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Maison Souvannaphoum, Luang Prabang 

Rue Chao Fa Ngum
Luang Prabang
Tel: 856 71 254 609
view web site ›'s insider take:

This property has it all: Location, history, and style. A five-minute stroll south of the old town, the former compound of Prince Souvannaphouma now holds a sumptuous 24-room boutique hotel. Four large, bathtub-equipped suites occupy the old royal residence; rooms in the 20-unit Garden Wing bear Indo-chic touches such as silk pillows and hand-loomed fabrics, but the pebble-paved rain showers are a bit cramped. The quietest chambers, rooms 101–105, are at the end of the Garden Wing and look out onto serene grounds. There is a swimming pool and Angsana Spa's four outdoor tents to work out the kinks, though traffic on nearby Chao Fa Ngum Road can be a buzzkill. The in-house restaurant, Elephant Blanc, offers Western and Lao dishes, including several old royal recipes resurrected by executive chef Vanhxay Picknock.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Tradition meets the twenty-first century at Maison Souvannaphoum, once the palace of Prince Souvannaphouma. Two giant naga heads welcome guests into the airy lobby, where splashes of color enliven the haute-Thai decor. The 22 rooms are mostly white, with Laotian wall textiles the focal point. The hotel's Angsana spa offers wonderful massages using oils infused with frangipani, jasmine, lavender, and rosemary, and its in-house restaurant, Elephant Blanc, serves good French, Indo-Chinese, and Laotian fare. Staff are eager and exuberant—alas, more from the heart than from the head.—2005 Hot List

When to go: October through April, after which the monsoon sets in.

Which room to book: The Maison Suite, in the original structure, or a Verandah room overlooking the pool and gardens, in the annex

Amenities: Bar/lounge, Gym, Pool, Spa, 24-hour Room Service, Wheelchair-accessible

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