Azaya Villas, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand.
A hotel is usually a gateway to your travel destination, but when the hotel is the Azaya Villas, you may find yourself lacking the motivation you need to lock the door behind you.
At least that's how I felt after walking through the gates at Azaya the first time. I'm not sure whether I was hooked by the sweeping infinity pool, the jungle setting, or the fact that a team of Thai chefs whipped up meals in our own private kitchen whenever we felt famished, but I can tell you that this is, hands down, one of the best hotel experiences in the world.
There were parts of our 3-bedroom villa I didn't even visit, so busy was I in the pool (I saved a scorpion from drowning on the second day and occupied myself with his recovery). Also on the Azaya grounds are a gym, a spa, mountain bike path, and a host of other services and facilities you have to experience for yourself. Few people see Thailand this way, but if you ever head north, I suggest you give Azaya a look.
Low-season rates at Azaya are surprisingly good value, and a long-term stay of a week or more offers further savings.