In a 1957 cream 190 SL Mercedes, I arrive at a gate surrounded by high walls. On the other side is a magnificent courtyard, filled with a rose garden, a swimming pool and a reflecting pool, and ensconced on four sides by stately buildings.
It is hard to believe that until 2006 this was a prison. I’m escorted to my suite — a large bedroom with a four poster bed with a decorative mosquito net, silk-lined walls, a three room bath and dressing area, with a rain shower and an inviting bathtub. Oh, and my own private pool.
This is Hôtel de la Paix, a hotel both luxury and boutique, and, as the name suggests, extremely peaceful. The service standard and all the little extras make it difficult to want to leave to explore Luang Prabang.
There are 15 garden suites, 2 heritage suites, 4 pool suites and 2 governor suites, each different and all spectacularly understated.
Hôtel de la Paix is now called Sofitel Luang Prabang.
From US$420+ per night inclusive of breakfast
– Immense towels and a choice of bathrobes – brushed cotton or terry cloth.
– On site: two restaurants, an outstanding spa, cooking school, and Baan Silipa, featuring art and dance performances.
– Day beds in each garden to stretch out with a book.
– It was unseasonably cool, and I was too chilly to enjoy the main swimming pool or my private one (but I still preferred my pool suite to one with a fireplace!)
Review by Johanna Read