While most hotels in Chiang Mai are near the airport, Villa Duang Champa stands proudly on Ratchadamnern Road, in the middle of the city's walled area known as Srivijaya ward.
The privately owned villa has 10 rooms on four floors, each furnished to create a different old-world feel. The environment speaks of a well-preserved family house - a place where generations have lived and left their mark.
Walking along the old hallways, the rooms are denoted by a subtle bronze number inset in the brown patterned flooring. Each room includes a spacious en-suite bathroom with a bath and shower.
The standard deluxe rooms include a living room. Some rooms have their own spacious balcony, with a comfortable sofa. The top-rated grand deluxe rooms face the back of the villa, which overlooks the owner's house, and a temple to the left. None of the rooms are noisy, but the Grand Deluxe rooms are shielded from sounds from the road outside.
The place is full of small touches that make it easy to imagine living here, such as the daily fresh flowers in each room, and the antique furniture which adorns the villa from top to bottom. The only reminder of modern life is the free Wi-fi, available throughout, and the televisions.
The staff are friendly and helpful, and if you stay a few days, you will get to know them. The ground floor houses a dining and bar area with a spiral staircase leading to an open area on the first floor at the front of the house. The reception area is accented in duck egg blue, while the staircase, wooden tables, chairs, and counters create warmth.
The side of the house offers an open-air sala, a good spot to meet fellow travellers, while watching the world go by on Ratchadamnern Road.
The back of the ground floor leads to a canopied sala, complete with a hammock - another area for guests to congregate, eat, and relax beneath the trees. The mosquitoes are peckish at night here, so make sure you bring repellent.
Breakfast consists of a simple offering of toast, eggs, bacon, and coffee or tea, although a wider breakfast menu is also available. The main menu offers a small range of tasty treats, like Phaneang curry, basil chicken and stir-fried vegetable.
There are limited vegetarian options, but the kitchen is clean, and guests can look through the window to see what's being made. A typical Thai iced latte, sweetened with condensed milk, is particularly good.
For those who practice yoga, there is a purpose-built bamboo house at the back of the hotel. Hatha classes are held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, taught in English by mostly local teachers.
This quaint guesthouse is a personalised, appealing place for those who want to feel at home for an affordable rate. It's a well-located and convenient base for exploring the city, and a comfortable residence for those who want to stay put and relax.
Villa Duang Champa
82 Ratchadamnoen Road, Sri Phoom, Muang, Chiang Mai
From 2,400 baht (HK$595) for a Superior room (inc breakfast)
Dragonair flies direct to Chiang Mai four times a week. Airport transfer – 200 baht per person.