Elegant, peaceful and unreservedly beautiful, 137 Pillars House is a stunning all-suite boutique hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with a rich colonial past. The gorgeous teak building – the former 19-century headquarters of The Borneo Company – has been exquisitely restored to its former glory. The undoubted air of sophistication at 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai is in part due to the nostalgic blend of historic Thai architecture and the modern comforts of a contemporary hotel. Each of the 30 elegantly designed suites comes with vintage tiled verandas, cane shades, rattan furniture and free-standing Victorian baths that are reminders of days gone by. With delicious dining, an exquisite spa, a striking pool and verdant gardens, 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai offers the ultimate in boutique luxury.
With an air of unhurried luxury, 137 Pillars House evokes an Old World charm and elegance. Set in stunning gardens, the all-suite hotel has been built around the original colonial teak homestead that dates back to the late 1800s. Once The Borneo Company’s headquarters, the gorgeous wood building has been meticulously restored to its original architectural beauty.
The luxury boutique hotel has 30 splendorous suites featuring a nostalgic atmosphere of the historic building’s rich colonial past. Their striking high-ceiling interiors are fitted with free-standing Victorian bathtubs, indoor and outdoor showers, four-poster beds with fine bed linen, signature-design rocking chairs, and vintage-tiled verandahs for complete authenticity.
With its lush greenery and carefully crafted facilities, 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai offers an elevated experience of elegance and immense beauty.
From sumptuous breakfasts to Thai-Asian and international dishes and 6-course Chef’s menus, dining is an impressive affair. The hotel’s range of dining options includes two exquisitely decorated restaurants that serve authentic Thai and Asian dishes using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients alongside Western favourites. Guests can enjoy classic afternoon tea in The Parlour. Enjoy pastries, sandwiches, and sweet and savoury delights served with the finest blended teas – topped off with a glass of champagne if you wish.
Jack Bain’s Bar – named after a former resident at the property – recreates the ambience of a gentlemen’s club – discrete service, handcrafted Old World classic and contemporary cocktails combining artfully selected boutique spirits and delicious bar bites.
Relax and unwind at the hotel’s exquisite spa or maintain your workout routine in the fully-equipped gym. The Nitra Serenity Centre is where you will find a contemporary spa treatment menu of traditional Thai therapeutic massages and rejuvenating skin and beauty treatments.
The outdoor area’s star amenity is the 25-metres long pool, flanked by a fleet of loungers and a stunning 12-metre high wall of verdant plants.
137 Pillars House is situated in one of Chiang Mai’s most stylish areas near the Ping River. It is close to boutique art galleries, antique shops, coffee houses, riverside bars and within easy reach of this historic city’s many temples.
Beyond impressive, 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai is one of the best boutique hotels in Thailand.
137 Pillars House is beautiful, and beautiful in a way only history can portray it. It is an articulation of a story that is entwined with heritage and culture whilst being graciously chronicled. From the foreign beginnings of the house to its transformation into a boutique hotel, the history is fascinating.
Originally built towards the end of the 19th century, the central teak house was a late addition to the private estate of Anna Leonowens, the English governess to the family of King Mongkut (Rama IV) of Siam, made famous by the novel Anna and the King of Siam translated into the film as The King and I in 1956. It was briefly the home of her son Louis before becoming the headquarters of the Borneo Trading Company from 1889 until World War II. Following the war, the building was sold to Scottish businessman William Bain who, in turn, passed it to his son, Jack.
Jack Bain gave 137 Pillars House its name when a publisher wanted to write about “the house with the most number of pillars”. At the time, the importance and wealth of a family in Chiang Mai were often measured by the size of their Lanna-style Thai house and, in particular, how many pillars the house had. The more pillars, the more significant you were. Thus the name of the boutique hotel comes from the fact that it has exactly 137 pillars.
In 2012, 137 Pillars House was converted into a small luxury boutique hotel by a Bangkokian family who fell in love with the property. Nods are given to its Borneo Trading Company headquarter roots in framed photographs and suite categories named after the former enterprise’s founders.
