Destination: Laos: Luang Prabang
SEE ALSO: La Résidence Phou Vao
Originally the Aman group had wanted to take over and convert a primary school further in town but when the deal feel through, the company settled on the defunct former hospital, which occupies some six acres. It’s arguably a better location, in easy walking distance to the town’s buzzing heart but far enough removed that guests feel a sense of space and serenity. Fifteen white-washed buildings with low red-tile roofs (ten are original Colonial structures) are clustered around a massive green courtyard with a large pool and terrace. Sixteen of the suites also come with their own small plunge pools. Interiors of the 24 rooms and suites are serene and minimalist (Aman-style), with tile floors, polished wooden furniture, including four-post beds, embroidered throws and original photography and art, which add touches of color. The bathroom areas are enormous and many come with freestanding bathtubs.
If you come expecting southeast Asian lushness, you will be disappointed. The Aman is sleek and understated to a fault (many locals expressed wonder why travelers would pay the hefty price tag for a look so sparse). But anyone familiar with the Aman brand knows that the luxury is in the details and the service. The resort offers private excursions to sights like the Pak Ou Caves, can organize textile weaving and cooking classes and prepares a special experience for guests who want to partake in the early-morning alms offering. The resort also has a program of guests speakers, including local artists, designers and monks, who give fascinating overviews of the rich Laotian culture. The spa is fabulous and a small gym is also on-property. For travelers who enjoy design and appreciate extra hand-holding, this property is a good match. Rooms from $750.
Writes Indagare member Pamela Murdock about her stay: “Like all Amans, it has great style and is an oasis of serenity. As this was my sister’s and my first trip to Luang Prabang, we spent my days sightseeing and never saw the hotel’s spa, yoga room or gym. We got around via the Amantaka’s adorable, custom-designed tuk tuk or in an air-conditioned mini van. For the most private rooms—the hotel is surrounded by town and on one side, across the street from a school—ask for rooms 1 through 12. Also, even though the hotel says children are welcome, I would say this isn’t the best or most fun place for young ones.”
Another member who returned raving wrote: “The Amantaka was beautiful. They upgraded us to a pool suite, which was amazing. We did the afternoon/dinner cooking class that night which was one of the highlights of the trip. The chef was so nice and good to work with. We made an amazing dinner and ate overlooking the farm. Would highly recommend the cooking class!! The next day the head chef took us through the local food market which we enjoyed. The manger of the property was also very personable. He went out of his way to make us feel welcome and cared for.”
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