By Kusuma Jonglektrakul
STANDING AT the reception desk while booking into the luxury boutique resort Burasari Heritage for a short holiday in Luang Prabang, I immediately feel like I’ve been transported back in time to the glorious days of this former royal capital.
Overlooking the Nam Khan River on a peninsula that divides it from the Mekong, this captivating property opened in 2013 and boasts a striking blend of classic Lao-style architecture and French colonial influences that pay tribute to the country’s cultural and spiritual traditions.
Surrounded by beautiful monasteries, the resort is a stone’s throw away from the iconic morning market. Last year, it won the Best Riverside Hotel in Laos from the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2017 and was TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Award Winner 2017 of the top 25 Hotels for Romance in Laos.
“Burasari Group’s founder Lily Udomkunnatum realises that we’re part of the culture and nature of Luang Prabang, so our property and operations must uphold our commitment to the town, its environs and to our guests,” says general manager Darisa Tansiri.
“Our design is committed to preserving trees and the natural landscape, We treat our wastewater before releasing it back into the drainage system. This is not mandatory in Luang Prabang, but we do it to help the municipal authorities and to limit any wastewater entering the river.”
Inspired by the expeditions of naturalist Henri Mouhot, the first Frenchman to explore Luang Prabang, the resort is designed to resemble a Lao teakwood residence and features 19 rooms, ranging in size from 20 and 30 square metres and in four categories: Deluxe Balcony, Deluxe Garden, Deluxe and Superior Room.
The interior designs illustrate the adventures of the first explorers who came to the town. All rooms are graced with a distinctive collection of old-fashioned wooden furniture and home d้cor accessories that create an elegant and homey ambience.
I spend two nights in a 25-square Deluxe Room with a private terrace overlooking the Nam Khan River. Comfortable and convenient, the room has a comfy super king bed covered with a refined linen quilt, satellite television, ceiling fan, coffee and tea making facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi and a mini bar that is once refilled daily.
The wardrobe is compact and packed with bathrobes and hair dryer, while a stand-alone shower with a white marble-like washbasin in 1820s’ French Art Deco style are tucked to one side, offering a relaxing way to end the day.
“We offer guests direct access to a villa host and one-of-a-kind complimentary experiences with each night of their stay. They can join a daily ritual of almsgiving and market cooking class or enjoy a Mekong sunset cruise,” says Darisa.
“Upon arrival, a dedicated villa host service will help guests arrange daily activities, meals and any special requests. Our staff members come from small communities around Luang Prabang, so they can give guests good advice while retaining their unique personalities. In this way, the humility, generosity and spirit of our staff and Lao culture stand out.”
The riverside Terrace Restaurant serves daily breakfast, a la carte dishes and beverages in traditional Thai and Lao styles, all of them made with organic ingredients and boasting market-fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, local honey and locally grown organic coffee beans.
Guests can lounge at the riverside deck and enjoy aperitifs and cocktails, ranging from exceptional wine and vintage whiskey.
Families can spend their free time playing billiards or reading books and magazines at a library. To explore the town, complimentary bicycle rentals are on offer.
Ideal to relieve tight muscles after a sightseeing tour, the Spa Burasari, which won the Southeast Asia’s Best Wellness Spa 2017 at the Boutique Hotel Awards, offers a wide range of exquisite healing and wellness treatments with natural oils and herbs.
“Professionally trained therapists receive countless hours of training and yearly updates in new techniques and spa trends,” Darisa says.
“Bespoke spa treatments include the signature Moon Stone Therapy Body Massage, Burasari Signature Massage, Traditional Thai Massage and Traditional Lao Massage.”
AT A GLANCE
High point: The bed is comfortable and the linens super soft.
Low point: A room has few lights, making it seem rather dim.
Pay for it: See the website for the best rates
Find it: 44-47, Khiri Village, Kingitsarath Road, Luang Prabang, Laos
Call it: (+856 71) 255 031
Browse it: www.BurasariHeritage.com