Certain hotels around Southeast Asia have done more than just host international tourists and business travelers; they’ve played host to diplomats. At times of peace and war these hotels have housed diplomatic missions where the deliberations have shaped the course of history.
One of the great passages in American author Norman McLean's acclaimed 1976 novel A River Runs Through It is this: "In the slanting sun of late afternoon, the shadows of great branches reached from across the river, and the trees took the river in their arms. The shadows continued up the bank, until they included us."
In 1915, when the British Empire was doing a roaring teak trade in Northern Thailand, one general consul undertook to build a new home for the consulate and its staff on the banks of the River Ping. The consulate would become the focal point for expatriate society in Chiang Mai over the next five decades.