IT’S not the flashiest place in town— La Residence Phou Vao takes that title — but the Apsara wins out for its combination of authenticity, charm, price and location.
The hotel comprises two buildings about 20m apart on the banks of the Nam Khan, and in the heart of Luang Prabang’s historic district. One building houses the superior rooms (as well as the excellent restaurant); the other, the standard rooms. Upstairs rooms have terraces overlooking the tranquil river, and the Apsara is blessed with one of the most peaceful locations in town.
In the French style, the superior building began life in the 1960s as a store house and later became a club for French expats before Englishman Ivan Scholte bought the property and turned it into a boutique hotel.
The rooms have creaking timber floorboards, shuttered windows, rattan chairs, desks, showers and big baths, and brightly coloured soft furnishings (the interior is the work of a prominent Bangkok designer) evoke the hues of monks’ robes.
And there’s a nice sense of humour at play here as well. The hotel compendium warns: ‘‘ Mrs Chounnaly’s beauty salon on the Mekong will do a simple wash and blow dry; any attempt at more than this may end up with you looking like Imelda Marcos.’’ Rooms from $US55 ($65) .
www.theapsara.com Gary Walsh
Peace and plenty: Foyer of the Apsara Hotel