Suites at 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai
As an all-suite boutique hotel, the 30 suites at 137 Pillars House offer an exquisite design full of character and flair to have a true sense of luxury in this blissful haven.
The suites’ colonial-inspired interiors ooze history, tradition, and bygone era elegance while offering the finest in modern amenities. Large rooms and high ceilings evoke an aura of indulgence and quiet refinement.
Stunning four-poster or super-king beds add to the impeccable design and historical richness of each suite whilst delivering supreme levels of comfort. The suites offer sizeable bathrooms with twin basins, free-standing roll-top baths, separate indoor/outdoor garden showers, and dressing rooms with walk-in closets. For unforgettable moments of relaxation outdoors, each suite features private al fresco living spaces with vintage tiled flooring and comfortable, hand-crafted furniture overlooking tropical gardens. With premium spirits, an espresso coffee machine, and a kettle, the trolley cart is a beautiful addition to each suite. All the suites come with Egyptian cotton bed linens, an extensive pillow menu and Sealy Posturepedic Premier Ultra Plus mattresses.
Named after the founders of the Borneo Trading Co., the generously scaled suites in the sublime collection are available in five distinctive categories, with Louis Leonowens Pool Suite shining as the pièce de résistance:
LOUIS LEONOWENS POOL SUITE- 135m2: Comprising a vast living room – boasting a large and stunning living room with cosy sofas and armchairs – that leads to the dazzling bedroom and on to the ever-so glamorous bathroom, past the garden rain shower, to the room’s crown jewel, the private 5.5 × 2.5 metre plunge pool. The elegant bedroom, with French doors, overlooks the infinity pool, the garden wall and the historic homestead. Beyond a large walk-in closet and a generously sized dressing area, the expansive en-suite bathroom with twin washbasins includes a sunken bath overlooking tropical foliage and separate indoor and outdoor garden showers.
WILLIAM BAIN TERRACE SUITE- 100m2: Overlooking the historical homestead, the infinity pool and the garden wall from the upper floor, the stylish suite extends to a generous living room with a writing desk and couch. The sumptuous veranda overlooks the tropical gardens with cane shades for privacy, a rattan planter’s chair and a plush day bed. Beyond a large walk-in closet and expansive dressing area, the en-suite bathroom with twin washbasins includes a sunken bathtub overlooking tropical foliage and separate indoor and outdoor garden showers.
DAVID FLEMING MACFIE SUITE – 80m2: This two-room suite provides a luxurious haven and spacious living area for families or couples wanting additional living space. A key feature is the tropical open-air conservatory. This adjoining conservatory includes a customised divan, planter’s rocking chair and cane shades for privacy. This versatile area can be enclosed, air-conditioned and transformed from an open-air living space during the day to a private sleeping area at night. Beyond a large walk-in closet and expansive dressing area, the en-suite bathroom with twin washbasins includes a free-standing traditional Victorian bathtub and separate indoor and outdoor garden showers.
EAST BORNEO SUITES-75m2: The super-king bed or twin bedded suite with a writing desk extends to the gorgeous veranda overlooking tropical gardens with cane shades for privacy, a rattan planter’s chair and a plush day bed. Beyond a large walk-in closet and expansive dressing area, the en-suite bathroom features twin washbasins, a free-standing Victorian bathtub and separate indoor and outdoor garden showers.
RAJAH BROOKE SUITES – 70m2: These suites offer lovely private tiled verandas overlooking the tropical gardens and can be put together for families as interconnecting suites. The cane shades offer additional privacy on the oversized verandas decorated with a rattan planter’s chair and a plush day bed. The Rajah Brooke suites feature the hotel’s signature free-standing Victorian claw baths and indoor and outdoor private garden showers.
Restaurant & bars at 137 Pillars House
Whether you are looking for a casual breakfast or lunch, afternoon tea, drinks or the ultimate in dinner experiences, guests can indulge in a variety of culinary experiences.
