Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao

29

Revivalist Indochinese chic was minted at Luang Prabang’s first luxury resort, long before the city became packed with boutique hotels. The fact that it still sits on most connoisseurs’ lists as one of the top three hotels in the city is a testament to that original blueprint of taste.

>>   Kiridara Hotel in Luang Prabang

Location

La Résidence commands inarguably the best aspect of any hotel in the city from its peaceful eyrie on top of a hill. And what it misses in terms of convenience – it’s a five-minute ride by tuk-tuk or free limo to the heart of Luang Prabang – it more than makes up for with its widescreen view of Mount Phousi and the surging mountains beyond.

Address: Phou Vao Road, 84330 Luang Prabang, Laos.

Style & character

Traditional Lao buildings with curlicue roofs, faux Khmer ruins and stupa (shrine); ornamental lily ponds, accompany stylish shadowy interiors with fine Buddhist art, wicker furniture, and a signature of colonial nostalgia belying an efficient Western-run hotel. A former royal summer house, it’s as grand as it’s intimate, an oxymoron of bijou nooks to escape and read in, capacious rooms and rich tropical grounds choking on frangipani, mango, hibiscus and sunburst palms. By night the lawns are lit with thousands of candles as if a legion of fireflies have landed.

Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao via Agoda

Service & facilities

Two serene pools to cool off in – the main infinity pool by the restaurant giving onto the mountains, and the dipping pool next to the Condé Nast award-winning Mekong Spa, decidedly colder and perfect between spells in the steam room. Treatments start at 702,720 Laotian Kip ($70) using locally produced organic essential oils. There’s also a fine boutique selling local handicrafts. What really separates this hotel from others is the quality of the service; staff are attentive and nothing is too much to ask.

  • Bar
  • Fitness centre
  • Laundry
  • Parking
  • Pool
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Sauna
  • Spa
  • Wi-Fi

Rooms

Rooms have low slung tables, huge four-posters, mosquito nets and contemporary teak furniture. That said the rosewood floors can be rather creaky. Private verandas with opium beds overlooking the green infinity pool and mountains beyond maximise the romantic setting. The boutique touches are excellent too, such as hibiscus flowers scattered on cloud-white bedspreads. All rooms feature a safety deposit box.

Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao via Carrier

Food & drink

The Phou Savanh Restaurant looks out across the mountains, and has Lao and Western favourites like Mekong Fish fillet, rice paper spring rolls and pan-fried chicken and beef tenderloin. Buffet breakfast dishes up a cornucopia of fresh pastries, artisanal bread, homemade jams and quality coffee.

With large comfortable armchairs and a laid-back, open-air lounge, the Doc Champa bar is a great place to meet for pre- or post-dinner drinks. Stay indoors for a sophisticated evening with friends or choose to sit outside and enjoy the breathtaking sunset. The Doc Champa Bar is open daily from 1 to 11pm.

Access for guests with disabilities?

No.

Family-friendly?

Yes, and families will particularly enjoy the free use of bikes.

For more information about hotels and resorts in Laos, please visit our website.