Luang Prabang, Laos
La Residence Phou Vao, A Belmond Hotel
Hilltop High Life
What it is
A tranquil 34-suite retreat on a jungle-swathed hill, with a cliffside infinity pool, outdoor spa, and curated activities list.
What it isn't
Hangry. The on-site restaurants are among the best in the region, including a Francophile-Laotian fusion option and a bar with a prime sunset-viewing terrace.
What we think
When you fantasize about lush, leafy Laos, you’re very likely envisioning this place: tucked away on a pristine hilltop with a panorama over the adjacent mountains and red-roofed, airy white-on-white suites. Each one starts at a whopping 595 square feet, and is stocked with a sculptural terrazzo bathtub, bed draped in gauzy mosquito netting, and a daybed-equipped private balcony that’s nothing less than cinematic. Slightly larger, and no less grandiose: the Phou Vao Garden Suites, which also contain a living room within their 700-square-foot floor plans. Wherever you stay, you’ll be pampered full-throttle with fresh floral arrangements, gratis bottled water, nightly turndown service, and luxe touches like in-room espresso machines and iHome docking stations.
You're here because
The spa is what all spas should be: a transportive, unforgettable experience, complete with lily pad-dotted ponds and treatments inspired by the locale. Insiders book the Sip Sen Lao Massage, a strictly choreographed rubdown once only done on royals.
Experiences here are nothing less than bucket list worthy, from alms giving to local monks to guided ambles through local villages. Today, you’re joining up with nearby farmers to plow a verdant field with the help of a water buffalo—and it may be the most alive you’ve ever felt.
Restaurants & Bars
Mountain Terrace - inventive French cuisine is brought to life with delicate Laotian accents
Mountain Bar - open-air lounge for pre- or post-dinner drinks
500 Candle Dinner - private table for two in an intimate garden offering a Laotian feast
Less than three miles from the Luang Prabang Airport, but a world away, hidden in the dense forests of its jungly perch. A medley of ancient temples are within walking distance; don’t miss Wat Wisunarat, built in 1513 and the oldest temple still standing here.