The first thing that strikes you as you walk through the doors of the Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum in Luang Prabang is the amazing spa-like aroma that greets you, putting you instantly at ease and in holiday-mode.
This stunning colonial hotel is handily located in the heart of beautiful Luang Prabang in Laos. Formerly the residence of Prince Souvana Phouma, four-time Prime Minister of Laos, the hotel enjoys all the luxury and beauty you would expect from the home of such a prestigious former resident.
Maison Souvannaphoum features just 24 rooms, including three grand suites in the original mansion house, beautifully landscaped tropical gardens, a gorgeous swimming pool and deck with poolside bar, and a fabulous spa hidden amongst the tropical foliage.
The service here is second-to-none. The staff are all super-friendly and welcoming, and they were so patient and fun with the children. Our kids were delighted when their babysitter one evening turned out to be the lovely lady on reception who had been playing with them earlier in the day!
We also really appreciated all the little extras included here – free Wi-Fi, free soft drinks in the mini-bar and an endless supply of drinking water. Small things that make a big difference.
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Bedtime at the Maison Souvannaphoum
The hotel is divided into two sections – La Residence and the Garden Wing. We were lucky enough to call La Residence home while we were staying at the Maison Souvannaphoum. This is the original mansion house of Prince Souvana Phouma and is home to three suites, plus the Residence King room.
We were staying in the Laos suite – originally the Queen’s bedroom (mother of Prince Souvana Phouma). This beautiful colonial style suite was hugely spacious and bright, and boasts the largest walk-in wardrobe of the hotel (as befitting a Queen!), which was perfect for a family of four with lots of luggage.
There was plenty of room to house our entire family – with my 2-year old in a cot and my 4-year old in a rollaway bed. Two armchairs and a coffee table provided a separate seating area, and there was also a writing desk, with windows overlooking the swimming pool.
The bathroom featured a fabulous freestanding bathtub, which the kids loved, and we also loved the gorgeous smelling Angsana Spa toiletries provided in the shower.
The two other suites in La Residence include the Champa suite, originally the princess/daughter’s bedroom, and the Maison suite, the largest suite and originally the Prince’s bedroom. Both these suites boast King size beds, lounge areas and spacious bathrooms with bathtubs.
Although newly built, the colonial feel to the décor is maintained in the twenty bedrooms in the Garden Wing. Although smaller than the suites in La Residence, these rooms are beautifully appointed and benefit from private balconies with comfortable furniture, overlooking either the swimming pool or tropical gardens – a great place to escape to and enjoy a glass of wine while the baby sleeps!
The Garden Wing rooms feature a King bed, and while you could squeeze in a cot in these rooms, families travelling with older children or more than one baby would need to either stay in one of the suites in La Residence as we did, or opt for interconnecting rooms in the Garden Wing. Note also that the Garden Wing bathrooms only have showers, and no bathtubs, which may not suit families with very small children.
All rooms throughout the hotel have minibars, with free soft drinks, coffee and tea making facilities, and are replenished with unlimited drinking water. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Playtime at the Maison Souvannaphoum
The Maison Souvannaphoum is set within beautifully landscaped tropical gardens, providing plenty of space for the kids to run around and explore. My kids loved the elephant statue on the front lawn, and running round studying the herbs, fruits and vegetables growing around the grounds, while the Petanque court was also a fun bonus.
But the biggest hit of course was the swimming pool. Although we visited in December, it was still warm enough to swim in the afternoons, and I imagine during warmer months, this would be a welcome retreat after a hot day of sightseeing around Luang Prabang.
I was lucky enough to get a couple of hours to myself to go and try out the spa. Set in spacious tents amongst the tropical foliage, the Angsana Spa uses natural ingredients such as native flowers and fruits, with fusion techniques bringing you the best of East and West.
I opted for a 90-minute Fusion massage, which was a delicious combination of Swedish and Thai massage techniques, leaving me thoroughly relaxed and ready to face the children again! Highly recommended to all travel-weary mums on the move.
Dinnertime at the Maison Souvannaphoum
The Maison Souvannaphoum’s restaurant, the Elephant Blanc boasts a gorgeous poolside setting, where you can choose to sit inside or alfresco on the poolside decking. Even when seated inside, the restaurant is open-air, meaning you can still benefit from the sound of the pool’s trickling waterfall.
We enjoyed breakfast every morning in the Elephant Blanc, which is served a la carte and includes wonderful fresh fruit platters and the famous Luang Prabang coconut pancakes. We also enjoyed a delicious lunch when we arrived at the hotel, including some beautifully presented Spring Rolls and the famous Luang Prabang Salad. The menu includes Laotian and Indo-Chinese cuisine… plus the odd western dish for fussy children.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to sample the ‘Feast of the Prince’, a 10-dish tasting menu, which features the best of Lao cuisine, including various salads, vegetable dishes, Lao Chicken Curry, steamed Mekong fish with herbs in banana leaf and assorted desserts. On certain evenings, the Feast of the Prince is accompanied by traditional Laotian dance and music.
For times when you are hanging out by the pool, you can enjoy poolside service for drinks throughout the day, with a happy hour running from 4pm-6pm, offering 1-for-1 deals on selected cocktails and Beer Lao. There is also a cute little poolside bar where you can pull up a stool to enjoy a cocktail any time of the day.
If you prefer to go out into town to eat, then all the best restaurants in Luang Prabang are just a short walk away.
In the ‘hood
The Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum is just a short walk to the night market, the Royal Palace and the rest of beautiful Luang Prabang town.
There is so much to see and do in Luang Prabang with kids. The town itself is easily explored on foot, and buggy friendly too. You could easily spend an afternoon wandering around, exploring the temples (our favourites were Wat Ho Pha Bang at the Royal Palace and Wat Xieng Thong), stopping off for French pastries in the laid-back cafes and sampling the local cuisine in the restaurants. Make sure to head to the river for sunset, where you can enjoy a cold Beer Lao at one of the many riverside bars and restaurants.
One of our favourite things we did during our stay in Luang Prabang was taking a boat ride on the Mekong River at sunset. Just turn up at the Boat Pier and barter with the driver – it cost us around $20 USD for an hour private-hire. Other highlights included a morning trip to the beautiful Kuang Si Falls (about a 45-minute tuk tuk ride out of town) and a day at the amazing Elephant Village, an elephant sanctuary where you can learn to be mahouts for the day!
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We loved our stay at the Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum in Luang Prabang. The hotel is a beautiful peaceful sanctuary, yet an easy walk into town. There is plenty of room for the kids to run around in the garden, and the gorgeous swimming pool is a welcome retreat after a hot day’s sightseeing.
But what really makes this hotel special is its staff. They made us feel truly welcome, were great with the kids, and greeted us with such enthusiasm that we always felt like we were coming ‘home’ at the end of our day.
Read more about the Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum on their website here, or check here for the latest prices and more information about the Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum.
Note: Mum on the Move were guests of the Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum. This did not influence my review in any way, and all opinions expressed are honest, and my own.
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