InterContinental Chiang Mai Mae Ping puts local experiences at the centre

With months to go before its opening at summer’s end, the new InterContinental Chiang Mai Mae Ping in Thailand is finalising a series of experiences that will connect its guests with Chiang Mai’s arts, culture, history and natural scenery.

Speaking to TTG Asia at a media preview in Singapore on April 25, general manager, Peter Pottinga, said the property would be more than just a hotel for travellers to Chiang Mai.

InterContinental Chiang Mai Mae Ping has built a range of guest experiences that present the best of the destination; Tha-Pae Gate, pictured

“Chiang Mai may not be the most well-known Thai destination, but it has so much to offer. At the same time, some of the best experiences may not be widely listed. And so, my team has curated a wide range of local experiences that will build wonderful and unique memories for travellers who visit,” said Pottinga.

His team is working with “reputable third parties” in designing these destination experiences, and priority is given to operators who possess a deep knowledge of Chiang Mai and can present authentic and quality experiences.

Experiences on offer for now include pottery workshops, sunrise balloon flights, treasure hunts on bikes, and visits to art museums and galleries.

“We intend to keep building our range of experiences. We are now looking to hire a full-time Cultural Host, whose job is to identify exciting and meaningful experiences in Chiang Mai and then build all that into programmes for our guests,” he revealed.

The hunt for this individual is now on, and the incumbent will be tasked with organising exhibitions at the hotel, curating art displays reflecting the best of the city, putting together events showcasing talented local musicians, and working with the local community to curate standout guest experiences.

Pottinga is also keen to engage topical experts, such as professors or students in the field of local history, architecture or art, to lead guests on tours. “These people will be able to provide a more colourful narration than your usual tour guide who (repeat findings) from a book,” he remarked.

InterContinental Chiang Mai Mae Ping is determined to support local people and businesses within the hotel as well, such as through a retail gallery that carries handicraft and products made by local social enterprises, and sourcing food items from local producers.

“As the hotel is designed to be a living museum that showcases local culture and heritage, our guests will also have much to see by just exploring our grounds,” he said, pointing to the 600-year-old temple, Wat Chang Kong, which is conserved on site as an example.

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