Four Season Tented Camp Thailand
(Post by Carlos Melia) Golden Triangle, Thailand | If there was a hotel I visited in 2011, that went above and beyond any expectations, was the Four Seasons Tented Camp at Golden Triangle in the northern region of Thailand, right on the border with Lao and Burma. How about combining the best of Four Seasons signature luxury, style and customer service, with the exuberant beauty of the bamboo jungles of Chiang Rai province in the outdoors, surrounded by a local Elephants camp, Burmese chanting monks in the mornings and serene waters of the Mekong River. How would I define and summarize this experience, simply like this… train to become a Mahout, live with the elephants in full luxury, enjoy all-inclusive adventures, spoil yourself at their full service outdoor spa and dine like a king or queen.
This was my tent. Stunning full comfort and equipped Deluxe Tents, with a breathtaking balcony overlooking the Ruak River. Waking up each morning was a ritual of relaxation, mixed with Burmese monks chanting along with the local birds, and the most beautiful views of the Golden Triangle’s jungle. That only to walk out to the outdoor shower and bath in full sync with nature. Your accommodations are part of an all-inclusive package designed for active adults. The package includes round-trip airport transfer, meals, house wines and spirits, elephant trekking, a spa treatment, and more. Tents are named after local hill tribes, fauna and flora and are uniquely decorated in an individual colour scheme with coordinated furnishings. The whole complex was exquisitely conceived and design by internationally renown Bill Bensley, with whom I have the honor to share my stay, and you can see taping me with the elephant further below.
This is how you arrive to the Camp, by speed boats from Golden Triangle, after a one hour transfer from Chaing Rai International Aiport, also provided by Four Seasons on modern Mercedes-Benz units, with charming and knowledgeable drivers. All to begin your Tented Camp experience right from the beginning. Tented Camp is not a hotel or a resort, it is a full range life experience, that will linger in your mind for the rest of your life.
One of the main activities fully included, is the Mahout Training day with the Elephants of the Camp. Walk with them and on top of them, feed them, bathe them…. just unbelievable. I think the videos below speak for themselves, and no further comments needed. Right ?
Breakfast every morning was a delight, not only by the exquisite options served in full class by the staff of the resort, but because of the company of your hosts the elephants, expecting you to feed them as many bananas as possible at the time, ha ha ha or in defect your camera.
This was my morning visit to the Elephant Camp itself, where the Mahouts live, coexist and train with the elephants on the daily basis. It is fair and necessary to mention the efforts of Four Seasons Thailand and the local Mahout community to create this camp, which has focused during the last years into taking the elephants out of the streets of Thailand, giving then the care and attention they need and returning them to their natural habitat. So congratulations Four Seasons and all those involved into this project.
Someone once said, don’t ever compete with animals or kids, and in this case the Four Seasons Camp, it is fully outshone by their main hosts, the elephants. But trust me… there is nothing to regret about it. The sole reason why you can enjoy this whole experience in full, is by the silent and behind the scenes flawless operation of the local staff and the signature comfort, style and customer service by Four Seasons.
The spa more so being a relaxing therapy, it is a symbiotic experience with nature in the most incredible outdoors setting. I must say that I took a 90 minutes Mahout Massage, and I only remember therapist saying welcome and asking me to lay on the massage bed. From there on… I just passed out in full journey of traditional Thai massage and innovative rituals enhanced by the healing power of mountain botanicals and local warming spices. My TIP, take your massage around sunset time, to enjoy the best of the afternoon and arriving night atmosphere.
Overall, again an unforgettable experience for those looking for luxury in every sense of the word. Please let the staff know that Carlos told you, you must try the COBRA Whiskey, but be ready to after effects. I strongly recommend taking the half day tour of Golden Triangle and the markets using over four types of transportation and briefly crossing to Lao. Also if you are into Polo, keep an eye to their yearly Polo Tournament on Elephants. You may also read this post at CarlosMeliaBlog.com