This is a year of renewed discovery for our family and we had yet to visit Laos after countless trips to Southeast Asia. We selected the Sofitel Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage protected site – it was stunning.
Just outside of the hustle and bustle of the city is the Sofitel Luang Prabang. It’s conveniently 10-15 minutes from Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ) and about 45-60 minutes drive from the Kuang Si Falls.
Address: Ban Mano, Luang Prabang 00600, Laos
Phone: +856 71 260 777
Originally built for the French Governor during colonial rule, the site is now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site preserving the architecture and unique charm of a bygone time. Deep teak wood covers the buildings hiding deceptively modern interiors.
Evening lights hang from the trees and line the walkways. A pair of resident rabbits can be fed by hand, staff has carrots ready for just such opportunities.
After checkin, we were taken to a Garden suite, one of just 25 rooms on the property. The Sofitel features four different types of rooms including standard rooms and plunge pool suites. Our Garden Suite (#10) offered green space, high privacy walls, a patio with seating and a canopy covered bathtub at least five feet wide.
A four-post bed with a canopy made Lucy feel like a Princess, she helped herself in releasing the ties and lowering the shades as often as we allowed. Ample power outlets accompany reading lights above and behind the headboard, creating a shelf to charge and store your devices at night.
Opposite the bed, a wrap-around couch sufficient for Lucy to sleep on, and a table with a welcome gift made us feel at home. The walls were painted the same strong gray as the rest of the property and clearly displayed local artwork and Laos-made textiles.
The indoor/outdoor feel of the suite drew us outside. Whether just resting following a busy day in Luang Prabang or splashing in the tub with our five-year-old (who used it as a plunge pool), the peaceful setting and beautiful tub deliver the rest it promises.
The bathroom is split over the back of the suite just off the entrance. Immediately to the left, just after entering the suite, is a private water closet. To the right is the entrance to the room but just after is a double vanity with closet and dressing area behind.
Continuing into an indoor/outdoor feel, a pair of French doors welcome guests to a bathing suite with a glass-enclosed shower to the left and bathtub to the right (separate from the one outside in the garden. These areas are secluded from the garden by large, wooden doors though they can be opened with privacy walls concealing guests as they shower with nature close by.
The room features both air conditioning (overhead unit with remote control) and a fan. With the heat outside we were doubtful they could keep up but were delightfully surprised. A mini-bar with room for your own drinks were underneath a snack, coffee and tea station.
When leaving the property, classic bicycles were available to guests to ride the short journey into town. Feel free to take a pool/shopping bag with you as we did to nearby Kuang Si Falls.
The pièce de résistance of the resort is the long, narrow pool that runs half the length of the courtyard in full sight of every room. Beautiful loungers and umbrellas give shade to families and readers alike. At the edge, a shallow three-inch deep section allows swimmers to wet their feet before diving out of the scorching heat and into the cool water.
Lucy loved jumping in and had run of the area for half of our stay, though even at its busiest, there was room for every guest.
Service is also available at the pool, offering a full menu and both cocktails and mocktails. Lucy loved trying a new take on a classic favorite, Mango Sticky Rice.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all available at the Governor’s Grille in the center of the property. Breakfast included western and local options as well as Chinese Congee. Fresh juice mixes included “Energy” and “Detox” varieties among traditional choices.
On Friday nights the Sofitel hosts an authentic Laos dinner with a traditional dance show. The Prix Fixe menu (about $60 USD for two adults) with a local tuna dish, sauteed and stewed chicken, Laotian sticky rice, oxtail soup, spring rolls, and fresh vegetables. Laos whiskey was offered as an Aperitif. Lucy loved the entertainment and had an opportunity to pose with the dancers.
The service at the property is excellent. Whether taking a cooking class in the kitchen with in-house chefs and learning to make Laotian food with ingredients grown on-site or taking in a couples session at the Spa, service is five-star quality. Good service is really in the details like evening turndown service with snack surprises and the canopy bed prepared for a restful sleep.
The cost during our stay was about $225-250USD. This is the premier hotel in the city and western visitors will find it a bargain for the value, seclusion and intimate nature of this historic property.
Have you visited this property? How was your experience?