Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Howie's Homestay, Chiang Mai, Thailand

My recent sojourn throughout the North and South of Thailand (my first) was full of surprises from exceptional expats, although perhaps none as enriching as my short stay at Howie's. The Homestay, located about 30 minutes outside of Chiang Mai is a custom built private villa in the foothills of the national reserve it is off of and was the fruit of seven years of work and many millions of dollars. The gorgeously landscaped site, designed by Thai resident and American architect Bill Bensley (he built the next door Four Seasons), embraces the local Lanna style of architecture and comports a main villas and a few attendant bungalows, a lily pad pond, pagoda and infinity pool with mountain views. The name, a riff on the Northern Thai city's many backpacker hostels, belies one of the most luxurious and comfortable "hotels" in the country. Howie, a Boston born businessman who has been living in Thailand for more than 20 years, is a perfect companion, and the entire complex, including their personal kitchen, fridges, etc are open to visitors. Howie's advice on the surrounding region is priceless and the delicate, generous home cooking from his wife, Jerri, perhaps the best we tasted on our trip. Believe me, it's worth going to Thailand just to experience this.