Le Bel Air, is from what we could tell in our 2 weeks in Luang Prabang, definitely unique. There are lots of hotels in the center and outskirt of town. There are plenty of homestays. However, what we really loved about Le Bel Air was the spaciousness of the property along the river, coupled with private bungalows. We never saw any accommodation like it in LP.
Jean Paul, a Canadian owner, is probably the most helpful owner we have experienced in our six months of travel in S.E. Asia. Every morning, he is at breakfast, greeting guests, helping them with their day’s plans and giving useful suggestions. We really appreciated that!
Breakfast was one of the better selections we have had in S.E. Asia. I loved the fresh salad every morning in addition to a good selection of Lao and Western food. Service was wonderful – dishes were cleaned away immediately and the staff were very attentive.
Jean Paul very kindly upgraded us to a bungalow – probably because of the unusual length of our stay. We loved that! The bungalows are great, although they are a bit close to each other, but we still felt that we had privacy from our front porch. The butterflies are amazing in Laos and we could sit for long periods of time watching the butterflies. It was very quiet for the most part, except for Sunday, when a restaurant across the river had karaoke going for a good part of the day and it was pretty painful to listen to. However, even then, the music was bearable and we took it in as part of the experience of S.E. Asia.
The bed was comfortable – if you have been traveling in Asia at all, you know that cannot be taken for granted. AND when it was advertised as a King, it really was a King! I don’t like blankets but prefer quilts which we often get in our travels. However, they did bring us an extra blanket which was fine. Some nights were cool enough in August to not use a/c which was great.
We didn’t like the locking systems for the bungalow. The windows were a pain to lock and the door had a key padlock which was at the bottom of the door. That meant getting on our hands and knees to lock and unlock the door which at times was definitely stubborn. We also would have preferred much more comfortable chairs on the front porch as the chairs there are surely instruments of torture after about 2 minutes. Internet was a problem. We visited 3 cities in Laos and everyone had internet challenges. It did create some costly problems for us as we had to make calls back to the US on our Laos cell phone which was very expensive. Jean Paul suggested we go to another internet café across the river but because of the time difference between Laos and the US, the internet café was not open at the times we needed to make calls on Skype. And lastly on the negative, I didn’t like the cancellation policy on booking.com for this accommodation. It was much stricter compared to every other place I have booked and it made me a bit nervous. However, it worked out well as we stayed the 12 nights booked and added 2 more!
The staff was the best trained we had come across to that point – now after a month in Vietnam we have experienced service out of this world – but for Laos, the staff were amazing! They were also the best we had in all of Laos. We also really loved having the free bikes to use as Luang Prabang is perfect for getting around on a bicycle.
The food at the restaurant was for the most part excellent. After having chicken in Thailand, my husband found the chicken a bit tougher than he was accustomed to, and you will quickly discover that prices in Laos are NOT cheap. Everything is on average about 25% more than Thailand and motorbikes are 3 times the price! We were surprised at the prices but compared to most parts of the world, they are still very affordable. The green fish curry at the restaurant was amazing – fish was the best I have had in S.E. Asia. I don’t know how many times I ordered that dish but it was several! We actually loved Lao food – lots of vegetables and very fresh tasting. There are several great restaurants in Luang Prabang and on bike, it is only about 10 – 15 minutes away.
We really enjoyed the feeling of being away from the center of town, yet close enough to enjoy. We would definitely go back to Luang Prabang because it is just such a lovely little town and we would go back for another visit at Le Bel Air.
- 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