The Luang Say Residence is a beautiful colonial style five-star boutique resort in Luang Prabang in Laos. This all-suite resort is just a short tuk tuk ride away from the centre of Luang Prabang, and provides a welcome oasis of tranquility to return to after a hot day of sightseeing amongst the temples.
With beautiful suites, a stunning swimming pool and sprawling tropical gardens to explore, the Luang Say Residence is a great choice for families looking for a classy, yet family-friendly hotel in Luang Prabang.
Bedtime at the Luang Say Residence
Despite the sprawling grounds, there are just 24 suites at the Luang Say Residence. The 20 Pioneer Suites are set within five colonial pavilions which are dotted amongst the gardens, while the four Explorator Suites are located in the main residence building.
Our home for our two-night stay was a Pioneer Suite on the ground floor. Stepping through the door of our suite was like stepping back in time. The colonial ambience was stunning, with elegant antique-style colonial furniture and Laotian wooden flooring. However, despite the colonial feel to the room, it didn’t lack mod-cons and the kids were delighted to still find a flat screen TV with cable channels, including cartoons!
The dreamy four-poster bed had billowing mosquito nets that at least formed some kind of separation from the kids when we were all sharing a room. The living area gave us plenty of space to squeeze in a rollaway bed – and the hotel also provided us with bedding for the sofa, so that the kids didn’t have to share the bed (although I think officially you are only supposed to have one child in these rooms with you).
We loved the little gifts that were left on our pillows every evening – a little elephant one day, and bamboo straws the next. Each was accompanied with an explanation of which member of staff’s village it had come from and how it was made. A really sweet touch that the kids loved – although not as much as the little cakes and cookies that were left for them, with their names on!
The bathroom was beautiful, with its black and white floor tiles and period feature fixtures and fittings. Note however that there is no bathtub in the Pioneer Suite bathrooms, although they do have them in the Explorator Suites. Given how enormous the walk-in shower was, this wasn’t an issue for my 4-year old and 2-year old who love to play in the shower, but if you were visiting with smaller children this may be a problem.
A small balcony with outdoor seating looked out over the tropical landscaped gardens, which would provide a peaceful retreat for mum and dad during kids’ nap times if necessary.
Playtime at the Luang Say Residence
Being city kids, my kids loved the freedom of exploring the massive gardens at the Luang Say Residence. There were organic vegetable and herb gardens to explore, fruit trees to admire – and even rabbits hiding amongst the bushes! The gardeners and other staff were very sweet with them, and let them ‘help’ water the grass with the hose and generally get under everybody’s feet.
But the biggest draw is the swimming pool. This 20 metre free form pool is surrounded by lush greenery, with the main colonial residence as a backdrop. There is a large decking for the kids to run around on, and plenty of cushioned loungers for mum to relax on! We also loved the fruit kebabs and chilled bottles of water that were brought to us as we relaxed.
Dinnertime at the Luang Say Residence
La Belle Epoque is a striking colonial style restaurant, with both indoor and outdoor seating enjoying views over the hotel’s tropical gardens. The kitchen is served by the hotel’s own organic vegetable and herb garden, and we enjoyed our first taste of Laos cuisine here when we arrived at the hotel.
We also enjoyed a beautifully presented a la carte breakfast here every morning – fresh fruit platters, bread and pastry baskets, and freshly prepared hot dishes.
From a parent’s point of view, the real beauty of La Belle Epoque, was being able to sit outside on the terrace and enjoy a leisurely breakfast, while the kids ran around in the garden exploring amongst the fruit trees and searching for rabbits amongst the bushes – all in full view of our table.
The 1861 Bar, with its comfy arm chairs and roaring log fire (we visited in December when it was cool outside in the evenings) was hugely inviting every time we walked through it, but unfortunately having two exhausted kids in tow meant we didn’t have the opportunity to sink into a sofa and enjoy a cocktail or two.
In the ‘hood
UNESCO described Luang Prabang as the ‘best preserved traditional town in Southeast Asia’ and the Luang Say Residence is just a short tuk tuk ride into the centre of town. The hotel has a regularly scheduled shuttle tuk tuk to take you into town, and this was always available to us even out-with the scheduled times.
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. We loved leisurely wandering around the town, 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. You can 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, which the Luang Say Residence helped us to organise) 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 Luang Say Residence. The kids loved the freedom of running around the gardens, and the fabulous swimming pool. We also loved how easy it was to get into town – staff were always on hand to help arrange for the hotel tuk tuk to take us, and to help us arrange excursions.
Note: Mum on the Move were guests of the Luang Say Residence. This did not influence my review in any way, and all opinions expressed are honest, and my own.
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