(the Regent Chiang Mai is now called the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai)

You will have to excuse the average guest at the Regent Chiang Mai for thinking that they have died and gone to heaven, but that is the distinct impression that this resort leaves on its visitors. Even a hard-core cynic would be hard-pressed to find many things wrong with this wonderful resort. It is the perfect clinic for those ailing from the Bangkok blues. Located just seventeen kilometers north of Chiang Mai, in the Mai Rim Valley is easy to get to, and extremely hard to pull yourself away from.  
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As you check into this fabulous resort you are immediately taken aback by the magical view that meets your eyes. From the lobby foyer you look out onto the rice fields of the complex onto the mist-covered hills of the Mae Rim Valley.  
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Located just twenty-five minutes north of the city of Chiang Mai the resort features seventy lavishly appointed Pavilion Suites and Residences set in twenty acres of extensively landscaped gardens, featuring two small lakes, lily ponds, and working terraced terraced rice paddies. The resort's architecture pays tribute to Chiang Mai's 700-year-old ethnic, artistic and cultural heritage.

Rice paddies were created as a feature of the resort and reflect the agricultural roots of the region. They are harvested three times a year - 120 days from seed to harvest. The yield is approximately 600kg per rai or 2,700 kg per acre. The rice grown at the resort is of the Suphanburi 90 variety and is donated to charitable organizations upon harvest. The rice is stored in rice barns located at the lower corners of the rice terraces. They are holy places where Mae Phosop the Thai rice spirit lives until it is time for the next sowing or harvest.

The resort has also has a family of water buffaloes roaming the compound. Mud, the mother, who is pregnant again, Sand the father, and young Clay, who was born on 1 May, 1995. They are taken on a tour of the resort every day around 10AM and 4PM when they are not helping farmers prepare the rice fields for planting and harvest.

One of the reasons for the great success of this resort is the tireless work of its effervescent public relations manager, Lee Sutton. A Kiwi by birth, Lee is just coming off a one-year hitch at the Equatorial Hotel in Vietnam. Before that she was the PR Manager of the Burswood Resort Hotel & Casino in Perth, Australia for four years, and she also worked at the Hamilton Island Resort in Australia. Lee doesn't seem to rest and her energy is contagious. The secret to being a good PR person Lee says, "is to try and keep everyone happy while trying to be happy yourself." Lee indeed makes every guest feel like a somebody - even though many of them already are.    

Commenting on her position Lee says, "It is more of a lifestyle than a job. I have always been close to the water and the beach so I didn't know how I would react to it at first, but I absolutely love it. The Thai people are very special, and the staff here are like my family. They are very gentle, and they make you feel humble because they are so patient, and so serene.

Nicknamed "Cyclone" Lee is a veritable whirling dervish on legs. She never stops, whether it be greeting guests, entertaining them, or seeing them off, and she truly cares about them as well.

"I love my job," she says, "the Four Seasons-Regent is a wonderful company, the epitome of class in the hotel business, and they continually provide a high standard of excellence. It is really a privilege for me to be living and working here."

With the acquisition of the Regent International Hotels by Four Season Hotels and Resorts in 1992, the parent company was renamed Four Seasons*Regent Hotels and Resorts. The group became the largest operator of luxury properties in the world with thirty-seven hotels in sixteen countries under the names of the Four Seasons and Regent. In addition to the Regent Resort Chiang Mai, Regent International Hotels operate luxury hotels or resorts in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taipei, Sydney and Beverly Hills (Los Angeles).

The Group has three more properties set to open in 1996 with hotels in Istanbul and Berlin and a resort in Hualalai at historic Ka'upulehu (Khan Coast, Hawaii). In 1997 two resorts are scheduled for opening in Bali at Sayan (Indonesia) and Aviara (Carlsbad) California.       

Commenting on the resort's location Lee says, "Chiang Mai has always been known as a backpackers destination, but our resort has increased the average hotel rate, and in order for us to promote the resort we have to promote the destination as well.

"There are so many things to see and do in and around the resort - whether it be bamboo rafting, visiting handicraft centers, trekking to hilltribe villages and ancient temples, exploring the ten-tier Mae-Sa Falls located in the Doi Suthep/Doi Pui National Park, seeing the Mae Sa Elephant Camp, or dropping into the nearby Lanna House - a great place to purchase antiques."

Lee says, "Most of our guests only come for one or two days, but when they learn of all the things they can see and do here they say, `Why didn't you tell me there was so much to do.' We are trying to increase the average stay to four or five nights, but you could easily spend ten days here without getting bored. We are a highly personal resort, and we try to cater to our guests' individual whims and needs. We want to entertain them and give them a comfort zone."

