This is not a hotel; it is a veritable kingdom. Built in the style of an ancient city, complete with city walls, gates, a moat, a watchtower and even an amphitheatre, the whole experience at the Dhara Dhevi is like no other. But the resort is not only a wonder to explore, it's also a super-luxurious retreat.

Check in to one of the opulent Grand Deluxe Villas for a seriously spoilt stay. Set over two floors, with large terraces on both, plus a plunge pool, they are every bit as impressive as the main buildings that are just a buggy-ride away. There's no shortage of things to do within this kingdom. The library holds more than 5,000 books and 2,000 DVDs, and then there's the lavish spa, the cookery school, two swimming pools, and even a traditional Thai shopping village.

For the more outdoorsy, a day of elephant trekking in the spectacular mountains of Chiang Mai is a must; or try riding a buffalo (yes, it is possible) or planting rice in the resort's very own paddies. There's also plenty of choice when it comes to dining. Choose from exquisite Thai, Chinese and French restaurants; the Thai option, Le Grand Lanna, has even hosted the King. It's easy to be bowled over by what the hotel has to offer aesthetically, but it's also important to note that beneath the awe-inspiring façade, toils a dedicated team who will go to any lengths to make your stay even more enchanting.

WOW FACTOR The cake shop, managed by Belgian pastry chef Fabrice Leblus, could rival Ladurée.

FLIGHT TIME 12hrs to Bangkok; 1hr to Chiang Mai  

GO The Turquoise Holiday Company www.turquoiseholidays.co.uk offers four nights from £1,535 per person, B&B. Includes flights and transfers

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