137 Pillars House – A Luxurious Oasis of Heritage and Hospitality in Chiang Mai

Experience Old Chiang Mai’s timeless charm at 137 Pillars House. Originally constructed in the 1880s as part of the East Borneo Company headquarters, this teak homestead has been meticulously restored to transport you back to the 19th century. With 30 beautiful and spacious suites, gourmet dining, fabulous bar, dramatic pool, well-stocked library, and a range of soothing spa treatments, the intimate, refined atmosphere of 137 Pillars is perfect for a romantic getaway in the heart of Chiang Mai. Read on to discover more.

Anna and the King

Thailand is a luxury travellers paradise with a vast network of Five-star properties the length and breadth of the country, and 137 Pillars Hotel really is one of the best hotels in Thailand. Inhabiting a restored teak wood steading that dates back to 1889, this historic structure was once the headquarters of the Borneo Trading Company. It later became the home of Louis Leonowens, the son of Anna Leonowens, who was famed as the governess in the royal court of Siam, as featured in the musical The King and I. The property received its name thanks to Jack Bain, the owner at the time, who decided to count the number of pillars holding it up and thus the house became known as 137 Pillars House.

The property has undergone extensive renovation and it really is a work of art, transporting guests back to a bygone era of luxury and elegance, which is evident from the moment guests arrive at the hotel.

Rose of the North

Chiang Mai beckons travellers with its enchanting blend of ancient traditions and modern allure. Often referred to as the “Rose of the North,”. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural landscapes, the city has established itself as a must-visit gem in Thailand. Whether seeking to explore its centuries-old temples, indulge in delectable cuisine, immerse yourself in the traditions of the local hill tribes, or simply soak in the serene beauty of its surrounding countryside, Chiang Mai offers a myriad of experiences that promise to leave an indelible mark on your soul and 137 Pillars House is right in the heart of this superb destination.

Wat Gate

The quiet residential district of Wat Gate in which the hotel is found lies east of the city across the Ping River and it’s a leisurely 15-minute walk across the river and into the heart of Chiang Mai’s Old Town.

Pick Up

The hotel is a short 20-minute transfer from Chiang Mai International Airport a meet and greet pick up by the hotel can be coordinated on request.

Check-in and Lobby

From the moment guests arrive every need is taken care of, bags are whisked away to suites and a designated “Butler” for the duration of your stay checks you in and takes you to your room. When you stay make sure you ask for “Toto” he did such a good job for us, ensuring our whole stay was seamless, from suggesting restaurants and bars and making reservations, anything we needed Toto coordinated – all of which was easily done via Whatsapp messages.

Also worth noting the hotel also curate a number of fantastic excursions and experiences which can be organised during your stay too.

30 Suites

Experience luxury at its finest with the 30 generously sized suites, each thoughtfully designed to offer the utmost comfort and elegance. Enjoy the convenience of dedicated butler service in all suites, along with high ceilings, expansive walk-in wardrobes, and exquisite bathrooms featuring freestanding Victorian bathtubs, dual washbasins, and indoor and outdoor showers. Drift into a peaceful slumber on the indulgent 400-thread-count bed linens, nestled in ultra-comfortable four-poster beds. Step outside onto vintage tiled verandahs adorned with spacious daybeds, signature 137 Pillars rocking chairs, and cane shades for relaxation.

The hotel offers a variety of spacious and luxurious suites categories, each with unique features.

  • The Rajah Brooke Suites provide one-bedroom accommodation with vintage verandahs, garden views, and Victorian-style bathrooms, which can be configured as Hollywood Twin beds.
  • The East Borneo Suites offer super king or twin beds, private verandahs, and convertible divans for a third guest, along with a personal writing desk.
  • The David Fleming Macfie Suites cater to families or couples, offering a king bedroom with a convertible divan, spacious conservatories with flexible enclosures, and elegant en-suite bathrooms.
  • The William Bain Terrace Suites feature super king bedrooms, generous living rooms, and vintage verandahs overlooking tropical gardens.
  • Louis Leonowens Pool Suites are the pinnacle with private swimming pools and ground-floor access, along with luxurious amenities and stunning views of the infinity pool and historic homestead.

Our East Borneo Suite

During our stay we were hosted in a gorgeous Raj Brooke Suite, at 70sqm there is plenty of space for two people. Boasting timeless colonial-inspired decor, adorned with a striking black and green colour pallet set against a backdrop of white and herringbone flooring it really has a sophisticated finish,


I loved the drinks trolly, in the room, such a nod to the era.

Personal Bar & Welcome

Complimentary Nespresso, and water are included and we also had a surprise coconut water and a thoughtfully designed chocolate presentation.


A large veranda looks out to the hotel gardens. Note: the second image wasn’t our veranda, but it illustrates how big they are.

Dressing Room

Leading off the bedroom is a large dressing room, with twin sinks, a chair and a large wardrobe.


Beyond that a Victorian rolltop bath plays centre stage and to the left is the toilet and to the right the indoor shower and beyond that the outdoor shower.


Turn Down

There was a turndown service each night where homemade shortbread was delivered and water replenished.

Food and Drink

Suites are housed within various buildings in the hotel while the Teak Homestead is where the two restaurants and a bar are based.


An epicurean farm-to-table feast awaits at Palette, where 24 guests at a time can select from European, Thai and plant-based menus for lunch and dinner. The vintage country mansion-like space is furnished with teak armchairs, tables laid with white linen, works by local artists and shuttered windows looking out over the lush grounds.

Palette is listed in the Michelin Guide, and quite rightly so! It is also included in our guide to the best fine dining in Chiang Mai.




The Dining Room

Meanwhile, breakfast is presented, buffet-style in The Dining Room. You can also take afternoon tea in the old house parlour room, or in the tropical gardens. Private dining arrangements can be made via the concierge.

The breakfast buffet features a mix of Western, Thai, and Chinese dishes, along with fresh juices and nutritious elixirs. Additionally, made-to-order items including eggs are cooked fresh to guests liking.

Jack Bain’s Bar

The speakeasy-style bar was named after the house’s last residential inhabitant, an illustrious Indiana Jones-type character. Inspired by the Gentleman’s Clubs of yesterday, the bar serves exquisite cocktails, premium whisky, champagne and bespoke spirits. It features grand liquor cabinets, a leather button-panelled bar front with a traditional leather armrest and a copper top. Settle in for the night with a game of backgammon, a cigar and a cognac and listen to the grand piano playing in the lounge area drift through into the bar.

Pool and Gym

Tucked away the sleek 25-meter lap pool really has a wow factor thanks to its stunning vertical plant wall. The pool area is adorned with inviting sunbeds on the deck and private relaxation pavilions, draped in luxurious silk curtains, Whilst complimentary mineral water, and refreshing cold towels are on hand.

Nitra Serenity Centre

Wellness is a core part of the 137 Pillars experience. Take a Tai Chi, Yoga or Pilates class, or spend time at the teak wood-panelled gym. Spa treatments use organic ingredients and are designed to leave you feeling energised and full of vitality, bringing together the mind and body in harmony. Try a sandalwood wrap, a Sleep by Design massage, reiki or a Sukhothai Surrender.

Final Thoughts

Elegant, peaceful, and unreservedly glamorous, 137 Pillars House expertly combines its rich historical heritage with modern colonial-style suites. Ideally located just a short stroll away from Chiang Mai’s centre, this sumptuous boutique retreat offers an ideal base for exploring the local attractions while ensuring a luxurious and comfortable stay. We loved it so much that we have included it in our guide to the best luxury hotels in Chiang Mai.

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