This is a post that is part of my larger Spring 2018 Trip across Asia. I am playing catch up now on the posts per the outline below as the trip ended up being quite packed near the end and I spent about a week recovering and organizing photos.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Review: Avani+ Luang Prabang
Review: Rosewood Luang Prabang
Review: Oman Air 787-9 Business Class Bangkok-Muscat
Review: Qatar Airways 787-8 regional “First Class” Muscat-Doha
Review: Qatar Airways 777-300ER Q Suites Doha-New York JFK
During the first half of our stay in Luang Prabang, Laos we spent 2 nights at the Avani+ Luang Prabang, formerly the Azerai. When we booked it was still under the Azerai brand and as Amanjunkies ourselves we were excited to try Aman founder Adrian Zecha’s new “affordable luxury” concept he built on the same basic concepts of Aman. However, just a year after opening, Zecha’s first Azerai property swapped hands to Minor Hotel Group to be managed under the Avani+ brand. Despite being hesitant of the sudden change in management, our travel consultant convinced us that it would still be worth checking out. And he was right.
The hotel has an incredible location, right at the start of the nightly night market and right on the central street in Downtown Luang Prabang, meaning everything is a short stroll away. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from the hotel to the end of the Luang Prabang peninsula where the Khan River meets the Mekong. It is a short 10 minute drive from the airport as well. The location is especially perfect at night when you can just stroll out the front door and be in the middle of the night market and grab some delicious street food while shopping for gifts and souvenirs, and then effortlessly take a few steps and you’re back in your cool room. Furthermore, the daily morning Alms Giving ritual happens right on the doorsteps of the hotel.
The hotel itself is beautifully designed. Smart, minimalist and comfortable, just like an Aman. However, it is modern Laotian and lacks a little of a truly authentic local feel, so if you want that I probably would not recommend this hotel for you. Unlike an Aman though, the rooms are not big. They are average city hotel sized, but decked out comfortably with wooden tones. The shower and entrance area is separated from the bedroom and living area by curtains only, nonetheless shower, toilet, and two sink areas are all separate. The rooms have all the modern amenities one needs including bedside USB ports. Complimentary water and snacks, turn-down service with nightly bedside gift is also a nice touch for a hotel that goes for the rates this goes at. The small touches for an average nightly rate of around $200/night are definitely signs of the Aman touch and concept that luxury, attention to detail, and good friendly service can be obtained at affordable rates. I would recommend a courtyard room that faces the pool and comes with a larger than average balcony equipped with a day bed and arm chairs, perfect for hanging out. But in order to achieve affordability, some things must be sacrificed, like room size (which isnt a big deal) or cheaper building materials and thinner walls. Gently shut your doors and dont speak or do any other business too loudly because noise travels far and wide in this hotel.
Hotel grounds are very beautiful. Tones of grey, stone, and wood compliment each other and the modern Laotian architecture sticks out but also does blend in with its surroundings. The 25 meter pool acts as the center-piece and its awesome. However, the loungers by the pool are less than ideal for lounging as it cannot be adjusted and make lounging very uncomfortable. There is a spa, gym, one restaurant, a bar, a boutique, and a yoga/ event space pavilion.
Breakfast was included for us. They have a buffet option with simple pastries, fruits, charcuterie, yoghurt and fresh juices as well as an a la carte menu featuring both Western and Laotian options. Over all the food was decent, the western options are tastier than the Loas options, for those you should just head to the next door market!
Staff are all friendly and laidback per Laotian culture, sometimes it can be slow but that is to be expected in Laos. Throughout Laos, service is friendly and always with effort and a smile but sometimes may require a bit more explaining as English is not the strongest here, which is not something that is the end of the world, it just makes for an even more authentic travel experience! Nonetheless, they dont have the attention to detail as one might expect from an Aman concept. However, for a hotel at this rate and quality, the service and effort in my opinion was top notch.
For a convenient, clean, comfortable, affordable, and modern accommodation with above average service and decent food I would recommend this hotel. If you are after something a little more authentic and unique, perhaps stay somewhere else in Luang Prabang.