Chiang Mai is the cultural capital of Thailand and is uniquely green and beautiful. It is tucked between mountains, jungle, and rice paddies. The city is known for its stunning temples, interesting markets, and excellent culinary delights.

But where is the best place to lay your head after a long day of exploring and eating your way around the best city in Northern Thailand? Read on as I share the best areas to stay and the best Chiang Mai hotels, whether you are looking for luxury accommodation or budget digs.

Best Areas to Stay in Chiang Mai

If you are visiting Chiang Mai for the first time, you will probably want to book accommodation in the Old City. This will put all of the city's best sights and restaurants on your doorstep.

While you will find some very nice hotels inside the old city walls, if you prefer luxury hotels and a lot of creature comforts, look at staying around Chiang Mai Riverside. You will find the best luxury hotels built along the Ping River, but you are still within walking distance of the major sights, including a short distance from the Old City. Staying around the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar area, which sits between the Old City and Riverside, is a good compromise.

People who choose to stay in Chiang Mai for a little longer, such as digital nomads and expats, often set themselves up in trendy Nimman. Here, you will find coworking spaces, trendy cafes, the best boutique hotels, and some cool nightlife that the city has to offer, including rooftop bars, my fav!

But staying in the city of Chiang Mai itself is not your only option. There are many great hotels in the Doi Suthep mountain region and surrounding the city that offer an excellent getaway. There are many small villages in the region that offer a more rustic and tranquil experience, which are also perfect for a yoga retreat.

If you want to know everything about Chiang Mai, read my full guide to Chiang Mai.

Best Luxury Hotels in Chiang Mai

Chala Number 6: Best City Center Sanctuary

best hotels in chiang mai - chala number 6

Chala Number 6 is a luxury hotel right in the center of downtown Chiang Mai. The immaculately decorated and kept rooms sit around a central courtyard with a garden and outdoor swimming pool, which offer refuge from the busy streets. But you are only a few minutes from many of Chiang Mai's main sites.

Deluxe rooms have balconies, plus free Wi-Fi and air conditioning. The hotel has a pool, fitness center, spa, and excellent breakfast. But you will want to eat lunch and dinner at one of the many restaurants within a short walking distance.

  • Location: Old Town, Phrapokklao Road (opposite the famous temple Wat Chedi Luang)

  • Price: From US$170 per night

  • Why stay here? Luxury and tranquility in the middle of Chiang Mai Old Town

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137 Pillars House: Best Riverside Resort

The best hotels in chiang mai - 137 pillars house

This boutique property feels a bit like an old stately home but with a unique Thai style. Think Victorian bathrooms with Thai sliding doors and curtains. The elegant rooms are spacious and the gardens expansive, but you are only a 10-minute walk from the Chiang Mai Night Market.

Work up a sweat in the fitness center, cool off in the pool, relax in the Spa, and enjoy food and drinks in the Dining Room restaurant and Library Bar. There is good Wi-Fi throughout the property, 24-hour room service, and excellent views of the Ping River.

  • Location: Chiang Mai Riverside, Nawatgate Road

  • Price: From US$530 per night

  • Why stay here? Deluxe rooms with modern amenities at a green riverside location

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Anantara Chiang Mai Resort: Best Apartment Style Accommodation

best hotels in chiang mai - Anantara Chiang Mai Resort

Book yourself a full apartment with multiple ensuite bedrooms with their own kitchen. But the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort also has all the services of a luxury hotel, including a rooftop infinity pool, a modern fitness center, a wellness spa, and a hotel restaurant.

As well as your fully-equipped kitchen, you get a spacious living area with a sofa and flat-screen TV, ensuite bathrooms, and wonderful views of the Ping River.

  • Location: Chiang Mai Riverside, Charoen Prathet Road

  • Price: From US$276 per night

  • Why stay here? Fantastic apartment-style hotel accommodation

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Shangri-La Chiang Mai: Best International Hotel

best hotels in chiang mai - Shangri-La Chiang Mai

The Shrangi-La is an example of a large, international-stye five-star hotel in Chiang Mai and will suit visitors who enjoy their creature comforts and a brand-name hotel. It includes luxury touches such as a pillow menu, a free-form outdoor swimming pool and spa, and personal bathrobes.

The hotel is known for its immaculate service and extravagant buffet breakfast. Evening drinks in the Dhala Wine Lounge are a must, as are Ping River views from the terrace. You are just a short walk from the Night Bazaar.

