“Hip and contemporary hotel near the centre of Luang Prabang, with huge spoiling suites and a superb spa”
Years back, the hotel was the town prison. Its charming French colonial buildings (now Unesco-listed) have been beautifully restored and cleverly married with newer structures, though a few of the watchtowers remain, providing a quirky backdrop to the hotel (and unique in-room dining spaces for 2 of the Pool Suites). The quality contemporary finish across it all is absolutely seamless and the end result is something extraordinary. Expensive, yes, but unlike any other hotel in Luang Prabang.
- 23 spacious, stylish and very indulgent suites with private gardens; some have pools, too
- The sense of privacy and quiet - everything is low rise and spread out so you never feel overlooked by other guests. Perfect for a romantic holiday
- Two all-day restaurants (1 Western, 1 Asian), a cookery school and an airy spa offering spice massages, reflexology and his'n'hers treatments
- The pool is beautiful, long and gently heated year-round, with plenty of cushioned loungers and a cocktail menu
- You're just a 10-minute walk from the centre of Luang Prabang with its shimmering temples, or there are bicycles to borrow
- It's expensive, full payment is required at the time of booking, and rates don't include 20% tax/service charge. However, they do include complimentary in-room minibars and a nightly turndown service
- Rooms are a little dark and some may find the style too masculine and stark - if you want an airy boutique hotel, look elswehere
- Like most hotels in Luang Prabang, the restaurants can lack atmosphere in the evening as most people eat out - visit the busy and popular restaurant at sister hotel 3 Nagas
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurants and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Heated Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Bicycles Available
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.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Ipod dock
- Iron (on request)
- Mosquito net
- Pre-loaded iPod / CD / DVD players on request
- Private garden
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
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.
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Laze on a lounger by the peaceful main pool, dip into the gently heated water for a swim, then order a cocktail for that holiday feeling
- The superb spa offers a range of treatments and massages, in quiet high-ceilinged rooms adorned with elegant flowers and candles. We had the signature massage, which was divine
- Learn how to cook, Lao-style. The hotel classes have a fantastic reputation, and include a trip to the local market in the morning to get banana flowers, riverweed and sweet chili jam, all crucial in the infusion of Lao cuisine
- Wake before dawn to go and watch the daily procession of saffron-robed monks quietly collect alms (usually rice) from the local residents
- Luang Prabang has a number of tiny textile boutiques. Fibre2Fibre, Satri Lao Silk and Mulberries are recommended, and the co-operative Ock Pop Tok offers silk-weaving classes as well as East-meets-West designs to buy
- Tour the town's wats (temples); Luang Prabang is one of Asia's main religious centres. With its richly decorated gables and gold-stencilled columns, Wat Xieng Thong is the oldest and most impressive
- Buy local handicrafts at the night market
- Climb the 328 steps up Mount Phousi for the sunset views; it gets busy but the vistas of the forest and Mekong are unparalleled
- Around a 40-minute drive away are Kuang Si Waterfalls, famed for their turquoise waters. Reception can arrange a day trip for you, but we'd advise an early start so you get there around 8am, before the crowds arrive. There are swimming holes downstream, but remember that Laotians bathe fully clothed
- The hotel supports the Living Land Experience, a community enterprise where you can learn how locals grow rice and try traditional activities such as ploughing the paddy field with the help of a buffalo or pounding steel from a hot fire to make tools
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
- Well being
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)
Family friendly accommodation:
All suites can fit an extra bed and baby cot.
Available on request.