In recent years, Luang Prabangs has grown into one of South East Asias most noteworthy tourist destinations, which has driven an expansion in the number and variety of accommodation options on offer in this graceful mountain town. The blessing of World Heritage status means local developers have been discouraged from throwing up unattractive, quick-build hotels and have instead begun to invest their efforts into the renovation of the towns splendid old colonial residences. Visitors now have an expansive choice of eclectic and alluring properties such as the striking new Luang Say Residence, home to fascinating selection of antiques, maintaining a feeling of Luang Prabangs colonial past.
Traditional low-rise Lao style buildings have also received the renovation treatment, offering guests a fusion of provincial architecture and panoramic countryside that surrounds Luang Prabang, emphasised by the idyllic ambience the city exudes. The immensity of the Mekong River has also inspired a growth in eco-friendly accommodation choices that suit the rustic scenery of paddy fields and distant mountains, which provide an Arcadian backdrop to the former colonial city. Many visitors also choose to cruise the river and companies like Mekong Cruises offer comfortable converted vessels with stopovers in remote villages and a stay at a comfortable riverside lodge.
The central parts of Luang Prabang also offer resorts and hotels embedded in sprawling, green gardens with water features and spiritual statues contributing towards a sense of serene adytum. Princes and royal officials once resided in some of the more baroque properties, now converted they retain a regal, yet homely feel with contemporary embellishments such as WiFi and a/c. Accommodation in the city matches the range of tastes and budgets, so with some leisurely searching, visitors are sure to find their perfect retreat, more often than not within walking distance of local amenities and cultural attractions. Alternatively, guests can avoid the bustle of tourist crowds and relax at resorts set in lush countryside, surrounded by breath-taking views, but still within reach of the town.
Although five star service is a fairly recent notion in Luang Prabang, the sincere hospitality of Lao people and constant efforts to enhance your stay and meet individual needs make for an unforgettable experience in this historically soaked city. Prices may be a little higher than other tourist hubs in the country, but after experiencing the food, facilities and cordiality, many visitors describe Luang Prabang as South East Asia's best mountain retreat, and find it very hard to leave.