  • Location: Chiang Mai Riverside, Chand Klan Road

  • Price: From US$139 per night

  • Why stay here? International standard 5-star accommodations

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Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai: Best Getaway Resort

best hotels in chiang mai - Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

The Four Seasons is a luxurious and stately luxury hotel about a 30-minute drive north of Chiang Mai in the rice fields and mountains of the Mae Rim Valley. There is a mix of spacious rooms and balconies that feel like a treehouse retreat.

Everything you need is on-site, including an outdoor swimming pool, spa, multiple restaurants and bars, and 24-hour room service.

  • Location: North of Chiang Mai, Mae Rim Valley

  • Price: From US$656 per night

  • Why stay here? To get away from it all and relax near Chiang Mai

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Best Mid-Range Boutique Hotels in Chiang Mai

Thai Akara Lanna Boutique Hotel: Best Old Town Boutique Hotel

best hotels in chiang mai - Thai Akara - Lanna Boutique Hotel

This boutique hotel in the center of Chiang Mai Old Town has spacious and luxurious rooms in traditional Lanna style that are dressed to impress. All guest rooms are ensuite with a seating area, free Wi-Fi, large-screen TV, and all other comforts that you need.

The restaurant specializes in Thai dishes from the area, and the bar and room service are available all night.

  • Location: Old Town, Ratchapakinai Road

  • Price: From US$107 per night

  • Why stay here? The amazing decor and excellent food

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U Nimman Chiang Mai: Best Modern Boutique Hotel

best hotels in chiang mai - u nimman chiang mai

Located in the trendy Nimman area, this hotel is super modern while maintaining Thai charm. Elegant rooms are fitted with all the latest tech to make your visit comfortable, and many have views over the mountain.

The sun terrace, sauna, and rooftop infinity pool are all highlights, as is the food at the Eat@Rincome in-house restaurant.

  • Location: Nimman, Nimmanhaemin Road

  • Price: From US$106 per night

  • Why stay here? Modern and trendy comfort

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The Craft Nimman: Best Boutique Hotel with Mountain Views

best hotels in chiang mai - the craft nimman

This hotel has wood fittings and leather sofas with a welcoming atmosphere. The hotel mixes comfort with trendy design with almost a Steampunk-kinda feel.

Definitely go for a Deluxe room and request mountain views, as you'll be looking into another building facing away from the mountain when booking a Standard room.

Don't expect a pool or restaurant since the hotel assumes you will want to explore the streets. But the air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and breakfast in the garden downstairs are all excellent.

  • Location: Nimman, Nimmanhaemin Road

  • Price: From US$74 per night

  • Why stay here? Trendy and affordable rooms with the best mountain views of Doi Suthep Mountain, absolutely great value for money

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99 The Heritage Chiang Mai: Best Hotel Entertainment

best hotels in chiang mai - 99 the heritage hotel

Located in the middle of Old Town, the hotel offers surprisingly large rooms and personalized services that aim to give you a true northern Thailand experience.

All the facilities on-site feel grand and well-considered, including the outdoor swimming pool, garden, and restaurant, which also hosts lots of entertainment.

  • Location: Old Town, Samlan Road

  • Price: From US$111 per night

  • Why stay here? The local entertainment with a cocktail bar and a superb breakfast in the morning

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Akyra Manor Chiang Mai: Best for a Short Stay

best hotels in chiang mai - akyra manor chiang mai

The Akyra Manor feels sleek and modern with its rooftop infinity pool and candlelit restaurant. This luxurious hotel definitely has business travelers on short stays as well as digital nomads in mind, with lots of space to work and excellent Wi-Fi.

Italics Restaurant is a modern Italian venue with a state-of-the-art show kitchen and Pizza oven. Retire at the end of the night with drinks at the hotel's rooftop Rise bar.

  • Location: Nimmanhaemind Road (main street in Nimman)

  • Price: From US$138 per night

  • Why stay here? They have a fantastic Italian kitchen and rooftop bar

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Makkachiva: Best for Busy Travelers

best hotels in chiang mai - makkachiva

While this central hotel is modest in size, it feels palatial inside with grand Thai decoration. Expect to be greeted by lots of wood, glass, and gold!

Services are limited, there is no pool or gym, but the rest that is on offer is excellent. The buffet breakfast is superb, the restaurant is good, and the Wi-Fi is reliable.

