The hotel is a serene oasis, and having just come from the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap, La Residence Phou Vao was a perfect place to simply chill out and relax.
The hotel itself is away from the center of Luang Prabang, but not so much so that you feel isolated – unless you want to be. The hotel is an easy 20-25 minute walk away from the town if you want to do that, and with LP being so compact there’s not much chance of getting lost.
There is a hotel shuttle on call for guests during the day. In the evening the shuttle leaves the hotel at 40 after the hour, starting at 1740 until 2140, and drops you off at the Post Office in the center of LP. The shuttle leaves the Post Office to return to the hotel on the hour, with the last run back at 2000.
The hotel was nice enough to upgrade us from a garden view room to a mountain view room, and it had two balconies, one with settees to lounge on. The room was quite spacious, with all the normal amenities – a kettle to make coffee and tea, in room safe, small tv (but I’ve never understood the need to watch CNN or BBC while you’re on vacation), and free wi-fi.
The pool area was perfect, not expansive, but there aren’t a lot of guests here. The infinity pool provides a dead on view of the golden temple on top of Phu Si hill in the center of LP and you feel like you’re floating right over the edge into the hills.
The dining room is adjacent to the pool so you have the view at all times during the day. Breakfast was expansive, and the dinner included in our stay was simple, but still elegant and most importantly – relaxed.
We asked to see the morning tradition of the Buddhist monks walking through the streets of LP to collect offerings of food from the locals. While the hotel offers an excursion to see the procession that includes food you can offer to the monks ($15), we did not want to participate to that extent. It’s an early start, leaving the hotel at 0545 – unfortunately we were dropped off on the LP’s main street which has become quite a circus with large tour groups gathering to participate in the offerings, but also being quite intrusive to the quiet procession with a lot of picture taking and silly poses. The local vendors are quite aggressive in trying to sell you parcels of food to make offerings with. We saw a number of smaller processions while we were being driven into town, and if I had to do it again, I would get up a little earlier and walk into town on my own to see the monks at random.
The only negative to the stay was the surprising number of families with young children staying at the hotel. It was less than relaxing to have 5-6 children racing around the lobby and pool when you’re trying to chill out and enjoy the view. Similarly breakfasts were less than peaceful with parents continually calling for children to behave, or not get so close to the pool, etc. One mother decided it was appropriate to hide eggs in the hotel vegetation fur her children to hunt for on Easter Sunday. Not a problem in and of itself – until the fights and crying broke out over who had found too many treats, or who had taken someone else’s egg.
Quite frankly, I was paying a lot of money to stay at La Residence and should have to deal with ill behaved children, or inconsiderate parents.
That one complaint aside – I would highly recommend La Residence Phou Vao to anyone coming to Luang Prabang and looking for an elegant retreat.
Mountain view rooms look out towards the town of Luang Prabang and the hills beyond.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC