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WHY? More than a hotel, this 60-acre resort, inspired by an ancient Lanna palace and grounds, is like a small city, with mod-cons-packed luxury villas overlooking paddy fields, a temple-like spa and even a crafts centre and cookery school.
WHERE? Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Travel overnight from Bangkok aboard the opulent Eastern & Oriental Express and watch the landscape change from city sprawl to jungle from the comfort of the observation deck.
STAYING IN The jaw-dropping spa, modelled on a Mandalay palace, is a destination in itself and the treatments – including Ayurvedic, Thai and Western therapies – are second to none. Try a Watsu pool treatment, where you're guided through water by a masseur. It feels as if you're dancing on air. When you've been pampered to within an inch of your life, indulge your culinary senses at Le Grand Lanna, a tree-house-style Thai restaurant where branches weave between the tables, and even the humble chicken satay is raised to gastronomic heights.
OUT AND ABOUT Visit one of the local elephant sanctuaries, and take a ride upstream atop a majestic animal to a remote tribal village hidden in the lush jungle surroundings.
STYLE STEAL Combine highly polished dark-wood floorboards with creamy-white paints for the ultimate in colonial-style chic.
MORE INFO From £2,580 per person (with two people sharing). Based on 16 September 2008 departure. Includes: two nights (room only) at The Oriental Bangkok in a Superior River Wing room, one night (full board) in a State Cabin on the Eastern & Oriental Express, six nights (room only) at Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi in a Colonial room, return flight from London Heathrow (British Airways economy), one-way flight and private car transfers from Chiang Mai to Bangkok (Thai Airways). 01244 897515, elegantresorts.co.uk.

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