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Amantaka, Luang Prabang 

55/53 Kingkitsarath Road
Ban Thongchaleun
Luang Prabang
Tel: 856 71 860 333
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
A clever conversion of Luang Prabang's old provincial hospital has created the most luxurious property in the country. A sweeping driveway brings guests to a colonial-style lobby (the former X-ray room) beneath a low-slung red-tiled roof. Inside, it's pare -down to the point of austere, but in a soothing contrast to this tropical town of gilded temples and extravagant carvings. Twenty-four cream suites surround a shady centerpiece garden and expansive pool. Behind the dusky-green French shutters, the hotel has a slight sanitarium feel, with long corridors and tiny wardlike chambers. Smaller suites are more cozy; the bigger ones have private pools and en suite spa treatment rooms. Decor is without fuss: simple Southeast Asian wood furnishings, an embroidered silk throw, black-and-white photographs of Buddhist monks in meditation. What Amanresorts always does best is the anything-is-possible service, and that is no exception here. On call are the town's experts in Theravada Buddhism, traditional arts, and ethnology, which means stellar evening lectures and exclusive access to, for example, a photographic archive of monastic life dating back to the 1880s. A member of the former royal family is on hand to discuss Lao fine arts, and there are guided walks away from the main sights to explore abandoned temples. —2010 Hot List

Which room to book: Suite 18 has views of sacred Mount Phousi.

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I was at Amataka around when it opened and frankly, I found it a considerable disappointment. The staff evidently thinks that scattering plumerias in the tubs and... more