The Luang Say Residence, Luang Prabang

By Claire vd Heever Apr 8, 2012

The Luang Say Residence's swimming pool

Set within a subtropical garden of palms, ruby red flowers and trees that burst with ripe bananas, Luang Say Residence and its elegant architecture bring to mind the bygone days of Laos’ colonial past. From behind large, succulent leaves, stone statues of a man in a broad-brimmed hat peep out: Henri Mouhot, the French explorer who spent three years travelling through mainland Southeast Asia in the mid 19th century. He has become something of a legend in Luang Prabang, where his journey through Laos on elephant back came to an end in November 1861, after he died of malaria on the banks of the Nam Khan River. Today, statues of him can be spotted around the town, and in Luang Say Residence’s gardens he is frozen in time – fishing, resting on a rock and writing in his journal – amongst the tamed jungle of a garden.

A statue of Henri Mouhot writing barefoot

Although Henri Mouhot is the most well known, Luang Say Residence also pays homage to four other European explorers, each of whom has a pavilion named after him. Maps tracing the routes of these 19th century explorers hang in each of the pavilions’ entrance halls, alongside black and white photographs of the men: Auguste Pavie, Louis Delaporte, Doudard De Lagree, Francis Garnier Delaporte and Henri Mouhot himself. These five pavilions and the stately Residence  Pavilion at the head of the grounds house 24 luxuriously appointed rooms: 20 spacious Pioneer Suites and 4 even larger Explorateur Suites. Luang Prabang may beckon, and the town’s charms certainly ought to be thoroughly explored, but you could easily lose a day in these suites, on the divan with a good book or at the desk, perhaps, doing some writing of your own. A wide selection of teas, a French press for brewing your own coffee, a full mini bar service with glassware, and the option of in-suite dining make whiling away the day in your suite all the more tempting.

When it’s hot, the hotel’s sparkling infinity pool is an oasis, encircled by a wooden deck of pool loungers, umbrellas and rattan-shaded alcoves. Lying here looking at the water, listening to the water lapping over the edge of the infinity pool – seemingly into the horizon – Luang Say Residence’s choice of location out of the bustling town centre makes perfect sense. As the sun sinks, it’s a tough choice: an aperitif on the terrace, a drink in the seclusion of your own balcony or in the atmospheric 1861 bar and fumoir, equipped with a library of books on Laos and its history, including Henri Mouhot’s own journals. Dine on a seasonal variety of refined Southeast Asian dishes in the stylish La Belle Epoque restaurant, or take a hotel shuttle into the heart of Luang Prabang for a meal beside the Mekong. The shuttle delivers visitors to the top of the nightly market: a spray of brilliant-coloured handmade Lao textiles and curios, spread out in long rows that lead to the town centre, which can also be easily reached on one of the hotel’s complimentary bicycles.

Luang Say Residence’s Pioneer Suite
In Luang Say Residence’s Pioneer Suites, you won’t want for anything. Services and facilities include:

Suite Layout and Furnishings

  • 43 square meters of colonial ambiance
  • Each Pavilion host two suites on the ground and two on the first floor
  • Elegant colonial furniture arranged on Laotian wood flooring

In-Suite Features

  • Individually controlled air-conditioning
  • Flat screen television with remote control
  • International cable television channels
  • Mini bar/refrigerator
  • Hair-dryer
  • Overhead fan
  • Complimentary Wifi Internet access
  • International direct dial telephone line
  • Electronic safe deposit box
  • Overhead mosquito net on the bed


  • Slippers, bathrobe, tote bag
  • In-suite directory of services
  • Natural toiletries
  • Drinking water
  • Baby cots available upon requests

Complimentary Residence Services

  • Daily newspaper available in the Lobby
  • Daily turndown service
  • Tropical fruits on arrival
  • Shuttle to Post Office
  • Bicycle service
  • Concierge
  • Swimming Pool

Rates include The Residence Breakfast: a selection of oven-warm pastries, delectable mangoes and other seasonal fruit, homemade yoghurt, freshly-squeezed juice and tea or coffee. If you can find space for it, you may also choose one of three egg dishes: eggs Benedict with a delicate hollandaise-truffle sauce, a creamy mushroom egg en cocotte, or classic bacon and eggs with tomato and sausage. For more information about this elegant luxury boutique hotel and current room rates, please visit the Luang Say Residence website.

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