The management has found the perfect formula - they bring the personal touch and warmth of a guesthouse to the efficiency and professionalism of a hotel. We felt like we were staying in someone's house as honoured guests, with that someone staying unobtrusively in the background but knowing exactly when to make their presence felt.
This is a small hotel right on the banks of the Mekong (or as close as one can get, given development restrictions in the town). There are just 7-8 rooms on two floors - while we had a lovely room on the top floor, the only difference I could make out in the rooms on the ground floor was that the floors were of stone (vs wood). The room was well but not excessively furnished - and one does not feel one is sitting in an oriental museum. The "Swedish" bed was comfortable and wonderful - one can control the inclines just like on a business class seat. The toilet (WC) and bath (shower, basin) are separate, which really helps cut down bathroom time in the morning when two people are sharing a room - however the toilet is really small - barely the size of a broom closet. The only thing that could improve the room is a safe, and a coffee / tea maker. (They do have complimentary tea and coffee available in the lounge downstairs though). Each room has a balcony / terrace, which while not strictly private, is almost so, thanks to clever partitioning and access via different sets of stairs. One gets a lovely view of the Mekong and the hills from every room thanks to the balcony. You could just sit here for hours watching the quite street life below.
The location is fantastic - unless you like to be in the middle of the action and touristy shops and restaurants. It is on the northern edge of town, on the road parallel to the river, with hardly any other "hotels" nearby. At the same time, it is just a 5 minute walk to Wat Xieng Thong, the most "popular" temple in Luang Prabang, a 10 min walk to some very good restaurants (French and Lao), and 15-20 mins to the touristy stuff such as the night market. In any case, they give you a free one way ride if you wish.
The hotel offers free airport transfers (2-way) and breakfast, which is ordered by phone to a family nearby and supplied from their kitchen. They do not charge for bottled water and soft drinks in the room fridge, which is a very nice touch, and as mentioned before, for tea and coffee.
We checked out some other places while in Luang Prabang, such as the much recommended 3 Nagas, and are glad we chose this over the others. Quality of rooms and service is exceptional, there is no exploitation of guests for basics such as water etc, and the hotel is obviously more interested in helping the local community vs making more money by acting as middleman for tours etc (they arranged a boat for us at pretty much the same price and less hassle as agents in town were asking).
Overall, a fantastic experience. With such management this would be a great place anywhere in the world, but Luang Prabang makes it special.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are a beautiful boutique hotel with a personal touch, located on the tip of the peninsula, at the very end of the old town, on the UNESCOs World Heritage Area. The view you have from the rooms and Café/Restaurant is the meeting of great Mekong River and Nam Khan River. The Hotel is quiet and peaceful with the beautiful former Royal temple Wat Xienthong as your neighbor. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Mekong Riverview