With tourism on the rise in Laos, more and more distinctive hotels are opening their doors to visitors seeking impeccable hospitality, with flair and comfort to match. Take advantage of the current low-season price points to beat the crowds for a stylish escape at a luxurious getaway, right on your doorstep.
Whether you’re looking to pamper yourself with a signature spa treatment, laze by the pool with cocktail in-hand, or relax after a day of adventure, Sabaidee Magazine has handpicked a few of the country’s most exquisitely placed and unique boutique accommodations to rest your head.
Tradition Meets Modern
These sleek and chic spots fuse the beauty of traditional Lao craft and architecture with contemporary influences for an unforgettably stylish stay.
Green Park Boutique Hotel, Vientiane
Arriving at Green Park is like entering a private oasis, and the walled lush gardens surrounding the property make for a surprisingly tranquil environment, despite being located in a busy part of town. The hotel’s design is an aesthetic delight, with luxe traditional Lao touches, like copper ornaments decorated with fresh-cut flowers and ornate timber lounges, seamlessly blended with contemporary style throughout the 34 rooms and common areas.
The central location and quietude of Green Park make this a perfect option for a ‘staycation’ for Vientiane residents – this is truly a breath of fresh air without the stress of travelling. The ambience of the garden and swimming pool lends itself to a leisurely day of sunning, and after dark oil lamps lead the way to the Sala Nongchanh Restaurant, which specialises in modern Lao and international cuisine. For cocktail hour, be sure to sample a signature ‘Green Park Sling’ in the Dok Dala Lounge and Bar.
Don’t miss: Green Park is home to Champa Lao Spa. One of the city’s most refreshing wellness experiences.
A: 12 Khouvieng Road, Ban Nongchanh, Vientiane T: +856 21 264097 W: www.greenparkvientiane.com
Hotel de la Paix, Luang Prabang
The unusual architecture of this Luang Prabang must-stay speaks to its former incarnation as a century-old French fort. These days, the boutique accommodation has been carefully transformed into a remarkably sleek getaway, with clean lines and a minimalist décor creating a soothing contemporary ambience. In fact, Hotel de la Paix’s unique design has been turning heads internationally, recently awarded best interiors for a luxury hotel at the prestigious Wold Architecture News awards.
Guests have their pick of ultra-luxurious sanctuaries, from the spacious Garden Suites, the Heritage Suites housed within restored UNESCO colonial buildings, the Pool Suites tucked under the original watchtowers at four corners of the property – each with a private pool and garden, and the grand Governor Suite with lofty ceilings, indoor-outdoor bathrooms and expansive terrace. There are two restaurants on site to savour, as well as a cocktail bar and the Ka-Toke Cooking School. After a day of sight-seeing, be sure to retire to Spa Indochine for the ultimate in pampering.
Don’t miss: Guests can limber-up in twice-weekly complimentary Mat Pilates classes.
A: Manomai Street, Ban Mano, Luang Prabang T: +856 71 260 777 W: www.hoteldelapaixlp.com
Riverside Boutique Resort, Vang Vieng
The Riverside Boutique Resort is a refreshing and intimate sanctuary, far from Vang Vieng’s usual backpacker set. The resort lingers on the edge of the Nam Song River, with the leafy gardens and inviting swimming pool giving way to breath-taking views of surrounding limestone cliffs. Pleasingly, these same pristine views can be enjoyed from each of the 34 rooms and suites, and the hotel’s open-air and indoor restaurant. Each room has been thoughtfully designed to showcase Lao architectural and cultural heritage, with each drawing their décor, textiles and motifs from the country’s many ethnic groups.
The stunning swimming area forms the heart of the resort, and enjoying a dip and sunning in the midst of the incredible mountains, along with a leisurely breakfast is the perfect way to spend a morning. Guests can easily explore surrounding caves by crossing a nearby wooden footbridge, or taking a short stroll downtown for kayaking and other attractions.
Don’t miss: On Saturdays the in-house restaurant serves a poolside Lao buffet with live traditional local music and dance.
A: Ban Viengkeo, Vang Vieng, Vientiane Province T: +856 23 511 7268 W: www.riversidevangvieng.com
Stray from the beaten path without sacrificing opulence at these environmentally-responsible stays.
La Folie Lodge, Pakse
Situated on secluded Don Daeng Island near Pakse in southern Laos, approaching La Folie Lodge by boat you’ll see the cluster of 12 bungalows and villas set amongst lush tropical gardens. Highlighting their natural surrounds, each spacious villa has a private terrace with superb views of the Mekong and distant mountain vistas. The swimming pool and open-air restaurant and bar, which features continental and Asian cuisines paired with top-shelf wine and spirits, also offer pristine views of the island’s sandy beaches – be sure to enjoy a cocktail here at sunset.
La Folie won the ASEAN Green Hotel Award 2012-14 and supports the local community through employing local staff and promoting sustainable tourism, dedicating a portion of profits towards community projects on the island. If you feel like venturing from your surrounds, the lodge is ideally situated to explore the Four Thousand Islands, and historic Vat Phou is just 20 minutes away.
