Tucked away in the mountains of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, the Panviman Resort and Spa is a paradise for guests that are looking to escape the noise and pollution of Thailand’s big cities. And after spending 10 months traveling through Southeast Asia, Jules and I were in desperate need of some personal care. We had had several friends who stayed at the resort and one after the other they would come down the hill back into town with a restored sense of calm and peaceful energy. We absolutely could not wait for our weekend at what seemed like a magical healing paradise. And I can tell you now that we were not disappointed.
Our luxury spa and resort weekend began with a private shuttle that picked us up from our apartment and drove us the hour or so up the windy hill. We arrived excited, if not a bit car-sick, and stepped into one of the most beautiful hotel lobbies I’ve experienced in all my travels. We had seen beautiful photos of the property before coming, but seeing it in person was truly stunning. Throughout the weekend we became more and more impressed with every well thought out detail of the Panviman Spa Resort, and we’re convinced that it truly is one of the most relaxing resorts in Thailand.
The only “stress” I felt during my stay at the Panviman was my indecisiveness about whether to stay in our gorgeous room or be outside in the incredible resort. The property of the Panviman is simply breathtaking. The Chaing Mai Panviman is perched high up in the mountains and the view looking out over the valley from the dining room is incredible. We spent most of our meals overlooking this gorgeous view, looking out in awe over the serene landscape.
The rest of the resort is equally gorgeous. With a sprawling property, you could seriously spend weeks here without getting bored. Panviman is the perfect resort if you’re looking to rest your mind and rejuvenate your body. The meditation cave and yoga studio are always open to provide yourself some peace and quiet. The well-equipped gym overlooks the gorgeous 2-story pool if you’re looking to get your sweat on before taking a dip. Guests with children will enjoy that the resort has plenty to offer kids (or kids at heart) including mini-golf, giant chess, archery, pool table and ping pong. Or if you’d rather just kick back with a good book there are lounge chairs and gorgeous outdoor beds overlooking their beautiful lake.
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I’ll be honest and say that good food is not hard to come by in Thailand. Chiang Mai especially is brimming with restaurants, street stalls and carts that sell incredible meals for even better prices. Or you can even sign up for your very own Thai cooking class. During our month in Chiang Mai we were spoiled with the tasty choices just on our block, so food wasn’t what we were looking forward to most at the Panviman. That was before we tried their cake. When we first arrived we joined the hotel’s manager, Charles, for coffee and some homemade desserts. I ordered the caramel cake and Jules had the banana fritters. Holy deliciousness. All of the desserts are made in house and they are fantastic. The cake was moist and not overly sweet while the bananas were fried to perfection.
During the rest of our stay we were equally impressed with all of the meals we had. Buffet breakfast in the morning was a lovely mix of traditional Thai breakfast items with Western choices. We opted for beautiful fresh fruit (including local Thai dragon fruit), piping hot omelets made to order and delicious locally made jams with toast.
The adjoining restaurant served huge portions for dinner and we especially enjoyed the Caesar salad and vegetable curry and the complimentary appetizer of fresh cut veggies. Everything tasted healthy and local, not surprising since much of the produces comes from an organic garden within the resort. If you find the food particularly delicious, the resort also offers cooking classes to learn traditional Northern Thai recipes. Yum! And surprisingly, for a big fancy resort, the prices are very very reasonable.
Depending on how long you’re staying at the resort, you may want to bring some snacks up with you. While the restaurant is fantastic, the resort’s location means there aren’t many options for switching it up, grab some snacks before you arrive. We brought cheese and crackers and stopped off at a local strawberry stand on our way up.
“If the Panviman resort is heaven, the masseuses are certified angels.”
As we mentioned, Panviman Spa Resort is tucked away up in the mountains, making it a bit difficult to leave. They have free shuttles down to Chiang Mai and can organized nearby activities, but because the property itself has so much to offer, we recommend savoring every moment you have up in the hillside. The Panviman is a place for relaxing, healing and pampering yourself. And how better to do that than get a spa treatment?
If the Panviman resort is heaven, the masseuses are certified angels. The spa has a selection of treatments but we opted for the 90 minute Aromatherapy Well-being Massage. The treatment started in the spa’s gorgeous lobby where Jules and I had the opportunity to choose our favorite scent. We then met our masseuses who sat us in two reclining chairs overlooking the beautiful lake. Our feet were gently dipped into a wooden bowl filled with warm water and floating flowers. We had a relaxing foot massage before we were taken to our massage room for a 20 minute sauna. After the steam our 90 minute full body massage began. I can tell you honestly, without exaggeration, that this massage was the best of my life. There is an obvious attention to detail as everything from the music, to the decoration, to the bed was perfectly organized for a relaxing treatment.
Anyone who has visited Thailand before knows the Thais are incredibly hospitable. The reputation as “the land of smiles” is well earned. As a five-star establishment, the Panviman takes that hospitality to the next level. From the gracious driver that picked us up from our apartment, to being welcomed with warm tea and a cold towel at reception, we always felt like royalty. Charles, the hotel manager, gave us a lovely tour of the grounds and it was apparent that he is very passionate and proud of his work. The staff were courteous, from the gardeners always greeting us with a “saweedi ka” to the maids fulfilling our requests for more tealight candles to line the jacuzzi. We never felt dismissed or looked down upon because of our age or well-worn clothes. And that’s the way it should be.
The only thing that could pull us away from exploring the incredible property of Panviman Resort was our equally gorgeous room. We stayed in the Jaccuzi Villa. Emphasis on the word villa. Our room was huge. Double the size of an average hotel room and then some. The interior design was beautiful and heavily influenced by traditional Thai architecture. We had a beautiful outdoor deck overlooking the lush countryside, but our favorite part of the room was the private Jacuzzi located on the deck. If anything says romantic weekend, it’s a private Jacuzzi looking out into the Thai jungle.
The Panviman has a selection of rooms for guests on varying budgets. They have more budget friendly options in their main building, with something for everyone. Although a bit smaller than our villa, these rooms are still gorgeously decorated and have their own private balcony. For those that want a bigger splurge there are also bigger villas with private infinity pools, which would be are perfect for families that would like to have multiple bedrooms. What we really appreciate about the Panviman Spa Resort is that they cater to a variety of budgets for any luxury resort goer. And despite your room choice, every guest has access to the stunning grounds and extra amenities around the resort. That’s a massive tick in our books!
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