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“Wonderful Hotel, Fantastic Stay”

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The Apsara Rive Droite
Ranked #26 of 68 Hotels in Luang Prabang
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 10, 2013

We enjoyed a fantastic time in Luang Prabang, staying at The Apsara Rive Droite. The staff were wonderful, friendly and helpful without being intrusive. Breakfast is a delight, delicious food served promptly with a smile. The pool's great, especially after a day of walking in the heat, and an ample size and cool enough for doing laps. We loved the balcony. fantastic views back to Luang Prabang and the mountains on the other side of the Mekong. And magical with the night-time lights. It's like you are a part of the town, yet removed. And getting to and from town was a memorable experience each and every time, whether over the old bridge with all the other two-wheelers on the hotel bicycles, or walking over the bamboo bridge or, especially, in the hotel's Apsarian Queen which is at one's beck & call. The steps to and from the Queen may not be to everyone's liking, but we must have been to and fro three time's a day and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, and feel all the better for it. We'd love to go back.

Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
Thank tourguide54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 5, 2013 via mobile

Our first impression of the hotel was excellent:large and luxurious rooms, lovely swimming pool, welcoming staff. Unfortunately, this first feeling didn't last very long. For a hotel that charges 200USD a night, we were disappointed with the following:

- Noise all day long. The hotel is located on the opposite side of the river next to a construction site or saw mill. The noice starts at 7am and finishes around five ( with some interruptions). The noice is loud and very disturbing in particular as the breakfast area is located just next door. The staff told us the noice starts at 9 am, so we went for an early breakfast at 7am but the noice had already started. In the afternoon, we were disturbed by very loud music coming from the other side of the river. The music came from 2 loudspeakers directed towards the hotel from the other side of the river, not for a party or a wedding but just to please 2 workers at a construction site. We mentioned it several times to the hotel. We were told by the managwr that was not on site that is was part of lao culture to play loud music and that legally speaking there is nothing the hotel could do about it. Does that prevent the hotel to at least try and ask the neigboours to turn the music down? At the end, we had to ask the neigbours ourselves.

Not customer oriented. The second day, we noticed that the aircon in our room was defective. The problem had already been mentioned by the previous guests. When we came back from dinner, the staff told us that the problem had been fixed. We soon realized that nothing had been done and we didn't sleep well at all. We mentioned it the next day to the manager, who reacted very defensively by telling us that we should have asked to be moved to another room. First,we did ask so and second, it seems to us that it is up to the hotel not the guests to come with a solution!

Management not on site. The Austrian manager of the hotel is not on-site (even though she comes a couple of half hours each day). That is clearly the main reason why the problems listed above were not handled in a professional and customer-oriented way. The local staff does a good job but like in most places, you need a hands-on management for excellent service.

We live in Asia and have been several times to luang prabang, with always excellent service. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with Apsara rive droite, but as it is currently run, there are other places in the neigborhood that offer much better value for money!

  • Stayed: April 2013
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1  Thank Maxvh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ApsaraRiveDroite, Manager at The Apsara Rive Droite, responded to this reviewResponded April 6, 2013

Dear guest,
first of all I want to thank you for you feedback and let you know that I followed up on all the points you mentioned.
We are constantly trying to improve our service and solve issues that are within our scope of action but there are unfortunately some outside factors which we can't influence.
Regarding your comments on the noise coming from the other side of the river the loudspeakers were not directed "to the hotel", it was local people playing music for enjoyment in the afternoon as this happens pretty much everywhere in town - in front of houses in the middle of town, on the main streets, everywhere where people live. We did approach the locals right after you mentioned to us that the noise bothered you and asked them if they could turn down the music but as expected they didn't do this as this is indeed one way for Lao people enjoying their free time when they are not working (and this usually happens via loudspeakers and at a noise level that is louder than Western people are used to).
Regarding your complaint about the air condition our maintenance staff went to get new parts but the repair took long and couldn't be finished that afternoon. Our new evening reception staff did forget to inform the night reception staff to tell you that the aircon hadn't been fixed yet and I sincerely apologize for that communication mistake. Nevertheless I would like to say that when you switched on the aircon upon entering the room and thought that the noise would be too loud for you at night we would have gladly offered you another room for the night but none of our staff did get your request to change rooms that night.
When you called the hotel on the 30th of April to change your online booking to the next day instead of your original arrival which would have been a few days later and also split up your stay into 2 single days with a few days in between we made all those changes without the usual cancellations and booking procedures and also offered you early arrivals for both of your stays, so I am a bit surprised that you say that we have no customer orientation.
As you can see from the many other reviews our guests are usually very satisfied with our level of service and our staff which is very committed to make our guests happy and enjoy their stay.

I am very sorry that you are dissatisfied with our and my service and you can be assured that even in the hours that I am not onsite I am in contact with my staff all the time and that we are working and did work on any issues all the time.

Many regards and all the best,

Brita Graser
Hotel Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2013

This place is magical. The little boat trips over and back to the town were a highlight for me. The staff were very attentive and friendly. The food - breakfast and lunch - is gorgeous. The pastries especially were the nicest we had on our trip in SE Asia. The room was gorgeous. Loved sitting on balcony looking out over the town at dusk and enjoying the smell from the flowers in the garden. Borrow the hotel bikes and cycle the paper and silk village and pick yourself up some pretty notebooks for a song.

