This time last year I was arriving in Luang Prabang for the first time, kicking off my research for the latest edition of Rough Guide to Laos, so I thought it was only appropriate to give a run down of three of my favourite hotels in the city. The old capital of Laos, Luang Prabang is an utterly beguiling place to spend a few days, and, with a slew of gorgeous hotels to choose from, makes an ideal honeymoon stop on a trip around Laos or Indochina. For more on honeymooning in Laos, see my post here.
I spent a very happy first night here, and it was the perfect introduction to the city. Tucked away on a quiet side street but within easy reach of the heart of the old city and plenty of good restaurants, Lotus Villa is a really calm, intimate place to stay. The rooms are set in a few old buildings around a gorgeous courtyard that’s full of banana trees – sitting out in the morning sunshine while I ate my delicious breakfast felt like a real treat – and though they’re fairly simple they’re full of light and very comfortable. A fantastic budget choice that won’t make you feel like you’re scrimping on style or surroundings.
From £38 a night.
With the old city jutting out on a peninsula, surrounded by two rivers – the Nam Khan and the Mekong – it’s unsurprising that a leisurely soaking up of the river views is one of the greatest pleasures of a stay in Luang Prabang. Situated almost right at the tip of the peninsula, on the Mekong road, each of the guest rooms at the Mekong Riverview really do live up to the hotel’s name – and each has a lovely balcony from which to luxuriate in the surroundings (preferably with a Beer Lao in hand). The rooms are very spacious, with lots of dark wood, brightened up with locally made bedcovers (though I have to warn you that the photos on the website make the rooms look a lot more pedestrian and less interesting than they actually are, which is a shame). I particularly loved that the manager marks up a map of the city for all guests, so you can easily find recommended places to eat and drink, where to take boat trips from, where to find the morning market etc, and there’s a whole fact file of information in the bedrooms full of handy tips about the city. You can also borrow bikes here for free – the perfect way to explore the area – or make use of a lift or two in the hotel’s golf buggy.
From £55 a night.
This is one of my most favourite hotels in the world, and if you can afford a night or two here then I’d really recommend splashing out. It’s a short distance away from the main town – you can walk there in about fifteen minutes, or there’s a shuttle bus that leaves on demand during the day or at regular times in the evening – but this isn’t a drawback; rather, it makes this place a complete sanctuary. The rooms are absolutely sumptuous – I spent my days trying to drag myself away from the recliners on the balcony – and the whole place just has an understated romance that could easily make you feel like you’d stepped back to the turn of the twentieth century. The spa, set among the leafy grounds, is just blissful, and the pool looks out onto Mount Phousi in the distance; at night it’s lit by lanterns bobbing on the water – the perfect place for a romantic honeymoon meal. Worth every single penny.