La Residence Phou Vao
Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang, Laos
The gorgeous La Residence Phou Vao was the former guest house of the king. The main building is an elegant wooden floored building which leads out onto a pretty infinity pool with spectacular views over the valley and to Mount Phousi. Even when it has all the modern conveniences, it still keeps an old world charm about it.
Sleep Our room is spacious with dark wooden floors and a private outdoor terrace. Furnishings are exemplary and high quality, perhaps with the exception of the old tube TV. From the room and the balcony we can see the little red roofed houses against the backdrop of the signature misty hills of Luang Prabang. There is a sense of peace and serenity about it. When did you last hear the roosters crow and smell incense mixed with frangipanis in the air?
Dine The breakfast had a wide selection of fruits, pastries etc and eggs made to order. The attending staff, immaculately dressed and some in traditional Hmong dress looked elegant! Dinner around the pool, overlooking what appears in the night as floating pagoda, is magical. The area has lots of candlelight, warm fires in pots to keep the chill off, and lanterns in the trees. However we opted for the 500 Candle private dinner, which was truly memorable - especially when the hot air lanterns were launched into the clear night sky – it is simply wonderful!
Relax The hotel’s Mekong Spa is probably one of the best in the region. The custom-designed spa treatments are based on traditional Laotian herbal remedies. Try the steam room, its made of limestone and at the end walk down the stony path to splash water from traditional earthenware urns, feels great. We finished with relaxing in the pool.
Explore The morning visit to the alms collection by the Monks was a great experience. Later, an excursion to the waterfall with a picnic for two left us in awe. The setup was incredibly romantic and a bit over the top in a pampered sort of way. Not only did we have our own guide but also a waiter to set up the table with white linen and silver and the meal included a centre piece.
One More Thing What truly makes this place so special is the combination of understated elegance and an incredible attention to detail. Even the departure at the airport is associated with checking in our luggage and ensuring that everything is taken care of. It is the small things that make a big difference.
There are only three international airports in Laos; Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, Luang Prabang International airport and Pakse International airport. You can fly from Vientiane to Phnom Pen, Siem Reap, Kunming, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. From Vientiane you can also travel to Luang Prabang by boat. Lao Airlines is the national carrier and monopolises the majority of flights in and out of the country, though many code-share with other air carriers.
Belmond La Residence Phou Vao
Garden Suites – Phou Vao
Located on the first floor, these Suites overlook the tropical garden. They feature a double bedroom as well as a separate living room with a plush cotton sofa. A spacious bathroom offers first-class amenities and a separate water closet. The suites are serene and spacious, ideal for those who wish to indulge in a longer break.
Feature a King-sized bed or two twin beds with luxury rosewood and natural textile furnishings and a spacious bathroom with free-form terrazzo bath. Room amenities include, fresh flowers, Espresso coffee machine, iHome docking system, satellite television and hair dryer. Size: 65 sqm
Located on the ground floor, they enjoy views overlooking the tropical gardens, or offer a private terrace shaded by tall trees.
Some suites have views of the old city and the surrounding mountains. Further away, you can see the magnificent Phousy Temple rising above the town.
Other suites overlook the infinity pool & Phousy temple, which hovers over the town on a steep hill and the surrounding mountains.
Junior Suites feature a King-sized bed or two twin beds with luxury rosewood and natural textile furnishings and a spacious bathroom with free-form terrazzo bath. Room amenities include, welcome fruit basket, Espresso coffee machine, iHome docking system, satellite television and hair dryer. Size: 55 sqm
Taxes and fees:
Check in & Check out
Belmond La Residence Phou Vao
Experiences While in Laos, don't miss the chance to get involved in vital community projects, from weaving workshop OckPopTok to literacy centre Big Brother Mouse. For the Laos massages go where the locals go, to the Lao Red Cross massage, a traditional Lao massage starts with a herbal steam. For those who want to sweat it out in style, go to the plush hill-side spa at Orient-Express hotel. One of Laos' first luxury spas, it specialises in healing massages using aromatherapy essential oils. After you have fully recovered, take a unique cruise along the spectacular Luang Say.
Plan your Day: For the day, I would recommend a trek in the jungle, across the Mekong or up the Nam Khan River towards the Elephant Camp or visit the Kwang Si waterfalls for a picnic lunch. Next day take a gentle trip along the Mekong River aboard the hotel's own boat to discover the magical Buddha caves. Later sample the famous home-distilled local 'whisky' after a Baci blessing ceremony. But while travelling in Southeast Asia you cannot avoid admiring the local textiles. There are some interesting boutiques in Luang Prabang but try Carol Cassidy’s Lao Textiles for exquisitely crafted wall hangings, scarves, shawls and custom furnishing fabrics. And yes, don’t miss the night market, it’s fun even if you don’t buy anything.
Tipping Tipping is a personal expense and depends entirely on the quality of services provided to you and your appreciation of those services. Whilst tipping is not mandatory, it is expected at restaurants and by drivers, guides and tour escorts. The following estimated guideline may help you in determining the tip amount, should you wish to tip any service provider in Laos. Tipping in restaurants is about 5000–10,000 kip while 50,000 Kip per day for travel guides and escorts.
When to go The climate in Luang Prabang remains tropical. The best time to visit is in the months between November and mid-March. During these months the days are pleasant and the nights are chilly. Thereafter the temperature begins to rise and March to May gets very hot. The monsoon arrives in the month of April and peak in August but continues until mid-October. Travel is difficult during these months. Avoid travelling during March-April and August.
Passport/Visa British, European and Americans require a visa and can obtain a 30-day visa on arrival provided your passport is valid for at least six months. Two passport sized photographs will be required. A one-month visit visa is available from the Laos embassy provided the applicant has a guarantor in Laos; visas can be extended by up to a further two months. Enquiries should be directed to the nearest embassy or consulate.