  • Location: Old Town, Praprokklao Road

  • Price: From US$81 per night

  • Why stay here? Understated luxury and services that just work, right in the city centre

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Best Budget Hotels in Chiang Mai

Verbena Chiang Mai: Best Affordable Stay in Nimman

best hotels in chiang mai - verbena chiangmai

Step through the temple-style entrance into a compact but well-planned hotel. The rooms are bigger than you might expect, as are facilities such as the bathrooms.

However, your balcony will probably overlook other rooms, and the pool is only accessible for the family rooms on the ground floor and is also surrounded by concrete rather than greenery.

Nevertheless, you can expect to be well cared for during your stay with a 24-hour front desk manned by helpful staff.

  • Location: Nimman, Nimman Road

  • Price: From US$68 per night

  • Why stay here? Spacious but affordable rooms, all with a great balcony

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Travelodge: Best Familiar Hotel

best hotels in chiang mai - Travelodge Nimman

If you are just looking for a familiar and reliable place to lay your head, the brand-new Travelodge is a great option. The rooms are basic and clean, and the pool and fitness center are surprisingly good.

If you are stopping over while traveling, you will find everything you need on-site, including a restaurant, bar, and free parking.

  • Location: Nimman, Chonprathan Road

  • Price: From US$39 per night

  • Why stay here? Affordable and reliable place to stay

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Glory Wabi Sabi Hotel: Best Affordable Comfort

best hotels in chiang mai - Glory Wabi Sabi Hotel

It is incredible just how comfortable and beautiful this hotel is for the price! The large indoor swimming pool is especially impressive. There is no restaurant, but the breakfast offering is good.

The beds are incredibly comfortable and rooms come with all the necessary comforts, including free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, flat-screen TV, and more.

  • Location: Sripoom, Stadium Road (just outside of Old Chiang Mai)

  • Price: From US$47 per night

  • Why stay here? Very comfortable rooms for a low price

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Kate and Hasu Boutique Chiang Mai: Best Micro Stay

best hotels in chiang mai - Kate and Hasu Boutique Chiangmai

This hotel is compact and comfortable with a long thin swimming pool right next to the restaurant, micro-gym, and small restaurant.

In contrast, the polished concrete rooms are bigger than expected, with separate seating areas and ensuite bathrooms. The overall result is something cozy and comfortable.

  • Location: Night Bazaar, Kotchasarn Road

  • Price: From US$49 per night

  • Why stay here? Cozy and welcoming environment with a small dipping pool

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Lanna Tree Boutique Hotel: Best Affordable Old Town Stay

best hotels in chiang mai - Lanna Tree Boutique Hotel

This is another small place that makes the most of the space that it does have by stacking things closely but cleverly. Your room will overlook the pool and there is a nice rooftop terrace with garden and barbecue facilities.

Choose a room to suit your needs and your budget. Get a large room with a balcony or a small room with a shared bathroom.

  • Location: Old Town, Ratchapakinai Road

  • Price: From US$32 per night

  • Why stay here? Nice budget accommodation in the center of Chiang Mai

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The Best Hotels in Chaing Mai – Frequently Asked Questions

📍 What's the best area to stay in Chiang Mai?

The Old City is generally considered the best area to stay in Chiang Mai as it puts you close to all the best sights and restaurants. But if you are looking for luxury accommodation, look at Chiang Mai Riverside, which has many 5-star hotels along the Ping River and is not far from the city center. If you are staying longer, you may feel more at home and find cheaper options in trendy Nimman.

🏨 Where should I stay in Chiang Mai when visiting for the first time?

If you are visiting Chiang Mai for the first time, and especially if your time is limited, stay in the Old City. You are close to all the major city sights and can squeeze in temples, night markets and shopping between day trips to the mountains. If you are heading to Chiang Mai for a few days, read my 3-day itinerary.

❓ Where is the hipster area in Chiang Mai?

Nimman is considered the hipster area of Chiang Mai and has been heavily influenced by the presence of students, as well as a strong digital nomad and expat community. Here, you will find many coworking spaces, fusion restaurants, and some of the best nightlife in the city.

The Best Hotels in Chiang Mai – Final Words

Chiang Mai is a must-visit destination on any trip to Thailand. It is considered the cultural capital of the country and the gateway to Thailand's interesting northern regions.

You will find the best hotels in Chiang Mai for every budget. You will find deluxe 5-star luxury hotels, unique boutique options, and many backpackers and hostels.

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