Review: Panviman Chiang Mai Resort
****Disclaimer: Karianne and I received a complimentary stay and massage at the following paradise in exchange for an honest review****
Karianne and I typically stay in small hotels or guesthouses that go by various names: guesthouses, inns, hostels, homestays. So when we booked two nights at the Panviman Chiang Mai Resort, we looked forward to it for several months. A villa tucked away in the mountains with our own jacuzzi pool sounded better and better with each day that passed.
The resort has a shuttle bus that you can take from Chiang Mai to the property. A little less than an hour later we arrived to meet Charlie, the general manager (more on him later). We were shown to our “Villa with a spa bath” which is currently listed on Booking.com for $175. This is their mid-range option, with cheaper deluxe rooms listed at under $100 a night.
The Panviman boasts enough amenities to justify never leaving the property, should you be recovering from exhausting sightseeing days, like we were. We began the stay thinking of what we would do in the surrounding area, but quickly realized the resort’s nearly 30 acres provided enough to keep us entertained. Want to play a little table tennis? How about some life-sized chess? Or maybe you prefer to lounge around the pool with a mountain valley view. All are valid ways to pass the day in my book. But if you do want to get out, they have scooters to rent for $10 a day.
But first let’s dive straight into their spa experience. Karianne and I each had a 90 minute massage in their spa down in the valley below the main lobby. Now let me lay out my massage experience: I have been to the gamut of masseuses. From getting beat up in Budapest to lackluster, half-ass attempts at a back rub in Peru, I was ready for a professional, pleasant experience and Panviman did not disappoint. With the rain providing a soothing background soundtrack to our lives, Karianne and I each had a great massage. Karianne has even told me that she rarely enjoys a massage, but that this was the best she had received (I guess mine aren’t comparable?!). The price is high compared to the massage parlors in downtown Chiang Mai, but this is certainly a service where you get what you pay for, and it is still much less than a hotel massage in the States.
There is network of trails to walk back from the spa to the three pools that overlook the valley. Along the way, you’ll pass a meditation cave, yoga room, saunas, and various other resting points and gardens. We were both very impressed with the attention to detail in this area. This was probably my favorite area of the grounds.
As I mentioned, we were in one of their villas with a private jacuzzi pool. That’s right–a larger than necessary jacuzzi on the balcony overlooking the valley below. Not bad. The villa is about half the size of our house back home, with a cathedral-like ceiling. It is safe to say that it was much more space than we needed. Even the bathroom was twice the size of our kitchen at home. The usual minibar and TV are included with some delicious treats delivered daily with your room cleaning. I believe the architectural style is known as Ayudhaya. It’s a nice combination of dark wood and bamboo. Very nice. And each villa appeared to have their own WIFI, which we used to discover the Netflix series “Making a Murderer.” I am glad I do not live in Manitowoc County.
Now let’s get to the most important part of staying at a resort: the breakfast. When staying at the Panviman, you have your choice of more than enough buffet options. From stir-fried glass noodles to made-to-order omelets, the breakfast here is hard to beat. Only smoked salmon and cream cheese could improve the selection, because we could all use a little bagel and lox in the morning. I stuck with my hot chocolate selection while Karianne had her coffee. Really a good breakfast after having a lot of sub-par breakfasts in Thailand.
You can really tell that this place pays attention to every little detail. If you are lucky enough to run into Charlie, the GM, spend a moment chatting about the area and the hotel. He’s up at breakfast to meet the guests as they wander in from their various villas and rooms up the hill. Having managed super-hotels in Bangkok, I imagine the slow-paced, luxurious resort offers plenty of reasons for Charlie to be so pleasant. Oh, and if you don’t feel like walking from place to place at the resort, they will take you around in a golf cart. A little unnecessary for two 29-year olds, but I can see a use for others.
As expected, the onsite restaurant is a little more expensive then restaurants outside of the grounds, but we were thoroughly impressed with the food. We recommend the khao soi–the Burmese noodle soup that’s popular in northern Thailand.
I was surprised by the average age of the guests, but maybe I shouldn’t be. It was mostly couples in their 20’s and 30’s, but had a mixture of all ages. We met a honeymooning couple from Texas and they were probably the only other Americans. Oh, and we had the power go out several times on our first night, but their backup generators brought it back within seconds each time, keeping our Netflix streaming uninterrupted. Pretty impressive, if you ask me.
So I have to recommend this place for couples in the area on their honeymoon, holiday, or anniversary. It is a very romantic, peaceful resort with beautiful views and really good food. If you want to learn more, check out their website. I would recommend using Booking.com via Topcashback.com to get 5% off. But you should do this for any and all bookings! And no, I do not get a commission if you book any stay here. I’m not that savvy to arrange those kind of partnerships! Plus, I’m on vacation!