Wow! What a view! I have been lucky to stay in some beautiful hotels but none of them have had a view as impressive as this (although The Coral Reef in Barbados comes close – our balcony looked over their beautifully manicured lawn and down to the beach – I loved the monkeys scampering around on the deck!) but this is what La Residence Phou Vao http://www.belmond.com/la-residence-phou-vao-luang-prabang/ is all about, beautiful unspoilt nature in luxurious surroundings. After spending a glorious 4 nights here, I didn’t want to leave, and it was with a heavy heart that I eventually packed my bags and made my way to the airport.
Luang Prabang is a small town – it makes life in Siem Reap seem frenetic by comparison – and the hotel is conveniently situated around 10-15 minutes drive from the airport and less than a 10 minute drive into the centre of town. I didn’t need to make much use of the complimentary shuttle into town however as the hotel has complimentary bicycles for guest use, a great way to get around and explore and something I particularly enjoyed!
With it being “Green Season” I was lucky enough to snaffle a lovely upgrade to what has to be the best room in the hotel 504, with stunning views over the infinity pool and the lush, green, rolling hills. I really enjoyed having breakfast on my private balcony each morning – a wonderful way to start the day.
There are in fact, two shimming pools; the main pool that I could see from my room and another by their award winning spa – I had a wonderful Laotian massage there on my first afternoon – where I also escaped one afternoon, armed with a good book and some suntan lotion.
Whilst I mostly ate in town, the crab cakes I ordered by the pool on the first day were very good indeed and the complimentary bar snacks (served with every drinks order between 5pm & 7pm) were possibly the best thing I ate all holiday. Crispy pork scratching’s, sticky rice with sweet chilli sauce and umami packed fried “Kaiphaen” or river weed – think seaweed but much, much tastier!
I accompanied these delicious bar snacks with a selection of locally inspired cocktails – made with the Laotian “Lao Lao” rice spirit – including the “Lao Lao Sour”, The “Laojito” with mint, lime and soda and my favourite, the “Simply Lao” with honey, lime and hibiscus juice. Perfect holiday cocktails!
The hotel has all sorts of wonderful activities you can book, from boat tours to the caves to attending the early morning (5:30 am!) alms giving to the local Monks, although I was more interested in topping up my (non existent) tan by the pool and catching up on some reading. The tours are designed more with couples or small groups in mind and so when I did decide to venture out of the comfort of the hotel, the lovely staff were more than happy to help me arrange my own independent tours which was much appreciated.
If you are looking for a special holiday location or want to escape Siem Reap or Bangkok for a long weekend then Luang Prabang is definitely the place to go.
* I was lucky enough to receive a discounted friends and family rate when booking, however all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.