I gasped for a moment. I had not seen so much beauty in one frame in one single moment. The mountains surrounded me. Lush paddy fields soaked in the water reflected the errant sun which played hide and seek with the clouds. The shimmering pools reflected the charming scenery. Meandering streams whispered to each other. The skies slowly opened up drenching the pretty landscape, adding more shades of green. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and imbibed the loveliness. A picture postcard had just come alive and I was at a loss of words. I was at Pullman Luang Prabang in Laos and this idyllic resort was my first introduction to the city of Luang Prabang, the cradle of Lao culture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.If you are searching for hotels in Luang Prabang, then look no further.
Nestled in 16 hectares of picturesque countryside, Pullman Luang Prabang is a destination by itself and it is the largest resort in the city and one of the best luxury hotels in Luang Prabang My husband, Sharath and I landed in Luang Prabang from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam after a short and comfortable flight. We had stayed in a Pullman property earlier in Ho Chi Minh City – the Pullman Saigon Centre. While I had an amazing experience in Vietnam, I had no idea that I was in for a heavenly treat here.
The Pullman team came to pick us up at the airport with some delicious macarons and we drove along taking in the sights and sounds of the rustic countryside. The airport is about 9 km away and it took us just 20 minutes as the roads were empty. The city centre is barely 5 km away and it is a 15-minute drive . The hotel organises free shuttles to the city and to the airport as well, which of course needs to be booked in advance.
The moment I set eyes on the resort, I fell in love with it. Most resorts are lavish and grand and they stand out garishly in a rustic environment, but Pullman Luang Prabang blended in perfectly with the idyllic surrounding. It seemed like a bucolic village lost in the lap of nature and was aesthetically designed, without spoiling the delicate beauty of nature.
The luxurious five-star resort with state of the art infrastructure is perfect for every kind of traveller – be it leisure or business. One of the most elegant hotels in Luang Prabang, it is ideal for every occasion. Be it the splendid rooms, the deluxe amenities, the comfortable lounges, the efficient meeting rooms and conference halls – Pullman Luang Prabang is the place to be – be it a holiday, an event, a meeting or a wedding.
At the heart of the resort were acres of paddy fields while mountains circled them. As I took a buggy from the reception to my room, we chugged around landscaped pathways. The villas were built in the traditional terraced architecture style of Laos and they greeted the mountains and the lush greenery .
Pullman Luang Prabang has 123 spacious rooms, divided into deluxe and premium categories. There are also suites and a two-bedroom pool villa as well. Comfort, convenience and connectivity are the buzz words when it comes to the amenities in the rooms.
The moment I stepped into my room, on the first floor of a villa, I was overwhelmed . The view from the terrace was mesmerising and the greenery blinded me. The birds flocked to the paddy fields as the mountains seemed closer. I stayed in a premium deluxe room which was private and intimate and gave me an exclusive feel. The architecture, along with the interiors, the decor and the vaulted ceilings were inspired by Lao traditional style of architecture.
The room was massive at around 70 sqm but it was the big bathroom with a bathtub and rain shower and the massive balcony with its comfortable couch that made me feel like I was actually staying in a studio apartment. Besides the illy coffee machine and coffee and tea sachets, there were also several refreshments in the minibar. Free Wi-fi, Bose sound system and 48-inch flat-screen TV were also provided in the room.
We could not tear ourselves away from the view. But as the rain clouds vanished, the rays of the sun streamed in, painting the entire landscape with vibrant shades That was a cue for us to explore the property. We decided to walk instead of taking the buggy, but we lost our way.
However, we were happy as we stumbled upon little nooks and corners and found pretty instagrammable spots along the way. We found ourselves around ponds and streams and eventually discovered three massive swimming pools. The infinity pools took us to a different world as we felt really lost amidst the mountains and fields.
One of the pools was reserved for the kids. The children are the special guests at Pullman Luang Prabang as they even have a special club with toys, video games, books and even mountain bikes for the adventurers. There are also special activities for them and they can even dabble at cultivating rice if they wish. It is one of the hotels in Luang Prabang that caters primarily to families.
Finally I made my way to the restaurant. It stood there, elegant and yet grand, facing the lake, brimming with lilies that had just opened their petals to the sun. I could not have asked for a more prettier place to have my first meal in a new destination. The L’Atelier restaurant is open all day- from breakfast to dinner. It is stylishly designed and is a melange of both East and West. Looking up at the ceiling I was fascinated to see it filled with looms as it highlighted the arts and crafts of Laos. However, it was the unparalleled views that took our breath away. Be it the colourful lily pond or the rice paddies, we could sit here and gaze upon the scenery for eternity.
The cuisine here is international with local flavours. They even have live cooking stations and the menu is curated to suit the taste of every guest – be it Asian or European, vegetarian or vegan, gluten-free or any other special diet. The herbal and organic garden provides fresh local produce and care is taken to ensure that every dish is packed with nutrients as well.
Pullman also has a lobby lounge serving freshly brewed coffee, juices, cocktails, desserts, local dishes and even light bites. The Junction as its aptly titled is where barista meets bartender. Organically and locally farmed produce are used as ingredients and the lobby lounge is ideal for those who are attending a meeting as the conference centre is located close by.
But if you are the kind who wants to remain in the lap of nature, then head to H2O, the pool bar near the infinity pool, located amidst the paddy fields, overlooking the mountains. Sun loungers pepper the deck as you can bask in the rays of of the sun. Stay healthy by opting for a fresh garden salad or head here during sunset and sip a cocktail. It is the perfect place to be at any given point of time, if you want to just laze around.
But at Pullman you are always surrounded by mountains and paddy fields and you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, untouched by civilisation. There is also has a luxury spa tucked away amidst the lush greenery. It is literally far from the madding crowd, surrounded by untouched countryside where all you can hear is the chirping of the birds. Relaxation is the buzzword here – be it for the body or the soul. At Pullman Fit, you can head go for yoga sessions on the rooftop or jog around the gardens and fields or head to the gym located near the pool .
Finally we decided to venture out to explore the town. The UNESCO Heritage town is one of the best preserved cities in the world. A blend of the East and West, Luang Prabang literally transports you to a different era. The most romantic city in South East Asia is dubbed as the “Refuge of the Last Dreamers.” Dreams and fantasies float around as you are forever in a reverie. There is no hurry to rush and explore . You can feel the Zen.
Time literally slows down and allows you to gently meander into a quaint world of ancient traditions. The city is surrounded by mountains, rivers, waterfalls and forests and nature at its rugged best. It is the perfect city to slow down on your travels and rejuvenate. And personally, for me, Pullman Luang Prabang is the idyllic destination to start my experiential journey of Luang Prabang and Laos as it imbibes the very spirit of the city.
This post is written in partnership with Pullman Luang Prabang and Accor Group of Hotels, who had hosted us during our trip to Luang Prabang in Laos.