Travelers headed to SE Asia often overlook Luang Prabang in Laos. Not because it isn’t a worthy destination — the entire town was declared a World Heritage site to protect its 32 precious temples and classic French colonial buildings. But access to this landlocked capital use to be dangerously difficult before the addition of a modern international airport and an international rail link last year. Now with the opening of Amantaka, this sleepy town along the Mekong is officially on the map for adventurous globetrotters.
Aman resorts turned a former provincial hospital in the amiable town of Luang Prabang into its latest five-star retreat. After a painstaking restoration, the swish resort features a private complex of 24 French colonial-inspired suites that wrap around a picturesque courtyard and pool. Nine of the 15 French colonial buildings are heritage-protected by UNESCO. The spacious suites feature 16-foot ceilings, classical decor and Old World amenities like a drinks cabinet, writing desk, and luxurious bathrooms with a sunken tub. In addition to enjoying the expansive indoor and outdoor living areas, guests can relax poolside under the mango trees or book a treatment from the generous spa menu that combines Southeast Asian wellness techniques with organic Aman spa products.
There is also the opportunity to nosh on delicious French-inspired Lao cuisine or peruse the art gallery offering handicrafts from local artisans. Guests should also make a point to venture beyond the property to view the spectacular natural scenery surrounding the hotel and take advantage of the resort’s tailor-made excursion program that includes visits to the Kuang Xi waterfalls, jungle treks and boat trips down the Mekong River. Or just take leisurely strolls through town to view the ancient temples, royal palace, markets, and orange-robed Buddhist monks that are an intrinsic part of life in Luang Prabang.
Suites from US$400 per night (not including tax). For more information visit Aman’s site here.