We made Panviman Resort the second stop on our Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai combination trip. After spending 3 days in the old city of Chiang Mai, we were ready for something different, so we headed up into the mountains about an hour away to relax at Panviman!
Panviman Resort offered the most expensive accommodations on this trip. In fact, it was one of the most expensive rooms we ever rented in Thailand at 8700 baht per night or almost 300 dollars for their pool villa! They did have less expensive rooms, but we opted for this one, since it looked so awesome on their website pictures.
We arrived, parked at the base of the resort and were chauffeured up to reception via a golf cart. This became a regular occurrence throughout our stay, since the resort was built up a very steep mountain side and walking very challenging. Walking down was already hard, but walking up was almost impossible… Fortunately, the resort had an army of guys moving people about and we never had to wait for a car for more than 15 seconds… literally!
We had a simple check-in and were shown to our room. What a let-down! Where was the glorious room shown in the pictures? Instead, ours did not have a wonderful view, just a bunch of trees surrounding it and blocking the panoramic view we had hoped for… Additionally, the room was super old and worn to death. It looked like Dracula’s digs in Thailand! We had to complain since the room was also dirty and we at least requested it be cleaned before we settled in. Several cleaners showed up immediately, but they did not do much. We gave up and just unpacked with a sigh. We were not feeling great about things at this point, for sure!
So, our room was nice probably 30 years ago. Now, it was just mildew smelling and everything functional was broken. The shower was broken. The toilet lever had to be held down for more than a full minute (no exaggeration) to flush. The private pool was filthy and full of dead floating insects. It was really an embarrassment and we have no idea why Panviman Resort would give us a room like this when they knew we were there to review it! We let the negative feelings go and just moved on with an open mind. It’s good we did, since things got better from there…
Let’s discuss the great things about Panviman Resort, instead of focusing so much on the bad…
First, the natural environment is stunning. The grounds are huge and feature great places to walk in nature, an organic farm, a game area, an outdoor exercise trail, a amazing multilevel pool complex and various ponds and streams full of fish, birds and insects. If you love nature and nice panoramic views across the mountains, you will love this place! The main buildings were in much better condition than our room. In fact, they were pristine and beautiful! Whoever laid out this resort did a stellar job, since it really took advantage of all nature provided to create a wow factor!
We ate breakfast each day at Panviman Resort and had dinner there the first evening. Breakfast was very good, with lots of seating, lots of food options and great flavors. No complaints about breakfast at all. It was a real pleasure. Dinner was ok, but the food service was extremely awkward. The staff did not know what they had and what they did not have on the menu in English or in Thai. Everything we asked for, they had to check to see if it was available or not. Although it was really not professional, the staff did try hard to make us happy and we really did appreciate that effort.
We loved shooting pictures and videos on the property at Panviman Resort. We soon made ourselves feel better about the room by saying that we hired the place as a photo set and got the room for free. It was an inside joke, but it made us laugh! We also liked exploring the nearby community and found some cool stuff to do nearby on the second day we were there.
The thing we loved most about Panviman was their huge hot tub Jacuzzi. This is a rare find in Thailand and their mineral bath tub was heated to a wonderful 37 degrees Celsius or about 98 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather was cool and the swimming pool was utterly freezing! However, after a dip in the wonderful tub, we had the courage to swim in the freezing pool and it was great! We hate to miss our daily swim for any reason…
So, by the time we left, we felt pretty good about Panviman Resort. We had a great time there, despite our epic fail of a room! Our advice would be to get their cheapest room. This way, you enjoy all the good things about the resort without paying an exorbitant price for the conditions we dealt with. This would be the smart move, for sure!
Our suggestion to the resort would be two fold: First, since you are charging basically $300 USD a night for your good rooms, please renovate them. They NEED it!!! Seriously!!! Next, when a travel brand is reviewing your resort, you might want to do a better job dealing with these people. Trust us… we are being incredibly kind in this review! Far kinder than we SHOULD be based on the conditions. We do not have to be this kind, but we are VERY NICE people… Fix these issues and Panviman Resort would be a world-class place, but as it stands now, not so much…
As an aside, lots of former guests complained that there was nothing to do around Panviman and nowhere else to go to eat or shop. We have no idea what they are talking about, because the resort is located in a vibrant small town with tons of restaurants and easy shopping within a very short drive. Maybe these people did not have a car, which would make Panviman a bit difficult to leave… If you are driving, disregard any negative comments about location you may read, since there is plenty to do nearby.
Check out our video review of Panviman Chiang Mai.