Leonardo at Melía Chiang Mai

  • Leonardo at the kids pool
  • Enjoying a deserved fresh coconut water
  • Melia Chiang Mai The Level Room
  • Mai The Sky Bar
  • The Level Lounge  Reception
  • Melia Chiang Mai Entrance

Not long ago, luxury travel and kids were rarely seen in the same sentence. However, times have changed as the demand from parents wanting their little ones to enjoy the same five-star experiences as them grows and grows. My 5-years-old Leonardo and I are not snooty travellers: we have stayed in one, two or three stars that were great also. But for the start of this adventure trip, I wanted him to experience the best, so for our Chiang Mai stay I picked Meliá Chiang Mai.

Melia Chiang Mai Entrance

Meliá Chiang Mai opened in 2022, the first five-star opening in the city since the pandemic, and was born from a major facelift to one of the highest buildings in this colourful northern Thailand city of historic charms and cultural attractions. Its location is amazing, not far from the banks of the Ping River, a 15 minutes walk to the walled old city with its famed temples and alleyways, and with one of the city’s biggest night bazaars on its doorstep. While we had a rented car, the hotel location made it convenient for us to just get out and walk around the town.

Leonardo at check in

As I expected from a Meliá property, the unique Spanish ambience is ever-present. Yet, with its spectacular interiors designed by Bangkok firm PIA, Meliá Chiang Mai has a definite sense of place and exudes the mystic splendour of northern Thailand, paying homage to the town’s features and to the culture and handicrafts of local hill tribes. The hotel is overall modern, but it uses Thai culture as its inspiration in its arcs, walls and furnitures. Its decor includes Thai themes, luscious oversize installations that reference silversmithing, weaving and Lanna (Northern Thai) architecture, metal artistic lanterns and woven basketry. My kid loves museums, and his exact words after he roamed about the reception area were: “Papa, this hotel is like a museum”. I was pleased.

Melia Chiang Mai The Level Room

The next mention goes to their awesome services. Meliá sense of hospitality includes an emphasis on personalised service and guests’ well-being. We were met by professional and enchanting smiles and greetings by local staff from the moment we entered the dazzling lobby, and this feeling stayed right up to the moonlit rooftop bar on the 22nd floor. Indeed, the staff was beyond fantastic, friendly, helpful and so patient with such a small kid; I was truly amazed. They really cared that we had a wonderful experience, and we did.

The Level Lounge Reception

Meliá Chiang Mai has 254-room comprising a seven-storey podium building, where the entrance is located, connected to a 22-floor tower. All rooms and suites are contemporary and equipped with all modern conforms. The room we stayed in was on the 19th floor, which is considered part of The Level: the same as the basic Meliá room but with additional amenities and benefits such as a Nespresso coffee machine and pods, access to The Level Lounge with its various daily F&B offerings on the 21st floor, and late check out. Our room was modern, pleasant and spacious, with hardwood floors, tapestries and views across the city rooftops, the Ping River and the mountains, which, needless to say, Leonardo enjoyed and never got tired of. A 50-inch wall-mounted flatscreen TV facing the huge king bed, USB ports and a good wifi connection completed the job.

Leonardo at Kidsdom kids club

Next, my kid wanted to check the facilities I had so often mentioned in the previous weeks: the kids pool and the kids club. The hotel’s kids and teens club Kidsdom offers a program packed with activities such as Thai boxing, umbrella painting, plaster model painting, arts and craft with recycled materials and origami (which Leonardo booked but never got to attend as he was so busy in the pool). It comprises numerous sections including a ‘gaming zone’ offering Chess, Monopoly, Uno, Jenga, Tic-tac-toe, table football, and other games, and a ‘teen club zone’ featuring a drawing board, water colours, colouring pencils and crayons, and painted plaster dolls. In addition to a ‘mini club’ replete with Lego, rocking horses, indoor sliders, a ball house and wooden block puzzles, Kidsdom is also home to a library zone, TV zone and nap studio. A paradise for Leonardo, and it was hard to take him away.

Leonardo at the kids pool

But I used the pool as bait, and it worked. Adjacent to the hotel’s large outdoor swimming pool on the second floor, the hotel has a shallow watery playground home to two water slides, a rain curtain, water fountains and a giant tipping bucket. Leonardo being a good swimmer, he loved to switch between the adult and the kids pool, and this was a real blessing for his father, who could finally enjoy a generously sized pool with navy blue tiling, as well as a cocktail or three at the Tien Pool Bar.

It is worth mentioning that Meliá Chiang Mai is offering a ‘Family is Everything’ package, with all details HERE.

Enjoying a deserved fresh coconut water after his swim

But let’s talk about food and drinks now. Laan Na Kitchen restaurant on the ground floor serves breakfast from 6.30 to 10.30am, as well as Mediterranean cuisine (including freshly-made churros and tortilla!) but with interesting Thai twists.  To the left of the lobby is the Ruen Kaew Lounge, where you can get afternoon tea along with the usual drinks and pastries.

On the 21st floor is The Level Lounge, the hotel’s executive lounge, where Leonardo got spoiled with mousses, smoothies and all sort of kid’s snacks, as well as enjoying the pretty amazing views and the staff girls’ continuous attention. The Level Lounge cohabits with Mai Restaurant & Bar, serving fine dining Thai cuisine derived from northern Thailand’s Lanna kingdom, but with subtle Mediterranean influences (open 6 to 10pm). To be noted that much of the produce is sourced from the nearby ORI9IN organic farm. I enjoyed an exceptional tasting menu there, but I will talk about that in a different article.

Mai The Sky Bar

Last but not least is the amazing, the hotel’s jewel in the crown, the one and only Chiang Mai’s premier Mai The Sky Bar, which seems to be the only one with a 360 degree stunning views over the Ping River or Doi Suthep mountain and its sunsets. This very trendy city haunt has two bars connected by a glass bridge and it is open 4pm to midnight.

Complimentary maccaroons!

Meliá Chiang Mai promotes sustainable tourism through a variety of means, including having its own organic farm, from which its restaurants get much of their produce (any leftovers go back as compost, too); using biodegradable packaging; utilising refillable containers and dispensers in rooms; and providing drinking water in glass bottles.


Our verdict is clear: Meliá Chiang Mai features all the five star extras you’d expect: the gym, the spa, the bars, the kids facilities, all coupled with excellent service and amazingly trained staff. This is a welcome addition to an increasingly cosmopolitan city, one that looks set to attract business and leisure travellers. The only negative factor? With all the entertainment for kids and adults alike, you have very little reason to want to leave the hotel at all, which would be a real shame since Chiang Mai, the jewel of the north, is a Thai city well worth exploring!

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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more than fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on www.asianitinerary.com

View all articles by Thomas Gennaro