Enjoy handcrafted classic and contemporary cocktails at Jack Bain’s Bar and savour fine dining at Palette. For the finest Thai and Lanna cuisine with organic ingredients, visit the Dining Room. All meals are served within the original 137 Pillars House, a beautiful setting that will take you back in time.
PALETTE RESTAURANT: Suffused with a refined atmosphere, the intimate dining room is beautifully embellished with an ornate teak wood ceiling. Here, the best-quality, farm-to-table ingredients are the foundation for creating exquisitely flavoured, delicious Thai-Asian dishes alongside Western favourites. If you want to experience the very best Palette has to offer, then you simply must go for the tasting menu, a 6-course culinary feast using the best seasonal produce and ingredients.
THE DINING ROOM: The dining room is wonderfully set in a classic wooden area shaded by shutters and surrounded by a veranda. The Dining Room serves fabulous Thai-Asian cuisine and Western cuisine for lunch and dinner – both al fresco and indoors. The menus feature ingredients sourced from the Royal Projects and local farmers’ harvests.
Guests are utterly spoiled for choice with everything the hotel’s tempting harvest breakfast table has to offer. The comprehensive breakfast is among the best in Chiang Mai: the buffet contains Western, Thai and Chinese foods with an assortment of fresh juices and healthy elixirs, while the cooked-to-order menu may include crab meat omelettes, buttermilk quinoa pancakes and traditional Thai congee.
JACK BAIN’S BAR: The Jack Bain’s Bar, named after a Scot and former resident who helped run the Borneo Company, distinctly echoes a bygone era of traditional gentleman’s clubs with potent classic cocktails and tropical glam. Cosy up at this beautifully wood-lined bar and enjoy crafted colonial- and Asian-inspired cocktails, premium whiskeys, sabered champagne (the bar is the Chiang Mai branch of the Confrerie de Sabre D’Or) and bespoke spirits. The clubby library-bar also features a curated collection of books about old Chiang Mai. Coffee, tea and light bites are available all day, too, with a choice of welcoming sofas or elegant armchairs.
AFTERNOON TEA: Guests can enjoy an elegant Classic Afternoon Tea with 137 Pillars’ signature tea blends. Tuck into a selection of scrumptious sandwiches, savoury delights and sweet treats, optionally accompanied by sabered champagne. The classic high tea is served in the Parlour Lounge, a welcoming, shuttered space dotted with blue-hued seats and ceramic side tables. Or, if you prefer airy to cosy, take it outside to the tropical gardens or the lovely pool deck.
PRIVATE DINING: Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and late-night supper – timed to suit the individual needs of our guests. Order the signature 137 Pillars House picnic with champagne for adventures on the river or in the jungle.
Spa & wellness
137 Pillars House Chiang Mai offers a complete area dedicated to wellness and fitness that was designed to put focus on your well-being: cultivate your mind, balance your body and relax your soul. From swimming in the hotel’s beautiful lap pool to exercising in its modern gym, choosing to be pampered in the sublime Nitra Serenity Centre, or spending time meditating or practising yoga, this tropical oasis will recharge your mind, body and spirit.
NITRA SERENITY CENTRE: For guests who love to be pampered and make sure physical relaxation is complemented by a sense of inner peace, the spa offers a modern treatment menu rooted in Thai health and wellness traditions. Allow yourself to fully unwind with a choice of massages and cutting-edge skin and beauty treatments. Alternatively, have the therapists draw up a comprehensive treatment plan tailored entirely to you. The spa’s ingredients include organic products made in Thailand.
POOL: Picture-perfect and serene, the hotel pool boasts a striking setting with a jaw-dropping 12-metre high garden wall lined with vines and plants. Take a refreshing dip or power through some laps in the sparkling 25-metre pool. Afterwards, relax in the tempting sunbeds dotting the decking. You can order cocktails, fresh juices, light refreshments and culinary delights from the hotel menu without leaving your sun lounger. Centuries-old trees shade the gardens, with indigenous flowers and plants lining the stone paths.
