We’d read that a refurbishment programme was underway at Chiang Rai’s “Laluna Hotel”:http://www.lalunaresortchiangrai.com/ and hoped we’d be allocated one of the modernised rooms for our three-night stay.
There are 80 semi-detached bungalows spread out in extensive gardens which are immaculately maintained and full of large, lush tropical plants creating a haven of peace and calm. We’d booked one of the 20 pool view rooms and on arrival, it was clear our room had been refurbished as it was so light and bright. The white and grey décor was tasteful but the room, with its parquet flooring, was minimalist and we would have liked a little more storage, particularly as there was lots of space. There was a small desk (with helpful 3 pin plug point), safe, and mini bar with complimentary water and rather oddly, plastic beakers, plates, bowls and cutlery. There was a huge TV on the wall, air conditioning, large black leather arm chair and table.
The bathroom looked as though we were the first to use it as it was so sparklingly clean. There was a large walk in shower, with rain shower head and gushing hot water, basin and plenty of room for toiletries (basic toiletries were provided). There was a good plug in hairdryer.
Wi-Fi was complimentary and available all over the hotel.
There was a happy hour in the bar from 5pm to 8pm where if you bought two drinks, you could fight over who got the third complimentary drink.
The hotel likes vouchers: breakfast vouchers had to be collected every day and if you wanted a voucher for 10% off dinner, a voucher was available from reception.
We ate in on our first night as we were late arriving and chose sweet and sour chicken and pork in black pepper sauce with a small plate of steamed jasmine rice. Both dishes were excellent and complemented each other beautifully as one was very sweet and gloopy and the other fresh and light.
Breakfast, from 6.30am to 10.30am, was totally self-service. There was a good selection of yoghurt, cereal, salad bar, cold meat, fruit, breads and pastries, and hot dishes, both western and Asian. Coffee from a machine was very good, but you could order speciality coffee at an additional cost. On another day, we realised timing was all as, arriving just after a large group had finished, many dishes were sadly depleted but when we left, they’d all been fully restocked.
The pool was large with a graded depth from around 2 to 5 foot. There were lots of rattan loungers, but the umbrellas looked very old and were covered in mildew. Unfortunately, the refurbishment programme was still ongoing with tarpaulin blocking out the sight of the building work, but sadly not the drilling and banging. We complained to reception and Trailfinders: the first offered vouchers for a complimentary cocktail and three course dinner. whilst Trailfinders secured a refund of £51.
Unfortunately, whilst the Cesar salad and tomato bruschetta were good, our mains of beef massaman and Pad Thai were bland. The dessert, a huge plate of pineapple, papaya, and watermelon would have fed a family of six. However, the most disappointing aspect was the pace of service with courses arriving immediately after the previous one.
As the hotel is around a 20 to 30-minute walk into town, a complimentary tuk tuk service is provided, but you need to get a voucher from reception first.