From an unforgettable arrival by long-tail boat along the Ruak River to the hotel’s dreamy jungle setting, the Four Seasons Tented Camp ticks all the boxes for nature-loving aesthetes looking to indulge in far-flung seclusion and adventure.
Located at the northernmost edge of Thailand, on a hillside among a thick bamboo forest with a scenic tableau of Myanmar and Laos, the camp’s seclusion, along with the activities surrounding its rehabilitated elephants, is its main draw. For those looking to experience the surrounding area, there are off-site excursions such as day visits over the border to Myanmar or tailor-made Chiang Rai city tours.
Style & character
A luxury tented camp conceived around a 19th-century safari-adventure theme, with handcrafted leather furnishings, hardwood floors, mosquito nettings and hurricane lamps. A vintage military jeep, used to ferry guests around the property, completes the old school romance of the hotel.
Service & facilities
With just 51 guests at full capacity, and only one restaurant and bar, service is personal, intimate and understated with staff members going out of their way to remember individual preferences. There is no fitness centre, but with outdoor activities like early-morning hikes up to the Camp Peak, where yoga or meditation sessions are also offered, a treadmill certainly won’t be missed. Muscles wearied after a morning spent interacting with the elephants and their mahouts can be soothed at the lofty spa, a dramatic open-air cantilevered treatment room, surrounded by the tropical jungle and the sound of birdsong.
- Room service
The 15 air-conditioned tents are generously spread along a half-mile (1km) stretch of land, each with a charming walkway that leads off the main path. Inside, there are king-sized or twin beds, a standalone hand-hammered bathtub in the living room, and a separate toilet and outdoor shower. There is no television, but, if you can get past the bother of zipping and unzipping the portal, a sizable outdoor viewing deck (some with private wooden hot tubs) with views of Myanmar and the mountains of Laos is an agreeable substitute, especially when paired with a cocktail made from the fully stocked and complimentary minibar.
For larger groups, there is the Explorer’s Lodge, a six-sleeper retreat, located at the far end of the camp, where the two en-suite bedrooms flank a cantilevered pool that dramatically juts out into the lush jungle.
Food & drink
Watch the sun set over the jungle with a cocktail at Burma Bar, before making your way to Nong Yao Restaurant, an open-air thatched roof pavilion, where breakfast is also served the next morning. Here, there are two daily changing set menus each evening – one with western cuisine and the other showcasing the best of the region with Thai, Burmese and Laotian specialties. There is also a daily wine and cheese-tasting session and private dining experiences including picnics and a candlelit dinner in the elephant camp can also be arranged.
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