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“Best in LP, but mediocre for an Aman”
Review of Amantaka

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Amantaka
Ranked #32 of 68 Hotels in Luang Prabang
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 10, 2013

We stayed at a Khan Pool Suite (Suite #9) for 3 nights over New Year's. How did the property and service hold up under the avalanche of guests during this period?

First, the arrival experience... After touching down at Luang Prabang Airport, we had to wait for about 10 minutes before the hotel vehicle arrived. No apology was given by the representative for the delay, which was a inexplicable. Also a surprise was the lack of bottled water or cold towels in the vehicle. Mind you, it was a 10 minute drive from the airport to Amantaka, so it wasn't something we particularly missed. But it's definitely something we've come to expect from an Aman.

The Khan Pool Suite was was wonderful and inviting. It's tastefully decorated while being low-key at the same time. If there's one complaint to be had, it's in the layout of the suite - it's a very large suite, mind you, but it feels far less cavernous than it ought to be. While the sitting room (adjacent to the bedroom) is quite spacious, the bedroom feels a bit cramped. The twin sinks, closets and showers are all somewhat segregated, (sort of their own enclaves in a sense), often connected by mini hallways. The courtyard and pool are in the back of the suite with the courtyard having a table, two chairs and two loungers for relaxing. Unfortunately, it was very cold during our time in Luang Prabang, and we never got around to using it as a result.

We had dinner at Amantaka all three evenings we were there - during the holiday season, a compulsory supplementary charge is tacked on to the rate and includes breakfast and choice of lunch and dinner daily. If it wasn't for the supplementary charge, we definitely would not have dined there as often. We stuck mainly to Laotian dishes, although we did try two Western entrees for one of our meals. while there was nothing wrong with the food, we found it rather bland and unimaginative. By comparison, the food in town was great. We had lunch at Tamarind, and everything we had was fresh, full of flavor and very creative. We also checked out a "hole in the wall" noodle shop, which specialized in one noodle soup (which is all it offered!). Especially noteworthy was the dried crispy rice that gets added to the soup - think sizzling rice soup for those of you familiar with Chinese cuisine. It blew away the breakfast noodles on offer at Amantaka, which had far less umami and the noodles were way too soft. Dessert at Amantaka was decent, however. We had sweet sticky rice with mangos on two occasions; it's a great finale to end any meal.

How was the service during this peak period, you ask? Good but far from exemplary. We were rarely greeted by name, and service at the restaurant was not attentive at all and was very, very slow (despite it being less than half full on most nights) - every time we wanted to ask for something, it seemed like forever before the waiter would appear... definitely not the "anticipatory" service that one expects from an Aman resort. At times, we sensed that the staff were under the strain of having to deal with a full house. One example: one our walk back to our suite, we realized we had forgotten to pick up our room key at the front desk (we always leave our keys there when going out), and asked one of the staff nearby if they could go get it for us. After 10 minutes of waiting in the middle of the property grounds, I gave up and trekked back to the lobby, only to find said staff member sitting at the desk. When he made eye contact with me, he didn't flinch - he clearly had completely forgotten about the key request.

While we were not expecting perfection considering the period of our stay, I find it hard to excuse such mishaps, especially when you consider that Aman charges more during peak season (including the compulsory supplementary charge.) Given the wide quality gulf between Amantaka and other properties (including La Residence Phou Vao, which, while though highly rated here on TripAdvisor, is a big step down, property wise), perhaps this is a sign of complacency? I definitely hope not.

In summary, Amantaka is a wonderful property that is slightly marred by mediocre food (which is the case at most Amans we've been to), slow and inattentive service, and some mishaps along the way (making us wait at the airport with no apologies as the most egregious one.) It definitely lacks the polish found at Amanpuri or the Bali Amans.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank KI-NRT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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73 - 79 of 174 reviews

Reviewed June 13, 2013 via mobile

There was nobody else staying as it is low season now, the place was totally soulless but as a result we were very well attended to (as there was nobody else around!)
Really great pool, very refreshing and great location but seriously lacking character.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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6  Thank InspectorCluso2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2013

Fifth Aman experience and I'd say the best so far!
Nothing about this place can be criticised from the moment you're met of the aircraft at Luang Prabang Airport, the the moment you leave. As with every Aman I've stayed at, they somehow manage to read your mind as to what will make your stay perfect and to the details they put into your excursions to make sure you get an authentic experience without crowds of other tourists around you! It almost seems like you have the place to yourself.
The food was excellent - at least the Lao food was as we stayed away from the Western varieties! The room was top specification and extremely comfortable.
There is nothing to criticise - can't wait for my next Aman experience!
Thanks....

