Located at the edge of the UNESCO World Heritage town in northern Laos, Sofitel Luang Prabang is a five-star luxury hotel housed in a modest garden complex consisting of reconstructed traditional Lao houses, colonial-style villas, and two historic buildings. In an excellent example of adaptive reuse, the refurbished buildings were the former governor’s residence and garrison built in 1900 during French colonial times. Both structures are among the historic sites protected by the World Heritage inscription of the city. The adjacent villas, which house more suites, are contemporary structures patterned after the historic buildings.
The beautiful hotel is a little out of the way from the attractive town center (you’ll have to walk 20 minutes or hire a rickshaw to get into town), but it’s nestled in a quiet residential quarter where you can really soak up the languid mood of the city. The warm and hospitable staff completed my stay, making the sweet time I spent at this luxurious yet unpretentious garden estate one of my favorite resort experiences.
The clay-roofed villas and suites surround a manicured garden with a large swimming pool with lounge chairs and umbrellas. There’s also a gym and spa near the hotel entrance.
Furnished with Lao artifacts and decor, my Superior Garden Suite had a spacious floor area of 55 sq m with a king size bed, dressing area, and bathroom with rain shower and indoor bathtub, which opened to a private garden with gazebo and larger outdoor bathtub! Besides a minibar, there are limited edition books about Laos history and culture on display, which may be purchased as well. I bought myself a walking tour guidebook entitled A Walk Through The Heritage of Luang Prabang by Francis Engelmann (only available in sponsoring hotels and agencies like Sofitel Luang Prabang), which was published last December 2015 in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the city’s inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
All rooms come with buffet breakfast for two at the Governor’s Grill tent. If you prefer sleeping-in longer, one can enjoy “La Grasse Matinee” with breakfast snacks until 12 noon. The tent also serves lunch and dinner a la carte, specializing in a delicious buffalo tasting platter, a Luang Prabang specialty. If you find yourself in the middle town, you can also enjoy some of the best Lao cuisines using royal recipes at their sister boutique hotel 3 Nagas MGallery by Sofitel – another wonderful example of architectural conservation. You may conveniently charge the bill to your room at Sofitel Luang Prabang when you dine here.
How to Get There
Sofitel Luang Prabang located in Ban Mano, Luang Prabang is a 15-minute drive (5.3 km) from Luang Prabang International Airport. The hotel may arrange pick-up, or you may hire a tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw). Note: many drivers may only know the establishment by its former name: “Hotel de la Paix”.
This blog post was made possible through the Nan-Luang Prabang Media Familiarization Tour from May 22 to 26, 2016, organized by Mekong Tourism. Special thanks to AirAsia Thailand for our Luang Prabang-Bangkok flight.