InterContinental Chiang Mai Mae Ping, Thailand Pays Homage to Lanna Heritage

Posted in News on 20 August, 2023

Modern luxury meets nature-enveloped paradise at the intersection of Chiang Mai’s historic core.

Opening in Chiang Mai’s old town in summer 2023, InterContinental Chiang Mai Mae Ping is set to redefine the town’s luxury hotel landscape with a new design that offers an elegant window into the past while celebrating the architectural and artistic heritage of the historic Lanna Kingdom, which Chiang Mai used to be part of.

InterContinental Chiang Mai Mae Ping, Thailand. Above: Premium King Guest Room City View. Top: Classic King Guest Room City View

Thailand’s leading design firm PIA Interior oversaw the conversion of the prestigious Imperial Mae Ping Hotel that had been at the forefront of Chiang Mai’s hospitality scene for more than 30 years. To further enhance the storied hotel’s prominent position, the PIA team made a serene lawn overlooking the 600-year-old Buddhist stupa central to the guest experience, as well as adding a contemporary extension that is home to the signature Club InterContinental lounge and Club rooms and suites.

Premium Twin Living Area City View

Drawing on Lanna heritage, the PIA team created a contemporary design that celebrates craftsmanship in all its forms. Thoughtfully folding modern conveniences into the hotel’s historic bones, the designers skilfully weave local narratives into modern aesthetics to bridge Chiang Mai’s precious heritage with the present and the future.

Classic Twin Living Area City View

Classic Twin Bathroom

With the inspired interpretation of the Lanna Kingdom throughout its interior design, InterContinental Chiang Mai Mae Ping invites guests to experience various aspects of Lanna culture across three main themes as they move between the zones. Inspired by the monumental Lanna Government Quarters, the lobby, the Lobby Lounge and the Club Lounge form the core of the hotel. Greeting guests at the main entrance is a rammed-earth wall that evokes the clay wall of Lanna, and deep reds and burnt oranges of the driveway which reference the Vieng Gate, the first wall built to fortify the city of Chiang Mai. As travellers step into the lobby, they find themselves enveloped in the serenity of an intricately layered room that mimics the ambiance of a classic drawing room used for entertainment and speaks of Lanna’s teak trade.

The adjacent lobby hall, meanwhile, journeys back to the Golden Age of the Lanna Kingdom to mark its place as the region’s teak wood trading centre with historical artefacts like vintage furniture, foreign banknotes and old photographs, while Kam Lobby Lounge overlooking the hotel’s main pool offers an ode to ‘Yi Peng’ floating lantern festival through the use of traditional lanterns. During the day, the lounge serves elegant afternoon tea and gourmet bites, transforming after dark into a sophisticated bar where innovative cocktails and fine wine flow freely with the rhythm of the night.

Connecting Room Mountain View

When designing the exclusive Club InterContinental – a lounge that offers food and beverage as well as rooms and suites including benefits such as dedicated business and concierge services and more slated to open in 2024 – PIA Interior was inspired by an old-world diplomat’s residence. Stately yet welcoming, the lounge is filled with carved furniture dating back to the 1920-1950s and heirloom collectibles that wouldn’t look out of place at Chiang Mai’s historic British Consulate building renowned for its colonial charm and comforting ambiance.

Elegant serenity and artisanal excellence
Overlooking the sleepy alleyways of the old town or the soaring Doi Suthep mountain, 240 elegant rooms and suites feature Lanna-inspired décor with bespoke finishes using traditional techniques ranging from lacquering, wood carving and sculptures to metal beating. Natural materials such as stone and wood bring rich tactility, while contemporary art pieces commissioned from local artists celebrate Chiang Mai’s status as Thailand’s emergent creative capital.

Local craftsmanship and Northern influences are evident in the design of the restaurants as well. The Gad Lanna, which serves quality breakfast and elevated Thai cuisine with a focus on authentic flavours of the North for lunch and dinner, boasts an interior inspired by Chiang Mai’s bustling Warorot market where local food and goods have been traded since ancient times. Decorated in neutral tones of light brown and grey, the airy dining room is understated yet quietly impactful, with serene views of the lawn promoting a sense of calm.

Classic King Bathroom

Up on the 16th floor, signature venue Hong’s Chinese Restaurant & Sky Bar pays homage to the historic Lanna-Chinese trade links. For a novel take on traditional Chinese tea service, guests can cosy up inside a lively teahouse embracing modern Chinese colours and symbolism, while Maison of Chinese Merchants offers a contemporary rooftop bar experience complete with expert mixology, a striking backlit stairway and sweeping views across the city.

Nature reigns supreme at the well-loved brand hallmark Planet Trekkers kids’ club too. Designed to evoke the setting of an Elephant Camp, the vibrant indoor-outdoor space celebrates the close relationship between the Lanna people and the elephants, with an elephant-shaped observation tower complete with a slider and climbing nets taking centre stage. Wood, which permeates through the Lanna architecture and culture, is the main material of the hotel’s gym as well. Designed around the concept of folk play, the fitness centre features an exercise area that riffs off the popular ‘Kong Keng’ folk toy.

An iconic setting for memorable events
Like the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, the meeting and event venues at InterContinental Chiang Mai Mae Ping stay true to the area’s vernacular to evoke downtown areas of high density, with Lanna Kingdom hallmarks such as carved teak balustrades, mural paintings and wooden sculptures gracing the pre-function areas. With plenty of natural light and views of the central event lawn, the five meeting rooms combine elegance and functionality.

The venue collection references historic figures and events by mixing together Lanna teak furniture pieces with historic photographs and art pieces, while the majestic Grand Ballroom is designed to host the most exclusive galas, weddings and corporate events amid refined interiors bathed in natural daylight.

For more information about InterContinental Chiang Mai Mae Ping, please visit




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