This resort in Northern Thailand sets standards because it skillfully combines exuberant luxury with regional traditions and styles. The fairytale Lanna architecture of Chiang Mai is brilliantly reflected in the hotel’s structures, which in turn are harmoniously integrated into the landscape. Three 18-hole golf courses near the resort will keep even the most demanding golfers entertained. The Green Valley Country Club is not only long but also replete with bunkers and water hazards. The undulating greens are particularly challenging at the Royal Chiang Mai Golf Resort, while at the fairly new Chiang Mai Highlands Golf Club, the best is saved for last at hole 18, a formidable par 5. Back at the hotel spa, the Royal Thai Ceremony is three and a half hours of pure indulgence. After so much R&R, those who don’t want to miss out on city life should dive into the hubbub of Chiang Mai’s famous night bazaar.