In the early 1990’s,, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited and its Thai partner were beginning the development of The Peninsula Bangkok, and studying a possible resort on the island of Phuket. During this time, the Thai partner approached Miller asking for assistance in studying a possible resort development on a site on the Ping River in Chiang Mai. A team was assembled with Paul Ma of Projects Intl (Berkeley), and a project manager and local architect both from Bangkok, with Miller leading the design effort.
The site contained a wonderful grove of mature longan trees, with 100 m of river frontage. But the site was irregularly-shaped, almost a T-shape, with a large portion of the site sloping gently up and away from the river.
A program was developed on a business plan with 40 resort homes supporting the investment of a 100-key all-villa resort. Hotel Villas were designed in 10 x 10 m squares of 50 SqM of indoor and 50 SqM of outdoor space. These were allocated a bulk of the prime riverside portion of the site. The balance of the riverside space, adjacent to the Hotel, was allocated to the prime selection of the resort homes. These, and the remaining homes were all designed with inspiration from the traditional Northern Thai architecture, raised up 1 stores above the ground.
The units were designed as a collection of Thai Villa buildings - heavily-detailed in modern millwork, of Thai inspiration - arranged around an outdoor, tiled deck. This served as the connection between the “rooms”, and also as the valuable outdoor living space.
Detailed designs for both the hotel and the homes were completed, and pricing carried out. A Model Home was documented and built, during which time a marketing plan for the Resort and Homes was begun. Misfortune struck, and a dry-season wildfire hit the property and took out the model home. The project was permanently set back, and the property remains undeveloped.