Luang Prabang in Laos and Siem Reap in Cambodia are two popular UNESCO Listed Heritage haunts for very different reasons. In the former one finds an uncommon wealth of resplendently restored colonial buildings turned heritage hotels whilst the latter destination differs with an abundance of modern projects as it was largely developed due to its proximity to the famed Angkor complex. Perceptibly, one visits Lao's ancient city to enjoy its historicity whereas history is preserved for show at the Khmer monument.
The juxtaposition may be largely contrasting but it is undeniable that both cities are home to some of the most stunning hotels in the Indochine region. Here we present five stunning boutique properties that remain significant edifices to the region's historical footnotes.
Amantaka, a luxurious landmark address in Luang Prabang
Once the guest house of King Norodom Sihanouk, this graceful property raised in the 60s currently harbours 24 suites with generously sized private courtyards and swimming pools. Significantly more modern in its design than the other properties on this list, every wall and shadow here is still imbued with nostalgia and historical romance as they have stood witness to the country's most tumultuous epoch in modern times.
4. Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao
A hillside retreat for the Laotian royalty and political elites in the decades past, Belmond La Residence Phou Vao has retained much of its architectural charms as well as stunning views of the surrounding ranges. The 34 suites here are luxurious cloistered by handsomely trimmed gardens set over gentle slopes and terraces that open to serene views of the bucolic countryside.
3. Sofitel Luang Prabang
The world's smallest Sofitel property, all of 25 suites, was once earmarked as a prison before becoming the French governor's residence. Fronted by 2 traditional stilt houses that lead to an interior of ponds, pool, lawns and gardens, plus two photogenic bunnies adopted as the property's mascots, these are scenes that will steal your heart. Stunningly refined, Sofitel Luang Prabang is definitely Accor's best kept secret.
2. Satri House
Before its present incarnation as one of Luang Prabang's most enchanting hotels, this 31 keys property was the childhood home of Prince Souphanouvong. Acquired by its present owner and lovingly restored and expanded with careful adherence to the building's inherent style, Satri House is a gorgeous maze of abodes and gardens. The details here are sincerely artful yet homely and masterfully sync the romantic past with the serene present.
An incredibly sophisticated haven longtime Aman collaborators the likes of Kerry Hill and Ed Tuttle could not claim credit for, this colonial gem, once a hospital, was handsomely restored with rich yet understated French accents that defined an epoch of architectural finesse. Meticulously maintained and elegantly outfitted with old world accoutrements like floral sculptures and candle-lit paper lanterns, 24-rooms Amantaka effuses peace amidst grand luxury.