The infinity pool has views across a green valley to the gold stupa atop Mount Phousi
There's a free shuttle to/from town
The serene garden spa with its own pool and separate villas
What To Know
A 10 percent service charge per night will be collected at the Jetsetter checkout
It's about an eight-minute car or tuk-tuk ride into town, or a 25-minute walk ending in a steep driveway
Hotel decor is romantic and traditional, far from trendy
Parking on site
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Romantic retreat with a serene spa and infinity pool, a tuk-tuk ride from the mystical town of Luang Prabang
This uber-romantic Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. boutique property is the perfect base for visiting the mystically beautiful town of Luang Prabang, once the royal capital of Laos, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its 32 historic temples. Set on a hillside, Belmond La Residence Phou Vao evokes the nostalgia of French Indochina. The wood-beamed two-story white stucco buildings are surrounded by gardens, pathways are strewn with frangipani and bougainvillea blossoms, and pink water lilies bloom in ponds. Guests are met on arrival with cold lemongrass-scented towels, water and snacks by a discreetly attentive staff; the result is a hotel that feels more like a home.
Bed & Bath
Guestrooms are decorated in rosewood and teak, with gleaming wood floors and white beds draped in gauzy mosquito nets. In the bathrooms there are immense green terrazzo tubs, and tall vases of tuberose perfume the air from wood vanities with double sinks. Bowls of local fruit are changed daily.
In the morning the restaurant offers French pastries, crepes, house-made yogurt and jams made from such exotic ingredients as tamarind and papaya, as well as Asian fare and a full American breakfast. Don’t miss the spicy Lao sausages. By night the poolside dining area is lit with strings of floating candles. La Residence can arrange guided tours of nearby waterfalls, boat rides up the Mekong River to caves filled with hundreds of images of the Buddha, or dawn excursions into town to offer food to monks from Luang Prabang’s temple abbeys. There are regular shuttles from the hotel into town, making it easy to shop, dine at any of the town’s surprisingly good French or Lao restaurants, and wander the sleepy streets, visit the temples or sit by the river.
In the Area
Take a pirogue up the wide Mekong to see hundreds of images of the Buddha in the caves at Pak Ou, stopping on the way back at villages to try rice whiskey and visit silk weavers. In Luang Prabang, tour the 32 historic temples, especially the 500-year-old architectural masterpiece Wat Xieng Thong, and visit the night market for silk, cotton and hill tribe crafts; don’t miss the town’s handful of high-end boutiques. For panoramic views of the historic town, climb Mount Phousi, across from the Royal Palace, which lies on a peninsula at the junction of two rivers, the Nam Khan and the Mekong.