We looked at every single review of every single Luang Prabang hotel before choosing the BelleRive. This was going to be a splurge romantic trip, and so we wanted the perfect place. In the end the choice came down to the BelleRive, the Mekong Riverview, and the 3-Nagas. Ultimately we chose the BelleRive because (a) unlike 3-Nagas, it wasn't a chain hotel (the BelleRive is a boutique hotel owned by one person who turns out to have wonderful taste, and to really care about the hotel, and about Lao culture); (b) the location seemed ideal - much quieter and a better view than 3-Nagas or Mekong Riverview, and much more central to everything going on.
We were so glad we made this decision - after arriving in Luang Prabang, we had dinner at 3-Nagas, and toured Mekong Riverview just for fun and realized that we had chosen the best place of all!
We stayed in one of the balcony rooms in Tamarind - we were lucky enough to stay in the one on the end, which has windows on two sides. This gave us a dreamy view of the river and yet because BelleRive is located in the section of the river road that is one-way, it's still quiet. It is true that the Balcony Rooms are on two levels but we didn't find it difficult to run downstairs to use the toilet. And we loved having the refrigerator, little table, balcony, and bathroom downstairs and a cosy bedroom suite upstairs.
Furnishings were simple but elegant, the bed was comfortable and, as it was chillier than usual in Laos, the management gave us a great heater and some lovely comforters for the bed. They were also generous about letting us carry up breakfast, coffee, fruit, wine, and other goodies so that we could sit on the balcony with a snack and watch folks go by.
In fact, while the place itself is beautiful, and the breakfast is copious and good, the real charm of the BelleRive is the warmth of the staff, who truly went out of their way to make us welcome, and to make sure every detail of our trip was perfect. This included getting a backpack re-sewn (for free), running to pick up medicine for us when one of us fell sick (and not charging us for it), giving suggestions about their own favorite restaurants (which quickly became ours) and pointing out places on the map for us to find all sorts of obscure purchases and experiences. We stayed for longer than a week - we felt like we were home by the end of our 3rd day. In this context, a special shout out to Ms. Tou - wonderful front desk manager and lovely human being. In fact, our experience was so good that we came back for a couple more days when we passed back through LP.
I do want to comment on some of the things others have pointed out - it's not a perfect chain hotel kind of place - one night the water heater was broken, and another night there was a noisy group outside. In each case the management set it right. It's impossible in a country such as Laos for everything to go perfectly (unless you're staying inside some kind of sanitized compound, which is not what we were looking for) - so what counts is the good will of the management to make sure that all goes as well as it can, and to make amends for things that don't go perfectly. After all, we went to LP to experience Laotian culture - in the BelleRive we felt we were doing that AND living in the lap of luxury!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel awarded Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years and recently inducted into HALL OF FAME on the World’s Largest Travel Site. This designer boutique hotel - situated at the shore of the Mekong River and in the historical centre of the peninsula - offers luxury accommodation and tranquility for independent travelers with high standards. The hotel features 13 rooms, 4 of them in the protected former residence of the mayor, and a charming Terrace restaurant on the Maekong Riverbank. Free Bicycles, Minibar, WiFi and a delicious breakfast variety make your stay a delightful experience. Book your room now - The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel is looking forward to having the pleasure of welcoming you in this unique world heritage town. ... more less
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