When I was chatting with my friends about this review, we were trying to find a negative to make this review more balanced and helpful but, to be honest, I would have to lie through my teeth if I were to give too many negatives.
We stayed in a group of four (two couples) over Christmas. We arrived after being met at the airport by a free transfer service (even though our flight was delayed) and the check in service was quick and easy. We were shown to our rooms, deluxe garden riverside rooms, which had beautiful wooden floors, two large beds covered in rose petals, a well stocked mini bar, hair dryer, dressing gown and slippers as well as the complimentary toiletries you'd expect from a quality hotel. Our only negative about the rooms was the lack of curtain over the door onto the balcony. Even though the rooms are not overlooked, we were still conscious when getting changed. The wifi in our rooms was impressive: we were able to Skype on Christmas Day. The plugs were European style so be sure to pack a European adapter in your suitcase.
The grounds are remarkable. We spent many an hour relaxing on the sun loungers by the river and we also used the free computers. We didn't use the outdoor gym but looked well stocked and the kit was of good quality. After reading a few reviews before we visited, I was a little scared of the, 'Old Bridge'. Walking over it was a daunting experience but it allowed for remarkable views over the river and surrounding areas. Just make sure you have a torch - it is almost impossible to walk over this at night without a torch. There is one torch provided in the room but you really need one per person. Also the right hand side of the bridge, as you approach it from the hotel, is much more stable than the left side.
A lot of people have commented on the location of the hotel. It was perfect for us as we enjoyed the 10-15minute walk into town and you could always pick up a tuk tuk on the other side of the bridge if you didn't want to walk the whole way. The location was so peaceful and homely; I don't think you would have got the same feeling in a hotel in the city centre. When returning to Le Bel Air, it really felt like coming home. Also, the hotel offered a number of free shuttle buses during the day so you could avoid the walk or minimal tuk tuk charge.
The staff were the best we met in Laos! They were attentive, thoughtful, funny and helpful. At breakfast they put hot coals under the tables to warm our toes - just one of the ways that the staff went the extra mile. Xaysone, in particular, made our stay special but he was just one of many. They all worked remarkably hard and were professional and courteous at all times.
The food was amazing too but I will add all of those comments on the restaurant review!
We are seriously considering spending the £2000 in flights from London to return to this hotel again! If you get the chance, do visit this hotel and this amazing country.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Le Bel Air is a unique hotel in Luang Prabang, Laos and indeed most of the world. It is located less than five minutes drive from the airport, nestled in two hectares of unspoilt garden and natural vegetation, along the banks of a major river. The centre of town is a short walk, the air is fresh and quiet. The river a never ending, ever changing painting of tranquil rural life, Laos style. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Le Bel Air Boutique Hotel Luang Prabang