The first place I stayed when I arrived in Chiang Mai was the Royal Panerai Hotel. Chiang Mai is fantastic for its wide variety of good quality, cheap accommodation. I stayed at quite a few of them, but the Royal Panerai still impresses me as one of the best in its price range.
The hotel is located back from the main road, is pretty quiet, and has a nice feel and decor. The check-in process was easy, despite the fact that the staff didn't have a strong command of English. Elevators take you up to your room - which is handy if you have a lot of luggage.
I booked a double room and upon entering the first thing that impressed me was the size of the room, and its many facilities. Perhaps the first I noticed, was the number of power points available. There are hotel rooms that are great at first glance, but have very few sockets for anyone that desires to work while travelling, or who has a number of devices to charge.
On the topic of working on the road, the room has a sturdy desk, a table lamp and free WiFi, for which you are issued a password during check-in. The WiFi does drop out a little, but it was still more than adequate for completing the various bookings I had to do, and for instant messaging.
Like pretty much all hotel beds in Thailand, it was fairly hard. On the positive side, an unnecessary but welcome addition, is the side table - handy for resting your phone, reading material or a hot cup of tea on. Air-conditioning is provided in the room, which is essential if arriving in the hot season. Aside from this, there is a telephone, T.V and a large wardrobe - perfect for couples with a lot of baggage.
The bathroom surprised me. I'm sure there must be other reasonably-priced places to stay in Chiang Mai that have bath tubs - but I haven't seen them. Regardless of your view on 'using bath tubs in hotel rooms', it's still nice to have the option.
There is an attractive vanity and a few toiletries provided, always a nice touch. In addition, there is an in-built hair dryer. In Asia, most commonly the floor space of the shower and toilet is not separated, resulting in the entirety of the bathroom getting wet when you shower. This is not the case here, so it's really comfortable for someone accustomed to a Western set-up.
Shower gel, shampoo, a shower cap, cotton tips and soap
I always like to keep and prepare a lot of my own food, even when travelling, so having a fridge and basic tea and coffee-making facilities is something I always appreciate. Both were provided in the double room.
The Royal Panerai is by no means located in the middle of the action in Chiang Mai. In fact, it is a better option if you are happy to stay just on the outskirts of the old city, while still being able to easily access it on foot. The Royal Panerai is located just outside the North-East corner of the city, and conveniently only a few doors down from a 7-eleven.
It is also walking distance from the popular local produce market - Muang Mai Market, as well as various restaurants. At least four of the nearby restaurants are vegetarian, for the non-meat eaters out there.
The Royal Panerai Hotel is easy to find on Google maps and is known by the airport taxi drivers, so it's easy to get there. Enjoy the convenience of a 24-hour front desk - great if you are arriving late at night, or in the wee hours of the morning.