Nestled in the hills of northern Laos, the legendary town of Luang Prabang was the country’s royal and spiritual capital for centuries and is still known for its gilded Buddhist monasteries, slow pace of life along the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers, unique colonial architecture and plenty of local charm.
The lauded UNESCO World Heritage Site is also home to a number of Secret Retreats properties and Secret Tables restaurants that respect the local history and culture while still spoiling guests and diners with modern luxuries.
Recently Members from the Secret Retreats collection across Asia gathered in Luang Prabang for a weekend of reconnection, workshops and exploring all that the charming town has to offer. Each Secret Retreats Member – independently owned boutique hotels, resorts, villas, riverboats, yachts and restaurants – has a deep love for travel, hospitality and local discoveries so, naturally, the annual gathering included unwinding in boutique accommodation, daily outings, such as a visit to Laos’ first botanical gardens by boat and an architectural walking tour led by a former UNESCO member, and lively shared meals. Take a peek!
If you’re a property owner interested in joining Secret Retreats’ curated collection, learn more here.
If you’re a traveller headed to Laos, read on for how to experience Luang Prabang in true Secret Retreats style – come stay and eat with us!
Where to Stay in Luang Prabang
From a heritage property that was once home to the first President of Lao People’s Democratic Republic to the newest addition to Luang Prabang’s restaurant scene, discovering Luang Prabang through Secret Retreats and Secret Tables unveils the essence of the fascinating region.
One step into Satri House and you’ll feel as if you’ve fallen into another world. The intimate French colonial-style property boasts an impressive heritage pedigree, built in 1904 by Prince Souphanouvong’s parents, the first President of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, along with 28 airy guestrooms and three suites featuring handcrafted wood furniture and oversized balconies. Surrounded by Luang Prabang’s lush greenery and Satri House’s tasteful elegance, the property serves as an atmospheric sanctuary from which to base your Luang Prabang explorations.
Just on the other side of the Nam Khan River from Luang Prabang’s old city centre, The Apsara Rive Droite offers just nine stylish and spacious rooms each with their own large veranda or balcony facing the river in a quiet, yet still convenient, location. After a refreshing dip in the garden-encircled pool, make sure to hop across the river for dinner at The Apsara Restaurant, which offers memorable dishes known for modern Asian flavours and a fresh twist on traditional Lao cookery.
Where to eat in Luang Prabang
Just opened on the edge of the Mekong River, Le Calao has reinvented itself from a former inn to a new restaurant that evokes a sense of historic colonial elegance while serving traditional Laotian and European favourites. Savour local dishes bursting with fresh herbs and captivating flavours or linger over an after-meal espresso from the open-air balcony.
Enveloped by the magical beauty of three lotus ponds that are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Manda de Laos specialises in Laotian family cuisine with flavourful dishes meant to be shared. While the meals are certainly delicious, with signature dishes like “Khoua Sin Kwai” (wok-fried buffalo flambéed with local Lao Lao alcohol), the enchanting tropical ambience is even more mesmerising as you dine by candlelight under the stars.
Where to travel from Luang Prabang
The journey doesn’t need to end in Luang Prabang. Travel deeper into northern Laos with a stay at the remote Muang La Lodge located in an Akha village, or make your way to Thailand aboard Luang Say’s custom-built luxury river boats during a leisurely 2-day cruise with a stay overnight at Luang Say Lodge.