

1 carnivore who will eat some shellfish but is still a tad worried about allergies

+

1 vegetarian

+

1 pescatarian

Another Hound Café, located in the plush Siam Paragon Mall, came up trumps.

Billing itself as Italian with an Asian twist, the café is stylish and quirky, with excellent service.  We all ate well, and we all had interesting, different, not your usual run-of-the-mill food.

Plus they have the coolest “chandeliers” ever.

Super stylish bread basket, too:

The café’s justifiably popular oyster platter starter (below) was divine.

4 huge oysters served with very interesting dipping sauces, a bowl of fried shallots and cha-om tips (climbing wattle).

A vegetarian version of the cold Japanese salad (below) was declared a resounding success:

Everyone was happy with their food, and we all tasted as many of the dishes as our complicated dietary requirements permitted.

Below is a simple-sounding spinach tagliatelle dish was excellent.

Good food.  Polite efficient service.

We paid our own way, and I didn’t tell the staff that I blog and review.

Personally recommended.