Chiang Mai got off to a rough start when our 5 star hotel turned out to be a 2 star health hazard.

We booked an hotel touted for its proximity to the night bazaar and 5 star status plus its cooking school offering.

On arrival, we were immediately alarmed and disappointed by the appearance of our hotel. While the staff was very welcoming and pleasant, the formerly beautiful reception carpet had large visible stains likely from years of being walked on. It looked like it’s never been replaced since the inception of the hotel >10 years ago.

One could tell that the decor was formerly glorious but now aged, worn and in disrepair. We exchanged looks but carried on with Check in.

After Check in we proceeded upstairs to our “deluxe club room”. The hallways were dark and dimly lit, dingy and reminiscent of the hallway from an episode in “the shining”.

Of course, it’s dimly lit because there’s lots to hide that they hope you don’t notice.

In the room, the carpets and furniture was tattered and you could see the frayed pillow fabric that’s beginning to unravel. That would have been somewhat tolerable except that the odor was equally overwhelming. It was a combination of dust, mildew and mold.

We threw the one window open as soon as we were left alone and hoped that would help but …. no.

Sadly, we sat on the chair and frantically began to comb the web for alternatives. There was no way we would sleep here. We couldn’t breathe and couldn’t risk developing breathing difficulties from exposure to allergens and mold in the air.

We combed traveler pictures of hotels on trip advisor and they told a different story from the hotel pictures of many hotels. We concluded that Chiang Mai is an old town with many old and worn hotels in dire need of upgrades despite their “5 star ratings”. A very far cry from our Bangkok hotel experience.

Finally we found a new hotel far away from everything, looked modern and seemed recently built. There were few reviews, risky, but worth a try because we were determined not to spend any nights in our 5 star scam.

Finally, we booked and moved to that hotel on the far side of town and lost all the money paid in full to our original hotel as it was non refundable. We figured it was better to minimize our losses to financial ones and not add health problems in a foreign country.

We however came back for our non refundable cooking class with the Chef and that was fun.

All in all, we hope that the rest of our time here is fun and enjoyable with no more snafus!

On the upside, everything seems cheaper here than Bangkok. Let the shopping begin!!