DestinAsian - - FLASHBACK -

Le­gendary hote­lier Adrian Zecha, founder of the Aman group, has cho­sen the tem­plestud­ded town of Luang Pra­bang as the first lo­ca­tion for his new, more af­ford­able brand, Az­erai. Lo­cated op­po­site the night mar­ket and just blocks from an in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful stretch of the mighty Mekong River, the ho­tel dis­creetly opened its doors last De­cem­ber with­out any fan­fare— char­ac­ter­is­tic of Zecha’s pen­chant for sub­tlety. A her­itage bun­ga­low built for the French mil­i­tary in 1914 (in a later life it be­came the Phousi Ho­tel) has been given a facelift with a Bud­dhist tem­ple– in­spired roofline, teak ac­cents, wrap­around bal­conies, a serene spa and yoga pav­il­ion, and 53 rooms. This all frames a 25-me­ter swim­ming pool—a rar­ity in Luang Pra­bang’s UNESCO-listed her­itage zone—that shim­mers un­der the dap­pled shade of a cen­tury-old banyan tree. Rooms boast the calm, Zen-like vibe that’s be­come syn­ony­mous with Aman prop­er­ties, and while they’re smaller and more mod­est than your typ­i­cal Aman ac­com­mo­da­tions, they re­tain a metic­u­lous at­ten­tion to de­sign—think hand­made fur­ni­ture, daybeds, and in­tri­cate, hand-stitched Hmong tex­tiles. In­side the re­sort’s airy, re­laxed Bistro res­tau­rant, Bri­tish chef Ben Faker serves up au­then­tic, fam­ily-style Lao­tian dishes that take ad­van­tage of the area’s rich and abun­dant pro­duce. —856-71/262-333; az­; dou­bles from US$250

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