Ms Sutton has an interesting way of approaching problems as she tells us, "One, learn to live with them. Two, change them. Or, three, walk away from them. Complaining is not an option."

The Regent Resort Chiang Mai was designed by one of Thailand's foremost architects, Professor (Ajarn) Chulathat Kitibutr, who is a specialist in preserving traditional "Lanna" northern Thai architecture. As a devout conservationalist his association with the resort enhanced its recognition as a leading example of the movement towards establishing eco-friendly tourism in Thailand.
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The Regent Resort Chiang Mai is the perfect destination for small conferences and executive board meetings, and a great place to play golf. The "Meetings that Swing" package start from US$80.00 (Bt2,000) per person and daily.

For golfers wanting a home-away-from-home, The Residences at the Regent are the perfect venue. With an option of two, three and four bedroom suites with rooftop penthouse or private plunge pool, the Residences are ideal for two-four golfers traveling together. Four magnificent golf courses are located within close proximity to the resort, three with eighteen hole courses, and one with twenty-seven.

The Chiang Mai Green Valley Country Club, the Royal Chiang Mai Golf Club, the Lanna Sports Center, and the Chiang Mai Lamphun Golf Club all have international facilities; the latter was selected as the site for the official golf venue of the 1995 SEA Games.
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The resort is an oasis for romance and relaxation with a tropical outdoor pool, herbal steam rooms, jacuzzi and traditional massage treatments. For the more active, a fully equipped gymnasium and flood lit tennis courts, complete with an on-site tennis professional are available.
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Each suite comprises over 750 feet, with a separate dressing room, spacious sitting room and bedroom, as well as an outdoor sala.

Each room is also equipped with its own toaster so that room service can warm your bread, and give you real toast while you eat your breakfast in the luxury of your own private suite. The closets are also air-conditioned so that when you change your clothes they feel clean and fresh.      

For those wanting the absolute ultimate in luxury with their own private plunge pool, or rooftop penthouse, the Residences at the Regent are also available for a totally unforgettable indulgence.  
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The Residences at the Regent Chiang Mai are comprised of twenty-four luxury units in ten villas. The residences themselves come in three different styles: Garden Terrace, Mountain View, and Penthouse in three or four-storey villas.  

ImageEvery detail has been carefully considered. Interiors feature the classic wood craftsmanship of the North, with polished and waxed floors, spiral staircases, gabled buttresses styled from ancient temples, and ornate latticework that creates a soft-shadowed ambiance at sunset. These details are augmented by such modern conveniences as large, open kitchens and custom-designed terrazzo baths.

Together with specially illuminated alcoves, decorative frescoes, and beautifully finished bar and dining areas, it all comes together as the ultimate lifestyle in a unique Northern Thai setting.    

The Regent Resort Chiang Mai has purchased most of its handicrafts, artwork, furniture and amenities from local artists and suppliers in the community. For example, caledon crockery made locally in Chiang Mai is used in the Sala Mae Rim Restaurant and In-Pavilion Dining. All silver and bronzeware used is designed and hand-made by Thai artists.  

The resort's investment in, and support of, the local community is highlighted in the use of local cottens, silks and Sa paper products (a hand-made, non-chemical paper used for menus, stationary and press kits). Hand-woven, naturally-dyed cottons are used for the cushions of most of the chairs, blinds, bedspreads, and uniforms.

Uniforms worn by the 210 staff are employed by the Regent Resort Chiang Mai, including the gardeners and farmers who tend the rice paddy fields and look after the water buffalo, are all made locally and reflect the culture and fabrics common to the Chiang Mai region of northern Thailand. Ninety percent of the staff come from the Chiang Mai area and many of these come from Mae Rim.       

The Regent Chiang Mai opened in April 1995, and has been awarded a number of prestigious accolades including being named 1995 Winner, Australia/Asia `Hideaway of the Year' by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report USA, `Best New Resort of 1995 by Gallivanter Guide, and in `The Top 10 Resorts with Everything' by Tatler Cunard Travel Guide.

Celeb watching? Well, rumor has it Princess Caroline and Yanni have paid visits, and that Richard Gere and Thailand's most prominent family may show up. But then again, hang around Lee Sutton for any length of time and you will feel important too.

Wonderful, exquisite, exotic - no superlative can do this resort justice. Neither can a brochure, pamphlet, or video. The resort must be experienced firsthand, and in doing so you will gain a lifelong memory by staying at one of the finest resorts on the face of the earth.

Contact Info:
Address: Mae Rim-Samoeng Old Rd, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, 50180  
Tel: (66 53) 298 181
Fax: (66 53) 298 189

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