Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao
What We Love
- Breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate
- 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
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
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.
How to Get There
My wife and I traveled to Luang Prabang this summer for several days and really had no idea what to expect when we arrived. From the moment we were picked up at the airport and our driver had straws in freshly cut coconuts for us we were in store for an awesome visit. The facility itself is pretty amazing, slightly outside of the main hustle and bustle of downtown, perched on a hill that leaves you with gorgeous views over their infinity pool. The rooms themselves are spacious and comfy, with mosquito nets draped over the four poster beds. Where this hotel really shined is with their personnel. Everyone, I mean literally everyone, that we encountered went above and beyond for us. The waitstaff, the bartenders, housekeeping, and our drivers all delivered a level of service that was unmatched. Most times that we travel, we generally don't need or ask that much from our hotel. However, in Luang Prabang, we wound up dining at the hotel our first night, went with the hotel to the alms giving to the monks in the morning and went for the Mekong River Cruise one evening. All of these were outstanding. However, where the hotel went truly above and beyond was one day, I rented a motorbike in town and the driver from the hotel assisted me with the paperwork and translation. I also played around of golf at the local course (which has some breathtaking holes) and they helped me set that up. Finally, my wife took one of the complimentary bicycles into town and on her return, managed to get into a small accident with an older lady on a scooter. Luckily, there was nothing more than a couple of scrapes, but the manager and the front desk staff were able to help smooth things with the now perturbed older woman. Sai, the manager, with whom I shared several chats over the few days that I was there was such a great dude and we look forward to someday returning to the hills in Laos.
Our first hotel during a long trip in Asia was an excellent choice. Located in small hill that gives a superb view of the area, its facilities, staff and service are of utmost quality.
We were lucky enough to be almost alone in the gorgeous swimming pool, a real oasis after our tours in the area.
Breakfast and dining in the terrace are absolutely to be recommended.
First time to Luang Prabang. First stay in a Belmond. It is very classy quiet and sophisticated. The hotel is beautiful. We stayed in a room with large terrace. Beautiful wood floors and red wood furniture. The bedding was very comfortable. The pool area was very quiet due to the low season. The service was a delight. We met the manager at the daily Happy Hour drinks. He was a lovely man. The breakfast and lunch selections were very good and tasty. A must is the Belmond private cruise on the Mekong. Such a wonderful way to spend a day. Overall we loved it and highly recommend it.