“Hip and contemporary hotel near the centre of Luang Prabang, with huge spoiling suites and a superb spa”
There are 4 suite categories - Garden, Heritage, Pool and Governor - which fan out around the central garden. Décor is sophisticated with traditional dark-wood furnishings, high ceilings, polished concrete floors and neutral palettes. Bright textiles handmade by local hill tribes prevent the spaces feeling stark - a striped headboard here, a trio of cushions there.
We stayed in a spacious Garden Suite. The huge feathery four-poster bed was swathed in light organza netting and soft fine linens gave us a great night's sleep. Out back, a private garden with a cushioned daybed was the perfect place for a daytime snooze, while the terrace at the front had garden views and chairs for reading in. Our bathroom was enormous with a big bath, separate rain-shower and aromatic toiletries. Some bathrooms are half indoor, half outdoor so you can bathe in the open air.
Heritage Suites are similar to the Garden Suites in size and décor, but they are housed in the original Unesco-listed colonial buildings (Garden Suites are in newer buildings, but they blend well with the restored architecture).
The 4 Pool Suites are set in the 4 corners of the grounds, which gives each a large L-shaped garden and ample space for their private pools and sun loungers. These are ideal for privacy seekers, and 2 have a former watchtower where you can dine à deux on request. The 2 Governor Suites are enormous, with soaring ceilings, an indoor/outdoor bathroom and a spacious garden. Note, though, that they don't have a pool.
Spoiling touches include a complimentary minibar (restocked daily), fragrant toiletries, robes, a massive flat-screen TV, turndown service, and a pre-loaded iPod on request.
The hotel has 2 restaurants - Sa Bai Library & Lounge, which offers Western specialities and excellent cocktails, and Kaipen, which serves upmarket Lao cuisine.
Breakfast is à la carte and served in Sa Bai Library; our eggs and bacon on a muffin was pretty good, as was the fresh fruit juice. There were also delicious Lao entrées (a crêpe and a pho/soup). Lunch is also served in the Library, as well as poolside. Expect dishes such as grilled salmon, duck breast with noodles, Caesar salad, burgers and sandwiches.
For dinner, Kaipen has a delicious-sounding daily menu (sadly it wasn't open when we stayed) - the likes of chicken skewers with a papaya salad, beef curry with lotus seed, and coconut milk tapioca with seasonal fruit. All restaurant food can be served in your suite on request, or at a candlelit table in your private garden.
Sister hotel 3 Nagas is just around the corner, serving French-influenced Lao cuisine - tom kha gai (chicken galangal soup), steamed river fish wrapped in bamboo, and barbecued buffalo. We'd also recommend L’Elephant and Tamarind, both of which you can walk to; book ahead in high season and at weekends.
Though this is primarily a tranquil, romantic retreat, children are welcome and the suites have ample space for an extra bed and baby cot. Children will love the huge swimming pool, and maybe even the cooking lessons.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
All suites can fit an extra bed and baby cot.
Available on request.