Amantaka Luang Prabang, Laos Review

Review: Amantaka Luang Prabang Laos

 

Amantaka in Luang Prabang, Laos is a favorite of many TravelSort clients, who often visit it as part of a Southeast Asia trip that includes Amansara in Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, and other temples. I'd last visited Luang Prabang back in 2005, 10 years ago, so I was looking forward to a return visit and showing my son this UNESCO World Heritage site.

This review is part of a trip report including luxury resorts in the Maldives, such as Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru and Soneva Fushi, as well as Etihad First Class and Emirates First Class. 

For the prior posts, please see:

Review of Etihad's Lounge at Washington Dulles Airport (IAD)

Etihad First Class 787-9 Dreamliner Review

Rosewood Abu Dhabi Review

Review: Wingtips Lounge JFK for Etihad First Class Passengers

Review: Etihad First Class 777-300ER NYC to Abu Dhabi

Review: Etihad Business Class Lounge Abu Dhabi AUH Terminal 1 

Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru Review

Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru Restaurant Reviews and Menus

Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru Activities: Top 10 Things to Do

Interview with Armando Kraenzlin, General Manager of Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

Review: Four Seasons Maldives at Kuda Huraa

Surfing in the Maldives at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

Review: Four Seasons Maldives at Kuda Huraa Sunset Water Bungalow

Four Seasons Maldives at Kuda Huraa Restaurant Reviews and Menus

Four Seasons Maldives at Kuda Huraa Activities and Top Things to Do

Soneva Fushi Maldives Review

Soneva Fushi Maldives Activities and Things to Do

Soneva Fushi Breakfast, Ice Cream Room, Chocolate Room and Cheese Room

Fresh in the Garden, Soneva Fushi Restaurant Review

Trans Maldivian Airways Seaplane Review

Conrad Maldives Rangali Review: Beach Villa

Conrad Maldives Restaurant Menus and Review

Review: Conrad Maldives Superior Water Villa

Conrad Maldives Activities and Top Things to Do

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Review

Emirates A380 First Class Review

 

TravelSort Clients receive these Virtuoso benefits when reserving Amantaka:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Continental breakfast daily, for up to two in room guests
  • A complimentary lunch or dinner for up to two people per room, once during stay, excluding alcohol, taxes and gratuities
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

Getting to Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is small, which is part of its charm, but it also means that there aren't as many nonstop connections to it as, say, to Siem Reap or larger cities in the region. The key nonstop routes that most visitors are likely to fly are:

  • Bangkok Airways: Bangkok
  • Lao Airlines: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Seoul, Siem Reap, Singapore, Vientiane
  • Thai Smile: Bangkok
  • Vietnam Airlines: Hanoi, Siem Reap

From the new airport, Amantaka is about a 10 minute drive.

Amantaka Review-Luang Prabang Laos

 

Amantaka Arrival and Check-In

One of the nice things about Amantaka is that you're met right on arrival, even before immigration, and expedited through Visa on Arrival and immigration. We'd provided our details earlier, so we just had to provide the fees in USD to our Amantaka driver, who provided it and the forms to the immigration official and after photos were taken for the visa, we were on our way in an air conditioned car with cool towels and ice water.

Amantaka itself is a former French colonial hospital, and opened 6 years ago, in 2009. Its single story architecture and serene grounds are very much in keeping with Aman Resorts' style of understated luxury and peaceful ambience.

General Manager Gary Tyson met us, and after one of his Amantaka associates brought us refreshing welcome drinks, he was kind enough to help orient us, with a map showing Amantaka's location relative to the major temples.

Welcome Drink, Amantaka in Luang Prabang, Laos

Amantaka Map of Luang Prabang, Laos

 

Amantaka Suite

Amantaka has just 24 suites: 8 Suites, 4 Pool Suites, 8 Khan Pool Suites, 2 Mekong Pool Suites and 2 Amantaka Pool Suites. For extended families, there is also the Aman Villa, with 4 bedrooms, a lovely garden, private swimming pool and dedicated staff.

