Pricey but an old favourite
Located at the very tip of the peninsula where the Nam Khan River wraps around to join the Mekong, Mekong Riverview Hotel has been a favourite since it opened in 2007. This expensive owner-managed boutique hotel consistently receives rave reviews for its location and service. Is it worth it? It depends on what you are looking for.
The building and rooms are unapologetically traditional in style with polished wood floors, antique-style furnishings and wicker patio chairs. It can be described as elegant, low-key, cosy and very comfortable; it would not be described as modern or luxurious. The rooms are clean, well maintained and overall faultless. All rooms include a river view slightly obstructed by trees, fridge, WiFi, double sinks in the bathroom and air-con. You can also take advantage of free airport transfer, bicycle rental and a shuttle to places in town via golf cart, simultaneously charming and ridiculous.
The staff is well trained and you can expect top-notch, welcoming service. The biggest feature is the unparalleled location and the private balcony to take it all in. You are across the road from the Mekong River and the end of the peninsula tends to be one of the quiet parts of the old town (though peace and quiet is NEVER a guarantee in Luang Prabang as the Lao love their karaoke and beer-fuelled parties). You are neighbours with Wat Xiengthong, close to a boat landing (from where you can take a boat ride), a hop and skip to the rivers (and in dry season, the temporary beach which is a great place for sunset) and a 10-minute stroll to the centre.
Breakfast is served at the hotel’s pleasant Viewpoint Cafe, which as the name suggests, has a unique position for a fantastic view at the convergence of the two rivers. Even if you don’t stay at Mekong Riverview, come to the cafe for a drink or a quick photo.
With a peak rate of US$260 in high season and a starting room rate at US$160 in low season (which makes this more expensive than some of the other luxury hotels), we aren’t convinced it’s entirely worth it, especially compared to what other hotels offer. There is The Belle Rive just a few blocks down on the Mekong Road, and more modern and chic Burasari Heritage on the Nam Khan River. At this luxury price point, it is also competing with hotels Maison Souvannaphoum and Satri House, both just outside of the centre and both with a swimming pool, large garden and spa – facilities that Mekong Riverview does not have.
Still, the hotel is deservedly successful and often full even in low season. So if you have your heart set on a place in the old town on the river, and you are willing to splurge, book this hotel well in advance to avoid disappointment.
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Superior double room||US$220||US$260|
Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you'll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
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