We stayed at the Apsara Rive Droite for 6 nights in early November on a swing through Siem Reap and Luang Prabang. We really liked the room, the staff, the intimate size, the view and, ultimately, even the location across the Nam Khan River from the most historic part of town.
As some others have noted, if you are physically challenged by steep stair climbs, the steps to the boat across the Nam Khan are daunting. The boat trip itself is a snap -- thirty seconds, I'm not kidding -- but the climb up from the river is hard with, for instance, a bad knee. And since the tuktuk ride does involve some pre-arranging and a few miles' trip, you might think the hotel is a bit far from the action. At least I wondered about that. But the location is, I now believe, perfect.
By being across the river, you are, in fact, somewhat removed from your fellow tourists, and I don't mean to sound snobby by saying that that's not altogether a bad thing. (As someone else said, there are a lot of tourists -- though we still loved the town and our time in Laos). With the view across the river toward the historic city, a nice pool, cold Beer Lao and an extremely friendly and eager-to-please staff, hanging out on the balcony at the hotel proved to be a fine part of the stay. It also turns out that the hotel is just a mile or so down the road from a village (Ban Xangkhong) that has a some great weavers (look up Chanthasarn Pong on Facebook) and Sa papermakers. The artisans are demonstrably eager to sell stuff to tourists (and tourists do show up in vans), but we loved the people, the craftwork was itself great (we bought a bunch), and the shops are just a pleasant stroll down a dirt road from the hotel.
Our Luang Prabang drill was to have breakfast at the hotel -- it was well-prepared, delicious and ample, though the menu was fairly Western and didn't change day to day -- and then pop into town for sight seeing, some shopping, a truly fine lunch, and perhaps a massage o' the day. Then retreat to the hotel to swim, read and relax until, perhaps, a sunset cruise on the Mekong, a stop at the night market, another great meal (we especially liked Son Prao!), a tuktuk ride home through the tropical air . . . . It was pretty dang mellow, a great vacation if not the most adventurous we've had, and Apsara Rive Droite was a nice part of that.
A couple more details: The beds are comfy, the bathrooms generous and well-equipped, the pool clean and cool. We had a few issues with seriously garbled messages (my Lao is terrible, so we had to resort to English), but we liked the staff *a lot.* It was sad to go.
- Also Known As:
- The Apsara Rive Droite Hotel Luang Prabang
- The Apsara Rive Droite Hotel
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Glamorous rooms, all with their own veranda or terrace. Connected to the town centre by our own boat, the Apsarian Queen, it’s easy to get right into the heart of town. You can spend the morning going to the temples, shopping or just exploring the side lanes and an afternoon in luxurious idleness by the pool. We also have bicycles and our own tuk-tuk available for guests' use. ... more less
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