Room Tip: Get a room on first floor. Enjoy the view of LP.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Sineadh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2013

Luxury living with a delicious breakfast to start the day. The staff could not have been more helpful.
Away from the centre but within easy reach. The hotel provides a free river crossing with staff responding instantly to a request to be taken across or collected. Free bicycles were also made available together with a map highlighting places of interest. It was also fun to cross on the bamboo bridge a little further down river. The rooms were very comfortable with the softest pillows I have ever experienced! The pool was a welcome retreat after a hot day in the town.
Thoroughly recommended.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Peninoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2013

I have just returned to Bangkok after spending 5 days at the Rive Droit hotel in Luang Prabang which was really superb in every respect, and exceeded expectations, which were already very high.

I felt they had got everything just right. The location and atmosphere of the place couldn't be better, the staff were charming and really helpful and the breakfasts and couple of lunches we had were very good.

I shall be returning to Luang Prabang and it would be unthinksble to stay anywhere else.

Room Tip: We had the rooms on the upper floor which had nice views of the river.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Daniel A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2013

We loved the unique boutique quality of this hotel but it would not be feasible for anyone with any type of physical disability to stay here due to the rather perilous descent & ascent to the river jetty and boat and the uneven height of various stairs in the hotel itself. That said, we found this to be part of the charm (my sister is 70 and I am in my late 60s). Brita (manager) was very friendly and helpful as was Ivan (the owner). One or the other was on-site every morning and could be found at the in-town branch if necessary. Our room was clean and comfortable and we had the luxury of being a few minutes away from the old town and having a swimming pool. Breakfast was sublime, the croissants, petit pain, and baguettes on a par with the best Parisian patisseries and the setting in the garden absolutely lovely. We also ate dinner at the Apsara twice: Once at the hotel in town and once at the RD. Both meals were outstanding and reasonable--in fact, the best food we had on our entire trip (and our hotels were mostly 5-star). We had the carrot/lemongrass/coconut soup and goat tagine on the first night and several Laotian dishes on the second night. Both nights we had the fresh mango with coconut tapioca for desert, a dish so divine that my daughter had to order one to take with her when we checked out. The RD is located within easy walking distance of the bamboo foot bridge and Dyen Sabai Restuarant (a unique restaurant with table set in open huts that cascade down the riverbank in a jungle like setting). Both the bridge and the restaurant are fun and unique experiences, but once again, beware of the stairs -- not easy to negotiate especially for us oldies. (Hint: Dyen Sabai is usually crowded -- go during off hours. We went for lunch at about 3:00). We also were able to walk to the weaving & paper-making village on the RD side of the Nam Kham, although by the time we walked there and finished shopping we were too tired to walk back and took a tuk-tuk.

Room Tip: The hotel has only 9 rooms. Make sure you get an upstairs room with a river viewl
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Elaine K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2013

We stayed at both Apsaras in mid-February, first five nights on the LP side and then at the Rive Droite on the other side of the Nam Khan. Our son and (new) daughter-in-law met in Laos in 2009 and fell in love with each other and with Laos. They decided to marry in LP and booked the Apsara RD for the ceremony. Excellent choice. We stayed on the LP side Apsara when arranging things before the wedding and moved to the Rive Droite for the ceremony and the last several days of our stay.

In both hotels, the rooms are spacious and beautifully designed with the world's most comfortable beds. Wonderful soaker tubs, too. The rooms in the annex on the LP side are smaller, but the bathrooms are enormous, and the the street-side veranda is a great place to watch the world pass by. On the RD side, the pool is a welcome retreat in a lovely garden, the perfect place to savour the easy charm of Laos. Both hotels have an air of comfort, managing the elusive feat of being both luxurious and laid back.

The food is delicious; the carrot/lemongrass/coconut soup is divine, as is the salad dressing. I forgot to beg recipes, so I'll have to experiment to see if I can duplicate these at home. (An Apsara cookbook might outsell the Buddhas!)

The hotel provided supplies (including a tablecloth!) for a pre-wedding picnic at Kuang Si Waterfalls: sandwich makings with the most fantastic cheeses and cold cuts plus salad and fruit. They took care of other details, too: towels for drying off after swimming and booking an air-conditioned van to transport food (and people). Absolutely perfect. The food for the wedding buffet was also outstanding, with Francis happily adjusting the menu up to the day before the wedding as we discovered more wonderful items from the Apsara kitchen.

What really sets both Apsaras apart is the management team: Ivan, Brita and Francis were outstanding. We were organizing a number of events for the wedding, and they were exceptionally helpful in arranging food and transportation, helping us locate shops and services in Luang Prabang and arranging the hotel tuk-tuk for transportation when possible. On the morning we left, Francis and Ivan crossed to the Rive Droite side to wish us farewell, a very thoughtful touch.

One word of warning: if you have mobility issues, there are 70 steps down to the river jetty and 75 steps up on the other side. This is not a problem for a mobile individual of any age, but if you cannot "do" stairs, it's a long way around via tuk-tuk. Stay in the Apsara on the LP side.

For an intimate celebration, the Apsara Rive Droite is perfect.

PS: While you are in LP, make the trip to the weaving village on the RD side of the Nam Khan and Mekong. Turn left from the Apsara RD or cross the lower bamboo bridge if you are coming from LP. It's fascinating to watch the ladies weaving, and it's a special souvenir to buy a silk scarf right off the loom and carry it away in a saa paper bag made on the premises.

Room Tip: The upstairs rooms at the RD have larger balconies.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank 56TravellingGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Apsara Rive Droite

Address: Ban Phan Louang, Luang Prabang, Laos
Location: Laos > Luang Prabang Province > Luang Prabang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#13 Luxury Hotel in Luang Prabang
Price Range: $90 - $188 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Apsara Rive Droite 4*
Number of rooms: 9
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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Also Known As:
The Apsara Rive Droite Hotel Luang Prabang

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