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“Beauty, charm, warmth”

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The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel
Ranked #6 of 68 Hotels in Luang Prabang
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 January 2014

We looked at every single review of every single Luang Prabang hotel before choosing the BelleRive. This was going to be a splurge romantic trip, and so we wanted the perfect place. In the end the choice came down to the BelleRive, the Mekong Riverview, and the 3-Nagas. Ultimately we chose the BelleRive because (a) unlike 3-Nagas, it wasn't a chain hotel (the BelleRive is a boutique hotel owned by one person who turns out to have wonderful taste, and to really care about the hotel, and about Lao culture); (b) the location seemed ideal - much quieter and a better view than 3-Nagas or Mekong Riverview, and much more central to everything going on.

We were so glad we made this decision - after arriving in Luang Prabang, we had dinner at 3-Nagas, and toured Mekong Riverview just for fun and realized that we had chosen the best place of all!

We stayed in one of the balcony rooms in Tamarind - we were lucky enough to stay in the one on the end, which has windows on two sides. This gave us a dreamy view of the river and yet because BelleRive is located in the section of the river road that is one-way, it's still quiet. It is true that the Balcony Rooms are on two levels but we didn't find it difficult to run downstairs to use the toilet. And we loved having the refrigerator, little table, balcony, and bathroom downstairs and a cosy bedroom suite upstairs.

Furnishings were simple but elegant, the bed was comfortable and, as it was chillier than usual in Laos, the management gave us a great heater and some lovely comforters for the bed. They were also generous about letting us carry up breakfast, coffee, fruit, wine, and other goodies so that we could sit on the balcony with a snack and watch folks go by.

In fact, while the place itself is beautiful, and the breakfast is copious and good, the real charm of the BelleRive is the warmth of the staff, who truly went out of their way to make us welcome, and to make sure every detail of our trip was perfect. This included getting a backpack re-sewn (for free), running to pick up medicine for us when one of us fell sick (and not charging us for it), giving suggestions about their own favorite restaurants (which quickly became ours) and pointing out places on the map for us to find all sorts of obscure purchases and experiences. We stayed for longer than a week - we felt like we were home by the end of our 3rd day. In this context, a special shout out to Ms. Tou - wonderful front desk manager and lovely human being. In fact, our experience was so good that we came back for a couple more days when we passed back through LP.

I do want to comment on some of the things others have pointed out - it's not a perfect chain hotel kind of place - one night the water heater was broken, and another night there was a noisy group outside. In each case the management set it right. It's impossible in a country such as Laos for everything to go perfectly (unless you're staying inside some kind of sanitized compound, which is not what we were looking for) - so what counts is the good will of the management to make sure that all goes as well as it can, and to make amends for things that don't go perfectly. After all, we went to LP to experience Laotian culture - in the BelleRive we felt we were doing that AND living in the lap of luxury!

Room Tip: We loved the Tamarind Balcony Rooms
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank TTTravelHHHappiness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 January 2014

We stayed at The BelleRive for five nights over the New Year. The hotel is only 13 rooms/suites divided among three buildings: Mango has three small rooms with a common terrace adjoining the sidewalk on the ground floor and two superior suites (no balcony) on the upper floor, Frangipani (the white/blue colonial building frequently photographed) has two superior rooms (no terrace) on the ground floor and two superior suites (no balcony) on the upper floor, and Tamarind (the building containing the lobby and bar) has three balcony maisonette rooms (e.g. loft rooms) and one balcony loft suite (the best in the house) all on the upper floor.

We stayed in a balcony maisonette room in the Tamarind building and are glad we did. The weather was much cooler, foggier and damper than normal for this time of year and it was nice to have a private balcony to watch life go by on the quiet street below. However, the room is not for everyone - it is literally a 12 (steep) step program between the tiny living area on the entry floor and the bedroom loft above. If you are prone to taking multiple bathroom breaks at night, you should avoid the room since the bathroom is downstairs. Besides being steep, the steps are polished wood and a bit slippery. The design of the maisonette room leaves very little storage space, so pack light! We received a TV on request and it had to be placed on the stairs. The minibar had a price list taped to the front which was quite misleading - all non-alcoholic drinks were included yet they had a price on the list. We found this out on the second day. The shower had plenty of pressure but ran out of hot water for the second person’s shower on two of five mornings. The toilet had an issue (ran continuously) which was fixed on the second day. After examining the toilet, I could tell it was a known problem (the damaged part had been taped into place) so it should have been properly repaired before our arrival. While the maids did a great job each morning, I thought for the prices charged they should have turned down the bed and replaced the towels in the evening as well as the thorough morning cleaning.