Don’t miss: Borrow one of the hotel’s bicycles for a leisurely afternoon exploring the 10km island’s bucolic surroundings.
A: Don Daeng, Pathoumphone District, Pakse T: +856 20 5553 2004 W: www.lafolie-laos.com
Muang La Resort, Oudomxay
With just exquisite 5 wooden villas and 10 rooms, Muang La Resort is nestled against a stunning mountain backdrop – well off the beaten track and far from the tourist crowd. The remote location offers a wealth of outdoor activities for adventurers to tackle like mountain biking, treks, or photographing the stunning surrounds. For those after a more low-key stay, the resort’s idyllic garden and shady salas provide the perfect reprieve to curl up with a book or watch daily life along the riverbank.
All rooms feature tasteful local art, textiles and crafts, and have been constructed by local craftspeople using locally-sourced materials. Muang La is working to ensure their environment remains a pristine paradise by supporting sustainable tourism that benefits nearby communities, and employing local staff. Although the remarkable backdrop seems like enough of a draw-card, guests will be equally impressed by the fine Lao-French fusion cuisine at the in-house restaurant – there’s also a cooking class revealing the secrets of Lao fare.
Don’t Miss: Take a dip in the natural thermal pools, Muang La’s refreshing and sustainable alternative to a swimming pool.
A: Muang La District, Oudomxay T: +856 21 243 446 W: www.muangla.com
The River Resort, Champassak
Just 30 minutes from Pakse, and a short drive to Vat Phou, The River Resort is ideally placed for those looking to immerse themselves in the tranquillity of the country’s southwest in an effortlessly chic setting. Choose from Deluxe River Front villas with panoramic Mekong views, or Deluxe Pond and Garden villas which feature views of the river and ponds. All light-filled rooms are spacious with generous terraces and contemporary furnishings.
The River Resort takes care to preserve the three hectares of surrounding parkland, teeming with native flora a fauna and perfect for a leisurely stroll. There is an on-site rice paddy and organic vegetable gardens, and over 80% of the hotel staff are local villagers. In keeping with local culture, the resort offers guests a myriad of experiences from music and dance, to riverboat cruises, traditional massage, weaving, kayaking, and in the high-season you can opt for a romantic private picnic on nearby Turtle Island.
Don’t miss: Enjoy the sunset, and a cocktail, from a chaise lounge by the infinity pool.
A: Ban Phaphinnoy, Road14A, Champassak T: +856 20 56850198 W: www.theriverresort-champasak.com
Channel a bygone era in these refined and stylish historic residences.
Maison Souvannaphoum, Luang Prabang
This historic Luang Prabang mansion was once the residence of Prince Souvanna Phouma, who also served as Prime Minister of Laos. Rich with history and old-world charm, these days the heritage house has been restored to all its former glory – a unique fusion of French colonial influences and stylish Lao motifs.
Although you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time, Maison Souvannaphoum has created a truly contemporary experience with plush bedding, luxurious bathrooms and high-quality amenities sure to impress the most discerning of modern travellers. Be sure to indulge at the luxury Angsana Spa which will rejuvenate the mind, body and soul. Dine at the Elephant Blanc restaurant, which specialises in Lao, Indo-Chinese and Western fare, and is on par with some of the city’s best culinary offerings. The restaurant also offers cooking classes for guests who want to learn to create what they’ve sampled. The impeccable staff and highly-personalised service will make your stay here a breeze.
Don’t miss: Romantics will love the tailored getaway packages which include couples spa treatments and champagne breakfasts.
A: Chao Fa Ngum Road, Ban That Luang, Luang Prabang T: +856 71 254 609 W: www.angsana.com/en/maison_souvannaphoum
Ansara Hotel, Vientiane
Located on a quiet leafy laneway in the heart of downtown Vientiane, the Ansara Hotel manages to feel at once like it’s in the middle of all of the action, and also a secluded oasis. This grand hotel exudes refined sophistication, from taking in the high-ceilinged salon upon entry, to settling into one of the spacious elegant suites.
The 24 rooms and four suites radiate old-world glamour blending traditional Lao silks and rattan, with colonial-style hardwood floors and black and white photographs detailing the country’s cultural and natural beauty. The friendly staff go above and beyond to make your stay a pleasant one, and the peaceful ambience will leave you relaxed in no time. At the time of writing the hotel’s swimming pool was under construction.
Don’t Miss: Although the Ansara Hotel is located just steps from some of Vientiane’s best restaurants, be sure to spend a night in for fine French dining at the in-house La Signature restaurant.
A: Quai Fa Ngum, Ban Vat Chan Tha, Hom 5, Chanthabury District, Vientiane T: +856 21 213 514 W: www.ansarahotel.com
This article was originally printed in Sabaidee Magazine, Issue 17, June 2014. You can pick up Sabaidee Magazine free from cafes, restaurants, spas and hotels across Vientiane, and stay up to date with their latest articles and local events through their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/sabaideemagazine.
Words by Hannah McDonald-Moniz, photos courtesy of featured hotels