Traditional Thai medicine, eclectic world cuisine, and a good location for sightseeing , make Dusit D2 Chiang Mai a smart choice.
by Laurence Civil
As I stepped out of the baggage hall of Chiang Mai International Airport, a hotel representative dressed smartly in an open-collar white shirt, orange suspenders, black trousers, and sneakers stepped forward to greet me with a positive attitude. Within minutes he had me and my baggage into the shuttle bus for the 15-minute transfer to the hotel.
On arrival at 131-room boutique Dusit D2 Chiang Mai (→100 Chang Klan Rd, Chiang Mai; 053 99 9999; www.dusitd2chiangmai.dusit.com), as I was staying in a studio suite, I was accord Club privileges, including private check-in and check-out while seated in the comfort of the Club Lounge on 7th floor. The check-in paperwork was minimal, requiring only a photocopy of my passport and my signature on the registration card. The process was seamless, and was completed almost before I realized what was happening. I was then escorted to my suite on the 6th floor.
My lodging was spacious: a total of 64 square meters. On the left was a walk-in closet which connected through a sliding door to the bathroom. The main part of the room was a living area which could if needed be converted into a single bedroom or be a lounge area with a writing desk and a sofa area to relax in. A full-length sliding door separated the bedroom from these areas. The decor was warm and comfortable, featuring light wood and orange. The clever design of the studio suite meant that I could entertain in the living area and guests could have access to the bathroom, with the bedroom remaining totally private.
For a city stay, the location is perfect. Set back some 70 meters from the famous Chang Klan Road, the hotel is a two-minute walk from the bustling night bazaar, restaurants, and Tapae gateway home to the ancient temples. I could feel the heartbeat of the city.
To give a sense of perspective of where the brand sits within the Dusit Thani group, Dusit Thani Hotels are the matriarch, offering a traditional and slightly formal Thai style of hospitality; the Princess offers a style that’s more like staying with a favorite aunt, slightly less formal. Dusit D2 is the youthful next generation—the values of hospitality remain unchanged, butt they are delivered in a way that is appropriate for their generation of travelers. Unashamedly, their color scheme is the ever-present vibrant orange to convey a a chic contemporary vibe, with a refreshing sense of playfulness. D2 is a resort brand whose distinctive combination of cutting-edge design, high-tech connectivity, and efficient, modern convenience reflects the needs and desires of today’s new generation of traveler.
Executive Chef Chalong Sakkapalangkul prepared a special tasting menu for me at Moxie, the hotel’s signature restaurant, to demonstrate its eclectic selection of world cuisines. His appetizer selection started with a twist on the traditional papaya salad by adding soft shell crab; vermicelli noodle salad with lightly grilled tuna and a Vietnam-influenced rice paper rolls filled with diced shrimp. His cream of mushroom soup with white truffle foam had a silky light texture and deliciously smooth taste. He drew on the local Chiang Mai sausage or “sai ua” made with minced pork herbs, spices and red Thai chili paste as the base for his spaghetti. His baked fish curry served with cherry tomato salad was deliciously light. Another Japanese influence was seen in his salmon teriyaki served with garlic rice. There was an American South inspiration in his BBQ pork ribs with mashed sweet potato.
For dessert, he presented the classic Thai dessert of mango with sticky rice and raspberry ice cream. I ate around the world in a single meal.
A spa treatment is an essential element of a relaxing stay. So I made my way the Devarana, the Dusit Thani spa brand, the name comes from the Sanskrit word that means “Garden in Heaven.” The Spa offers an atmosphere of ultimate relaxation in its own heavenly garden. The emphasis is on pampering and wellness, East meets West. Thai health and beauty practices that have been sourced from age-old therapies are updated with modern knowledge to pamper and rejuvenate guests.
I tried their signature “Harmony of Tad Si-the Traditional Thai Medicine,” lasting two hours. It’s an ancient Thai therapy based on the Buddhist teaching that the human body is composed of Tad Si, or four elements of earth, water, wind, and fire. Traditional Thai medicine also believes that diseases are caused by two main factors: first, an imbalance of the four elements in the body, and second that the mind is governed by “ego,” and ego leads to unhealthy emotions of attachment, aggression, and obscuration that can disturb the body’s harmony.
The Harmony of Tad Si combines a Thai herbal compress dipped in aromatic oil tailored to each guest’s body element, with Thai massage, incorporating pressure point and stretching techniques to relax muscles, relieve soreness, promote circulation, and stimulate the nerve meridians of the body.
A heavenly stay with the next generation. Dusit Thani.