GYM: For exercise enthusiasts, there is also a well-equipped 24-hour gym. The air-conditioned facility is equipped with a modern multi-station free unit and free weights, plus computer-controlled cardio-vascular equipment including treadmills, an elliptical trainer and an exercise bike. There is also a studio for yoga, pilates and Thai Chi. Classes can be arranged upon request.
Experiences in Chiang Mai
Gourmets can learn to whip up Thai treats at the hotel’s small cooking school or look out for regularly scheduled events on the lawn, including Thai music and dancing, cultural lectures and cocktail parties.
Beyond the hotel, there is so much to see and do. From its artistic past that shines through in gilded temples to the hipster present that can be seen in modern galleries and artisan coffee shops, Chiang Mai charms like no other place. It is steeped in history, and you can spend hours wandering around the beautiful temples and thriving night markets in the Old Town. Surrounded by lush green countryside, pristine rainforests, country villages, rice paddies, and elephant sanctuaries, Chiang Mai is also a great base for some exciting excursions.
The local Wat Gate area is worth exploring by foot or bike, with its legacy of European architecture from the days when this was the dedicated residential enclave for foreigners. The result is historic buildings such as 137 Pillars House, grouped around the Khar Ram Temple, still an active centre for monks. For culture enthusiasts, visit the Wat Gate Khar Ram Museum on the same site, displaying Lanna (northern Thai) royal costumes, ancient coins, pottery and vintage black-and-white photos.
For a truly unique shopping experience, One Nimman is the place to go. This is where shopping, art, culture and contemporary meet. In the hip and trendy Nimmanhaemin neighbourhood you will find One Nimman, a lifestyle mall concept that is home to numerous shops, art galleries, cafes, restaurants and bars. The architecturally beautiful building encompasses an easily walkable area that is artistically and creatively very Chiang Mai.
Golfers can tee off at the scenic Chiang Mai Highlands Golf Course. Set in the foothills east of Chiang Mai, the stunning 27-hole championship golf course provides golfers with the additional pleasure of magnificent mountain views on every hole.
For modern art lovers, do not miss the MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum. The space showcases culturally influential Thai modern art in a sophisticated minimalist house turned warehouse with a striking reflective exterior 20 minutes outside of downtown Chiang Mai. Inside the 2-storey space is a mix of rotating and permanent exhibits from the personal collections of Jean Michel Beurdeley and his late wife Patsri Bunnag, together with their son Eric Bunnag Booth. The collection includes works from some of the country’s most respected contemporary artists like Kamin Lertchaiprasert and the late Montien Boonma. The thought-provoking, innovative works of the 3,000-square-metre museum have helped cement Chiang Mai as an international arts destination.
Location & how to get to 137 Pillars House
Located on the Ping River’s east bank, the hotel sits in a secluded residential area in Chiang Mai’s leafy Wat Gate district, yet it is a mere 2-minute walk from a host of the Wat Gate area’s charming boutique galleries, quaint shops, great restaurants and riverside bars. The old city can be reached by car — or tuk-tuk — in less than ten minutes. The Wat Ket Karam temple and its towering bronze-clad chedi are a few hundred steps away.
This luxury boutique hotel in Chiang Mai enjoys a convenient location with easy access:
BY AIR: Fly into Chiang Mai’s international airport, 90 minutes north-west of the capital Bangkok, which receives domestic and regional flights from Phuket, Singapore, Hong Kong and Luang Prabang, among others. 137 Pillars House is just seven kilometres away, or a 15-minute drive, from the airport.
BY TRAIN: Bangkok to Chiang Mai is the most enticing rail journey in the country. Around six trains rattle up this 10- or 12-hour route each day, providing ever-changing landscape views.
Book 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai
Looking for a colonial and heritage hotel in Chiang Mai?
As one of Chiang Mai’s most luxurious hotels, the boutique hotel 137 Pillars House transports guests into a bygone era, a sanctuary where tropical luxury meets colonial elegance.
The 137 Pillars House experience is unique – it encompasses luxury, beauty, relaxation, well-being, excellent food, fine architecture, kind people… Steeped in tradition and tranquillity, it is an escape from the everyday.