The final billing was quite nebulous. Prices signed in kip were arbitrarily changed to US$ at a very poor exchange rate, the 10% guest food/beverage discount is difficult to discern on the final bill and the 2.5% surcharge for credit card payments is so, so petty when paying $160/night. I certainly wasn’t carrying over US$1,000 cash to pay for the room and I doubt too many would, so management should factor credit card usage into the quoted rate.

Besides the aforementioned nits, The Belle Rive is the best (in my opinion) option in Luang Prabang. The only other contender would be Mekong Riverview and The BelleRive has a much superior location closer to the night and morning markets and the main part of town in general. One block behind the hotel you can see the monks’ procession for alms early in the morning. The lower riverfront terrace is reserved for guests only and has a great view of the sunset. The owner/manager sorted out our lost luggage by phone and made sure the airline delivered it the morning after our arrival. She is a beautiful lady, inside and out. The hotel provided a wonderful breakfast with five Asian options and a several different Western options. No buffets here - everything is cooked to order and you could order as much as you wanted. (Food at dinner was not as impressive.) The hotel employees from the owner/managers to the maids and wait staff were very friendly and professional. We took several rides through town using the hotel’s complimentary bicycles. We enjoyed a spectacular sunset cruise on the Mekong at no charge (including wine) on a very deluxe longboat. Internet service was fast and consistent. An inexpensive laundry service is available 100 feet up the street by the Mango building. It was quite cool while we were there, but the one time I turned on the A/C it worked very well with minimal noise.

There are many competing “inns” and “B&Bs” along the riverfront street but they are almost all quite rustic (e.g. “dumps”). The last time we were in Luang Prabang we stayed at one of the rustic places and it was a severe disappointment. The BelleRive charges a lot of money, but it gets things right over 95% of the time. Should we visit Luang Prabang again, we will stay at The BelleRive.

Room Tip: If you can manager 12 stairs between the living area/bathroom and the bedroom, definitely go for a m...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank John_of_GA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 January 2014 via mobile

Set in a charmingly beautiful and clean colonial building, with picturesque views of the Mekong river. Free bikes to rent and very good included american breakfast (the French bread is to die for here after eating curry in SE Asia for a few weeks). Beds were too firm. Also, be warned: while it's very quiet from midnight (curfew in Laos) to 4-5am, the hotel is in town, which means it's loud with the motorbikes and tuk tuks zooming by. Concierge was very sweet, and even woke up with us early to set us up to make merit with monks properly.

  • Stayed: January 2014
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1  Thank cdmlaura
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2014

By sheer serendipity we finally made it to Luang Prabang as 2013 was ushering in the year 2014 ... we came away not only having fallen in love with this enchanting, beautifully quaint, town with her proud heritage, but also delighted by the charm and comfort we discovered throughout our 7-night stay at The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel. Housed in three rather elegant French colonial houses, the Hotel offers comfort with style, tasteful décor, splendid river views, and excellent service. In fact, what impressed us immensely during our stay was the staff, who were kind, courteous and eager to be of service. We found their caring ways rather endearing and thought it reflected positively on the Management and their keen eye to detail. Location-wise, the Belle Rive is happily situated on the bank of the Mekong River, away from the hustle and bustle, yet within easy reach of all the joys and delights that Luang Prabang has to offer - historical landmarks, beautiful temples, an amazing range of dining choices (including quaint cafés), buzzing markets (we found quality Lao silk at the Night Market), relaxing spas, and so on. This made exploring the town on foot extremely enjoyable ... so ... we wandered and roamed along and about the main streets, up and down the numerous lanes and small pathways. This introduced us to the wonders of Luang Prabang that lie beyond the postcards: traditional wooden houses, reminiscences here and there of the colonial era, including in particular, the local way of life. We got to feel the charm of this peaceful town and understand something of its cultural history all the more better - essentially because we were staying in a comfortable place (where we felt at home) in a convenient location. Insofar as dining was concerned, we found that the Hotel's own restaurant - the Bellerive Terrace - offered a rather delightful dining experience that was rich in idea and flavour. We thoroughly enjoyed breakfast which was served up until 11 a.m. (making it easy for us to sleep in whenever we wanted to), and tasty Loatian and Thai dishes there on several evenings ... sometimes just as the sun was sinking towards the horizon, fading into a reddish yellow afterglow on the Mekong River. Hopefully, we will return to Luang Prabang in the near future, to further explore this wondrous place and enjoy "our cup of tea" at The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank ShinTittaya P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2014

