DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT
Although the first ever condominium project to grace downtown Chiang Mai was completed in 1985, it wasn’t until the economic boom of the early nineties that condo developments really took off here and, as it happens, the very period during which Floral condo officially opened its doors. Constructed to exacting standards at the hands of a developer from the Land of the Rising Sun in league with a firm of Thai architects from Bangkok, the landmark high-rise with its enduring modernist style and robust earthquake-resistant framework was, in its day, the very embodiment of unadulterated luxury and contemporary living. Yet while, as naturally expected after the passage of a quarter century, Floral Chiangmai condo betrays its age in some senses, it’s fared remarkably well; thanks not least to its exclusive character and geographical sweet spot but impressively, unlike a good many of its predecessors and peers, boasts an altogether unblemished track record as regards the running and upkeep of its single building and communal amenities. So even today with no shortage of residential rivals, Floral’s not only widely considered one of the top condos in the whole of Chiang Mai but units there are always in great demand and much loved with Japanese expat families especially.
Reaching for the heavens high above its more vertically challenged neighbours yet surprisingly well hidden behind an enclosing stand of tall trees, Floral condo’s tucked away down the very definition of a leafy soi [lane] affording residents a gloriously secluded urban oasis of peace and privacy. Not to mention, courtesy of its position inside the heritage subdistrict of Wat Ket (or Wat Gate), providing instant access to an utterly beguiling melting pot of architecture, cultures, cuisines, ethnic groups, religions and traditions. Most prominent of all, and lying in the shadow of Floral condo, is the heart of Chiang Mai’s smallest but arguably most hospitable Muslim settlement; made up largely of Thai Muslims of Yunnanese descent, the Attaqwa community is alive with mom and pop shophouse eateries, street food vendors, a bakery, minimart, supermarket and coffee shop each doling out a tantalising medley of halal goodies as well as home to an Islamic and Cultural Centre housing a library, conference room and gym open to all and sundry at no cost.
Moseying around the network of back alleys surrounding Floral condo reveals an abundance of yet more foraging and quaffing opportunities. Conveniently flanking the property is the famed Hinlay Curry House and, occupying a rustic alfresco spot, among the best venues in the city to dig into their namesake Burmese gaeng hanglay or else chow down on a Thai massaman, Malaysian nyonya, Indonesian rendang or Indian dopiaza; and, sharing the same wooded grounds, for those with a sweet tooth, try any of the daily made artisanal pastries at the adorable Forest Bake. Or, feeling the urge to splurge, ne’er a heartbeat farther on is the highly acclaimed and downright decadent 137 Pillars House; still bearing the nostalgic hallmarks of British colonial influence in its faithfully restored Baan Borneo
stilted teak lodge, the boutique resort offers formal fine dining at its Palette Restaurant with or without a cheeky chic cocktail (or several!) at Jack Bain’s Bar. For a taste of home-cooked American grub, on the other hand, the justly popular Bake & Bite is mere moments away on foot from the condo as is the TripAdvisor-certified and pet-friendly Ketawa Kafe, the down-to-earth Osaka style menu at Kitchen Hush, Lanna [Northern Thai] dishes at the atmospheric Huen Ja Kao plus the Vila Cini Art Village featuring a juice café and, a most worthy cause, the Disabilities Creative Handicraft Centre.
What’s more, scarcely over a 5 minute stroll from Floral condo in the direction of the ‘Old City’ is the east bank of the gently meandering mid-stretch of the Mae Ping River; and, upon crossing the recently rebuilt Chansom Memorial Bridge, Chiang Mai’s Chinatown in the midst of which is the oldest and largest commercial complex in the entire municipality, Kad Luang. In fact, a collection of 4 distinct markets, the hundred year old Warorot and, adjoining, Ton Lam Yai indoor day markets both consist of 3 floors of an astounding variety and extent of foodstuffs (regional specialities in particular), garments, fabrics and household merchandise along with a basement food court and, after dark, a throng of roadside food stalls. At the back of Kad Ton Lam Yai, facing the river, is the brilliantly resplendent and divinely fragrant flower market, Kad Dok Mai. And, no more than a few blocks north optionally by way of the flagship Kasem Store stocking an Aladdin’s cave of imported edibles in an old-fashioned grocery shop setting, the sprawling Kad Muang Mai; a bustling market on the go morning, noon and night, and the preferred supplier for scores of local restaurateurs with countless kinds of seasonal fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, meats, raw fish and shellfish available to buy either individually or wholesale at implausibly low prices.
Only a two-man crew of uniformed security guards there may well be at Floral condo but whether camped at the entrance or elsewhere about the premises, neither misses a trick and their unwavering vigilance round-the-clock is reinforced by the existence of closed-circuit video surveillance throughout. For added support, the juristic person’s on duty at either of the property management or information offices, ahead of the double lifts [elevators], from 9AM to 4:30PM Monday through to Saturday with an in-house technician on standby 24 hours a day. So, although being an older development which lacks electronic keycard technology, resident safety and welfare are nevertheless assured. And for those that own a vehicle of any description, the condo enjoys a munificent multi-storey covered parking allocation of 1 space per unit which is strictly controlled and closely monitored. Getting online is possible using the shared WiFi in the lobby area but for a private and infinitely more zippy internet connection, in-room home broadband can be self-arranged and self-funded through the service provider, 3BB. Leisure wise, active types and the health conscious will surely appreciate the hard surface tennis court, the fully equipped –if now somewhat dated- fitness room and the strikingly lovely outdoor swimming pool encircled by a stone sun deck dotted with a gathering of ornate cast iron patio furniture and reclining loungers from which to laze away the day. Floral condo’s crowning glory, though, must be its expansive, luxuriant landscaped tropical gardenplanted with large mature trees; so impeccably manicured is it that residents will be hard pressed to find a blade of grass out of place!
ROOM TYPES, LAYOUT & SPECIFICATION
Despite no longer laying claim to being the loftiest man-made structure in all Chiang Mai (that torch was passed earlier this year to the positively sky-hugging Supalai Monte), the higher floors of Floral condo’s 26 above ground storeys still deliver literally and figuratively breathtaking sweeping views overlooking the cityscape far below and towards the forested mountains in the distance. Besides, no less grand in scale are its 119 air-conditioned, broad balconied, furnished units. Variously presented as 1, 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms with separate kitchen, combined living/dining area and a number incorporating maid’s quarters, even the least sized units amount to a voluminous 100 and 150 sq m of habitable space but the crème de la crème of residences are the monumentally proportioned 300+ sq m duplex penthouse suites filling the upper 8 floors of the condo. Over the years, the interiors of some of the original units has been partly or completely revamped with the range, degree and quality of materials, fixtures, fittings and home comforts as well as the layout and decorative flair subject to the whims of the individual owner. Even so, resale and rental units at Floral condo seldom hit the market and when they do appear, they get snapped up almost immediately!
Are you living at Floral condo presently or have you stayed there before? In which case, we’d value hearing your reactions about the place by posting a comment below!