Even though we were in the entry-level Suite, it offered more space than we needed, with elegant simplicity from the high ceilings to four poster bed and subtle scent of fresh plumerias. And the cool temperature was always a welcome respite from the heat and humidity.

Amantaka Suite Review-Sitting Area


The four poster bed is swathed with mosquito netting, pulled back during the day. We did see a couple mosquitoes inside during our stay, which were rather languid and easy to kill, but never in the bed area, and neither of us got bitten. I do recommend wearing mosquito repellant when going out in the early morning or evening, however, just to be on the safe side.

Amantaka Review-Luang Prabang Laos-Suite

Amantaka Suite Review-Luang Prabang


On the bed was a welcome note and a gift of Pha Bieng, which are traditional Lao scarfs worn during Buddhist ceremonies, including the Tak Bat morning alms giving.

Welcome Note and Gift, Amantaka, Luang Prabang

Traditional Lao Scarf Welcome Gift, Amantaka


The bathroom offers his and hers vanities that are across from each other.

Amantaka Suite Review-Bathroom with Dual Vanities


A tiled hallway leads toward the soaking tub, which, as with the shower, featured handmade bath products and bath salt with a wonderful frangipani scent. It made for a delightful bubble bath for my son, after a swim in the main pool.

Amantaka Review-Homemade Frangipani Bath Products

Amantaka Suite Review-Soaking Tub

 

On one side of the bathroom hallway was a separate toilet chamber. There's such attention to detail that even the sanitary bags are of handmade paper. On the other side of the hallway is a walk-in rain shower. Note that the shower floor was rather slippery when wet.

Amantaka Suite Shower

 

There were his and hers wardrobes, each with a bathrobe and a hand woven bag for our use, which came in handy during our walk around town.

Amantaka Suite Closet with Bathrobe and Basket


Amantaka Swimming Pool and Library

We were very happy that Amantaka has a large main pool, and made good use of it to cool off. We were always the only ones there, no doubt due to the timing of our visit and the fact that many of the suites are pool suites with their own private pool.

Amantaka Review-Luang Prabang Laos-Swimming Pool


The library was another place we spent time, both to borrow a few books during our stay, and since afternoon tea is offered there, with pitchers of iced tea, cookies and cakes.

Amantaka Library

Amantaka Review-Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea Cakes, Amantaka


Amantaka Restaurant and Dining

Amantaka's Dining Room is where we enjoyed breakfast both days, and dinner one evening. I'll cover our dining experiences and menus in a separate post.

 

Amantaka Activities and Luang Prabang Temples

Luang Prabang is a former royal capital of Laos, and home to over 30 Buddhist temples and hundreds of monks. I'll describe the Tak Bat ritual and other Luang Prabang activities in a future post.

Riding an Amantaka Tuk Tuk to the Luang Prabang Temples

 

The Verdict

Amantaka gets great reviews from my clients, and I can see why. Even the entry-level suites are beautiful, with the perfect blend of modern conveniences and colonial elegance. The location is perfect, a short walk to the night market and to temples, plus you have the option to borrow a bicycle or ride a tuk tuk to the farther temples. The swimming pool and peaceful gardens are a huge plus in the hot climate, and rare for hotels located right in central Luang Prabang. And the afternoon tea in the library is a very welcome touch–right at the time of day when, as the British say, you start to feel “peckish.” As at other Amans, Amantaka staff were genuinely hospitable, and as a small town, we even saw our driver later at the night market, with his family, and got to meet his kids, one of whom was close to my son's age.

The biggest criticisms I can come up with is that we weren't given an edible farewell gift (then again, we probably ate our fair share at afternoon tea) and we weren't given an Amantaka luggage tag as we have been at other Aman Resorts. Then again, we were traveling only with hand luggage, since we never check anything, so that may be the reason 🙂

If you've stayed at Amantaka, what was your experience?

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Disclosure: I paid a travel professional rate at Amantaka, however the views expressed in this post are my own.

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