“It’s next to the gramophone!”
It’s not exactly a sentence that is often helpful while travelling around Asia.
Welcome to Reverie Siam Resort in Pai. A resort styled on the roaring twenties, that somehow seamlessly blends jazz into the rolling hills of Mae Hong Son in Northern Thailand. Pai may be famous for its
hippie laid-back culture, but this is relaxation on another level.
Despite a try at the “7 pillars of eco tourism” for Pai by the Thai Tourism Board, a search for eco-friendly places to stay in Pai does not yield much joy. It was more happenstance than anything else that led me to Reverie Siam.
Sometimes the best places to stay are the ones that don’t shout about what they are doing to give back to the environment and the community, but just get on with doing… just that. The challenge can be finding them in the first place!
A Luxury Resort with a Big Heart
Reverie Siam is the creation of a British – Thai couple and first opened in summer 2012. It’s a small resort with just over twenty rooms. Walking into the resort feels like walking into a garden oasis: the result of just a couple of years of natural growth, the resort is surrounded by grasses, gardens, a natural swimming area that looks like a pond, and grass that gently slopes down to the riverside where the evenings are filled with the sounds of live music and the melancholic tones of a saxophone gliding up into the air.
The heart really comes in with the people who work at Reverie though. Many of the team started as construction workers, building the resort. They stayed on as gardeners or were trained as housekeepers by Reverie. As opposed to looking outside to hire, Reverie prefers to hire from within its team of dedicated staff.
Others who started as gardeners have been taught basic English and trained to be porters and doormen, while pot washers in the kitchen have been trained and progressed to be junior cooks. This is hotel school and hospitality training in action in Pai—an opportunity which would be available to few of the locals otherwise. Above all, Reverie operates as a community—and that is evident from walking around the resort.
Operating in an area bordering Myanmar, there are many ethnic groups in the area who do not get full Thai status, privileges or even levels of pay in other organisations. Reverie treats all its team members equally, allowing those who come from minority groups to enjoy equal compensation.
Being quietly “Eco”
Nothing goes to waste at Reverie Siam. I couldn’t manage all of my (yummy) breakfast, but I didn’t feel guilty because I knew that the leftovers would be taken home by one of the kitchen team to his family’s pig farm for the pigs. The resort recycles everything – from glass bottles and plastics to leftover cooking oil.
Beyond the recycling efforts, Reverie employs natural salt water treatment for both of its pools, meaning far less use of chlorine. The resort has it’s own water treatment system too.
Staying at Reverie Siam
Accommodation. Reverie has 20 rooms across 4 different room types ranging from garden view rooms up to Villas. I was lucky enough to stay in a Villa which was an incredible experience: complete with spa bath big enough for about 4 people (not that I tried!) overlooking the gardens and mountains. Regardless of room type, all rooms have huge (often four-poster) beds with some of the softest linen I’ve ever slept in. The rooms are filled with tasteful vintage touches—from olde style telephones, to early twentieth century literature, to the famous gramophone.
Meals. Silhouette is Reverie Siam’s main restaurant which serves international and asian fare iand a selection of tapas-style platters including imported (but oh-so-yummy) Italian meats and cheeses. Evening pre-dinner cocktails are the best part had down at the ‘Riverside’—a beautiful wooden platform setup by the edge of the river complete with comfortable easy chairs and plenty of pillows. Sipping a G&T while listening to live classic jazz and watching the stars appear will go down into my top memories of Thailand.
Facilities. Reverie Siam has two pools, the riverside and enough team members to bring you cool drinks all day long should you desire it. When I arrived I know I did not feel like leaving at all! That said, Pai has plenty to offer from the yummy and good value night market for eats, to watching the sunset at the famous Canyon, and different hot springs around the town. Reverie offers a complimentary shuttle service to and from the town centre.
Getting there and away. Pai is easily reached from Chiang Mai by car or motorcycle (about a 3 hour journey). The scenery on the way from Chiang Mai is stunning and the road is good—so I highly recommend this trip! Once in Pai, Reverie is less than 2km from the centre of Pai.
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Lasting Impressions of Reverie Siam.
Reverie Siam resort stuck out to me for doing its bit for its staff and feeling like a family project. Being a small resort, and even though I only stayed for one night, it felt like I’d become a part of that family if only for a moment. Because of the kindness and attention of the staff.
I had one major problem with Reverie Siam: that I had to leave. I could have whiled away days here relaxing by the riverside and sleeping in those soft sheets. So that, I think, is proof: that the relaxed 20’s atmosphere of this place will get to you—and sweep you off into a reverie.
For more information, or to check rates and availability at Reverie Siam, please head over to their website.
A Londoner by birth Ellie has lived in the UK, Netherlands, India and now Canada. Prior to blogging, she worked for 12 years in hospitality and online travel. Ellie started this blog during a sabbatical trip in 2015 around South Asia, to help conscious travellers find the best inspiration for their next sustainable trip. When not travelling, she is happiest with wine, pasta and a good (travel) book. Ellie is also Founder of Soul Travel Consulting which helps travel brands communicate their sustainability initiatives.