Stylish and peaceful
Le Bel Air Boutique Resort is yet another reasonably priced hotel vying for top spot in Luang Prabang’s competitive boutique market. The location on the other side of the Nam Khan river means guests get more space and peace than in town.
The property feels huge. There’s a car pull up area near reception where you’ll also find the hotel’s large fleet of bicycles lined up. The restaurant, which overlooks the river and the motorbike bridge, has both an outdoor space as well as a rustic covered pavilion and a small bar. Wide lawns in front of the buildings blocks lead down to the river’s edge.
Like its competitors My Dream Boutique Resort and Maison Dalabua, bungalows are Le Bel Air’s top room category and the star of the property. The bungalows are spacious, comfortable and relatively private, with lovely hardwood floors, white linens and a veranda overlooking the lawn and garden. The bungalows have one wall in a vibrant colour – blue, green, yellow or red – and a painted Buddhist “tree of life” motif. We think it’s a nice touch versus the typical boring beige but the colour may not be to everyone’s liking. The bathrooms are modern, the bathroom walls and countertops finished in a smooth, polished concrete.
The next category down is the deluxe garden riverside room. These rooms are heavier on the wood, giving it a more local and rustic feeling; they still have balconies and even have a bathtub. Finally, classic garden riverside rooms are Le Bel Air’s entry-level option. There are only a few of them available. They are simple, basic but adequate and inexpensive.
All rooms have the expected amenities like air-conditioning, minibar, WiFi, safe, toiletries and TV. Rates include daily breakfast and direct bookings include complimentary airport transfer, round trip (the airport is only five minutes’ away). Like Le Sen Boutique Hotel – but unlike most Luang Prabang hotels — Le Bel Air has a decent gym.
Le Bel Air is located on the other side of the Nam Khan River, directly beside “the old bridge” which is limited to motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians. There is a foot entrance awkwardly positioned the end of the bridge, with steps leading down to reception, and a vehicle entrance on the road running behind the hotel.
The hotel is adjacent to My Dream and as mentioned in that review, walking across this bridge is not for the faint of heart but going into town by tuk tuk or car results in an eight-minute detour. At least you have options: The hotel provides a free regular shuttle and free bicycle rental. In dry season (November to May) the makeshift bamboo bridge should be available. Otherwise it’s a 15- to 20-minute walk into the town centre.
Le Bel Air is a solid three-star hotel with plenty of space for hanging around. It’s good value as long as you are not looking for a swimming pool and are content with being on the other side of the river from town.
By Cindy Fan
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.