It was our first time in Luang Prabang and this little boutique hotel was just the right decision! At arriving a warm and happy welcome from the manager, his wife and the staff. The room on the first floor was very cozy, nice interior and very clean with a wonderful view to the mekong river. The quality from breakfast to lunch and dinner was always very good - my personal five stars for our amazing thai new years eve dinner..wow! Stuff was always very friendly and for example helped us organizing nice day trips. All in all we had a great time and will come back soon!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Ineb m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2014

Its not hard to say that in all my years coming to Laos, this is by far the nicest place I have stayed at in the country!

The staff upgraded us for free to one of the classic rooms on the second floor which boasted great views, a lovely sitting area. super comfy bed, and exquisite bath fixtures....Of particular note was the hand painted sink with images of coy fish swimming about. Just awesome.

Otherwise, we quite enjoyed the breakfast as the portions were huge and they made an amazing fried rice that we all ate entirely too much of. The glass noodles were also particularl good as were the cappucinos they kept putting out. Regrettably, the river views, clean air, and general ambiance of the river terrace completely stole the lime light whenever we grabbed a bite.

Moreover, we found the staff so kind and helpful. Whether we needed to book a car, get some directions, or get some advice on the best places to go shopping for antiques, they were always happy to help and gave us some great advice that we would end up following to the letter! There were even a few staff members who waved goodbye to us when we eventually departed, it was such a beautiful gesture that we could only smile at one another and vow to come back again.

In the end, we cant wait to come back to this beautiful dream!

Room Tip: they are all great, but we much preferred having a second floor room even if the streets are usually...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Confused_ExpatHanoi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2014

The hotel is made up of three beautifully restored French colonial houses overlooking the Mekong. All the rooms I have seen are very well decorated with good showers and toilets, comfortable beds with nice linen, fridge and WiFi (but no TV). Pricey by Lao standards but worth every $. Staff are very pleasant and helpful which is probably thanks to the Thai owners. Restaurant and bar over the road has wonderful views. The only slight criticism is that both the service in the restaurant and the quality of breakfasts, while acceptable, falls below the standard of the rest of the hotel. The area is relatively quiet and is well located for the best restaurants. Short walk to the temples and night market.

Room Tip: All the rooms are lovely. Some rooms open out onto the street.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank mmcgow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel

Address: 99 Baan Phonhueang, Luang Prabang, Laos
Phone Number:
Region: Laos > Luang Prabang Province > Luang Prabang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 68 Hotels in Luang Prabang
Price Range: £103 - £165 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel awarded Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years and recently inducted into HALL OF FAME on the World’s Largest Travel Site. This designer boutique hotel - situated at the shore of the Mekong River and in the historical centre of the peninsula - offers luxury accommodation and tranquility for independent travelers with high standards. The hotel features 13 rooms, 4 of them in the protected former residence of the mayor, and a charming Terrace restaurant on the Maekong Riverbank. Free Bicycles, Minibar, WiFi and a delicious breakfast variety make your stay a delightful experience. Book your room now - The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel is looking forward to having the pleasure of welcoming you in this unique world heritage town. ... more   less 
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