Room Tip: All rooms are perfect - some are more luxurious than others - we were upgraded to a room with our ow...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TSRLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

One of the best hotels in south east asia! We enjoeyd every minute. Amazing service and estetically perfect in every way. Aman is universe made better.

Try riding bikes in Luang Prabang and go on a river cruise in the hotels own nice boat.

Room Tip: All rooms are very good.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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Thank restlesshedonist2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

It all starts at the front desk. A highly trained, professional staff - and a personable front desk manager - greet you when you arrive, all of whom speak fluent English. Whatever your particular needs - have problems with your camera? - staff will lean over backwards to try and take care of any problem you might experience. A beautiful, historic location, the rooms are specious and clean. Conveniently located, it's just a short walk to Luang Prabang's famous Night Market, a block away from the Mekong River. A unique resort. It's worth your time to visit their web site.

Room Tip: Ask to speak to the front desk manager and seek her recommendation.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Rob S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2013 via mobile

A very well run, top class establishment. Rooms are clean, the buildings are well maintained. The staff is very attentive to all your needs. From a wet cold napkin handed to you when you walk in from the outside, to coming in at 5.30 am to serve us breakfast before we left. To offering us a bottle of wine at dinner.
Food could be improved, not in taste or quality, but in value of ingredients. A little less profit on F&B would be in line with prices charged for room and board.
But overall a very nice experience. Very expensive, but worth every penny. Mr Z. thanks for bending the rule and installing wi-fi. When is the TV coming?

  • Stayed: February 2013
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2  Thank globalthierry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2013

It's quite hard to describe a property like Amantaka cause it's unique, exceptional and marvelllous so the best way would be to say that Amantaka is our home in Luang Prabang. We definitively feel like at home in this historical and wonderfully renovated building and this second stay we've just spent has confirmed than Taka is really one of the three best Amans.
Everything in this magnificent property is immaculate and truly impressive. If you stay one day at Amantaka, you'll understand what means "space". We stayed again in the massive and ultra comfortable Amantaka Suite which is a delight of estheticism and elegance. More than 600 sq. meters of pure indulgence where everything has been designed for you to feel like a king. At the rear of the suite is a secret garden with its huge private heated pool, a "plus" of you want to enjoy it during the cool mornings in Luang Prabang. This suite is so great we almost didn't want to leave it but it would be a shame cause Luang Prabang has so much to offer and with the new compulsory board charge including one excursion per day, you'll discover "in style" this small town I consider as the "gem" of Asia. Walking in this adorable town along the Mekong or near the Khan river which is even more charming and in the afternoon, coming back at Taka is the best treat you can offer to yourself.
In the afternoon, the library is the place to be to enjoy some delicious cakes with a cup of tea and later on, the spa will bring you right to the Nirvana. Following the best treatment you can expect, don't miss the spectacular "wet room" where you'll find different pools, a steam and a sauna in the great elegance of this superb property.
I was justly talking about discretion and elegance about the property. These two words are totally appropriate to describe the Amantaka family, a team of people working with heart and providing the ultimate service the most discerned traveller can expect. Lao people are quite shy but they always have a real smile on the face and at Taka, they will really do their best for you to have an unforgettable stay. On his side, Gary, the very efficient GM will ensure you'll keep a lifetime memory of your stay at Amantaka and we've been so happy to see how this young Aman is better and better and now absolutely ready to rivalize with the firstly created properties where the standard of service is at its top.
Amantaka is a discreet and serene Aman in the heart of the magical Luang Prabang. We even love to hear the laughs of kids leaving school at the back of our private garden and the sound of the life around is a part of the charm of this Aman we sincerely love more and more.
We truly enjoyed every second spent at Amantaka starting with the generous smile of the waiter delivering the breakfast in our suite to the fantastic professionalism of the therapist at the spa; from the very attentive staff in the entrance always bringing you a cold towel when you come back from an excursion to the management team so implicated in the guest satisfaction and again, what a beautiful property.
We already plan to go back in september this year cause rarely a place charmed us so much...

Room Tip: Prefer the Amantaka Suite if you like space and luxury but Khan Suite is a great alternative with mo...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank RCBLHKG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Amantaka

Address: 55/3 Kingkitsarath Road | Ban Thongchaleun, Luang Prabang 1090, Laos
Location: Laos > Luang Prabang Province > Luang Prabang
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #32 of 68 Hotels in Luang Prabang
Price Range: $940 - $1,789 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set on a large garden estate, Amantaka is housed in graceful French colonial buildings in the UNESCO protected town of Luang Prabang. Airy and elegant throughout, the décor and furnishings reflect the town's French colonial history. Situated just south of Phousi Hill, the resort is within strolling distance of the boutiques, bakeries and restaurants lining the town's main street. The fabled night market, the picturesque banks of the Mekong River and the former Royal Palace are also nearby. ... more   less 
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