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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The bathroom offers his and hers vanities that are across from each other.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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?
Disclosure: I paid a travel professional rate at Amantaka, however the views expressed in this post are my own.
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