Thailand and tourism go hand in hand, this means that the last couple of years have been challenging for everyone. The businesses and individuals that rely on tourists have suffered, and those same tourists from around the world have missed out on their slice of escapism, Thai hospitality and adventure.
Therefore, the fact that ‘Thailand Pass – Test & Go’ resumed for new applications on February 1st was very welcome news indeed. Vaccinated tourists are now able to return to ‘The Land of Smiles’ without the need for quarantine safe in the knowledge that an escalated vaccine programme and reduced COVID infection rates make Thailand the perfect choice for their much awaited vacation.
If you’re looking for some of the newest and most exciting hotel openings in Thailand, below are four excellent luxury hotels to look out for this year. Whether you’re looking for a city break whilst you explore the old city in Chiang Mai, or a beach escape on one of Thailands breathtaking islands, these hotels have got you covered!
Meliá Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai was the ancient capital of the Lanna Kingdom dating back to 1296 with the charming old city, complete with walls and a moat, at it’s heart. It is now a fast paced and modern city, and an enchanting destination where tradition, history and religion provide the perfect backdrop for exploration and cultural immersion in the largest city in Northern Thailand.
Located adjacent to the River Ping, Meliá Chiang Mai provides the perfect option for your Chiang Mai vacation. The newest 5 star luxury hotel in town (due to open in April 2022) is just a few hundred meters from Tha Phae Gate and the defensive moat which surrounds the ancient old city.
The first five-star hotel to open in Chiang Mai since the onset of the global pandemic features a 360-degree rooftop bar on the 22nd floor called Mai The Sky Bar, which offers spectacular views of the Chiang Mai skyline and mountains in the distance. The executive lounge on the 21st floor offers equally as impressive vistas and the signature YHI Spa ensures guests are very well catered for after a busy day of sightseeing or meetings. Multiple F&B outlets, state of the art fitness centre, swimming pool, ballroom and four meeting spaces means that Melia Chiang Mai is well suited for business and leisure travellers alike.
Banyan Tree Krabi
The coastline of Krabi in Southwestern Thailand, famous for the extraordinary limestone karsts and tropical islands, offers tourists endless white sand beaches, stunning scenery and breathtaking sunsets as the sun disappears over the horizon and into Andaman Sea.
Banyan Tree Krabi sits on the pristine Tubkaak Beach, making it the perfect location to enjoy those incredible sunsets. Backing onto rolling green hills you are surrounded by natural beauty and can’t help but to feel relaxed and rejuvenated during your stay. Having opened in October 2021, this brand new addition to the luxury Krabi market should be on your radar when planning your next trip.
Upon arrival at this luxurious beachfront paradise, the spectacular open-sided lobby presents an incredible view of the famed limestone karsts. Once ensconced in your chosen suite or villa you will love your private pool (yes, every suite and villa has a private pool) and quite simply, you will never want to leave. There is a ‘Wellbeing Sanctuary’ program for those who wish to combine luxury with health and holism whilst the rainforest-inspired spa offers Thai massage and treatments using local ingredients. Saffron, the signature restaurant at Banyan Tree Krabi promises a “nutritious and delicious culinary journey” whilst at the same time offers yet more jaw-dropping views across the ocean from the dramatic bird’s nest tables.
Hyatt Regency Koh Samui
The Gulf of Thailand also offers some incredible destinations, both on the mainland and on the myriad of tropical islands. Koh Samui is the second largest island in Thailand and truly offers something for everyone. If palm fringed beaches and calm blue seas are your ‘thing’ then you won’t go far wrong if you head to Koh Samui.
Hyatt Regency Koh Samui is a modern, stylish and design led luxury resort which opened in July 2021 to critical acclaim. Located close to the nightlife and restaurants of Chaweng, the resort is set within stunning grounds and a pristine beach that will leave guests with the ultimate dilemma. Do you head out to explore or stay exactly where you are and make the very most of this luxury location?
A collaboration between three of Thailand’s biggest hotel design names, Hyatt Regency Koh Samui is a self proclaimed “vacation gallery” due to the array of visual highlights throughout the property which is situated on eight acres of private coastline. Their design-forward philosophy includes a showpiece lobby which is the longest arrival lobby in Koh Samui, where numerous skylights allow for natural illumination by the sun and the moon. Other standout design features include plush accommodations that showcase the terrific ocean views, to one of the largest pool zones on the island; a collection of pools, each cascading down from the main pool on the upper deck of the resort.
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Meliá Phuket Mai Khao
Last but by no means least on our list of new luxury hotels in Thailand to look out for this year, we head back over to the Andaman Coast and out to the largest and perhaps most well known of the Thai islands, Phuket. Complete with highways, shopping malls and an international airport it would be easy to think that the tropical island escape that you’re dreaming of is no longer possible on Phuket. But you would be wrong, very wrong as there are some stunning hotels and resorts where you can still enjoy exactly what Phuket is synonymous with.
Meliá Phuket Mai Khao is a wellness-inspired resort which opened in December 2021 on 8 acres of pristine coastline in the northwest of the island. Guests can expect a laid-back beach club vibe, private pool villas and exceptional Thai hospitality during their stay.
Situated on a seemingly never ending strip of white sand (Phuket’s longest) this luxury resort boasts ‘Mediterranean-inspired’ accommodation comprising 30 suites and 70 villas for guests to choose from. These include the unique “Wellness Villas” which feature an open air Vitamin C shower, daily massages, ultrasonic essential oil diffuser, GermGuardian air purifier, Tempur-Pedic pillows, fit ball and a yoga mat. Meliá Phuket Mai Khao also offers a variety of culinary styles from their four F&B outlets including the chic and stylish Gaia Beach Club. If you can force yourself to leave this tropical oasis, attractions such as Sirinat National Park, Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, and Wat Phra Thong temple are just a short drive away.
As we’ve all been very aware, the last two years have been full of uncertainties and unexpected changes. This means that travel now comes with new considerations. Making sure that your insurance covers you for COVID related issues and that your airline and hotel bookings allow for changes is essential. Also, keeping up to date with the latest entry requirements for your chosen destination, this link to the Thailand Embassy website will help you with updated and accurate information.
Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest. Vegan Food Quest have become luxury vegan travel specialists as they continue to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world.
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