From its hilltop perch in the verdant tropical forests of north central Laos, the just-opened Rosewood Luang Prabang offers its guests total immersion. Its fantastical landscape, which includes a rushing natural waterfall that cuts through the heart of the property as well as thick groves of Sunda oak trees, is not the only thing that envelops guests—they will also be given every opportunity to tap into the strong sense of history, both cultural and spiritual, of ancient Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Laos’s 14th-century capital. The latest Rosewood Hotels & Resorts property in Southeast Asia (the brand just opened another highly anticipated property in Cambodia) was brought to life by the lauded Bill Bensley, who worked his signature transporting magic on the grounds, peppering it with spacious suites and safari-chic tented villas—a first for the brand.
Bensley designed both the tented and non-tented villas and suites to almost float over the ground amid treetop foliage, preserving the delicate flora and fauna while giving guests a sense of being tucked away from the rest of the world. Every one of the 23 accommodations features its own private swimming pool and balcony complete with an outdoor wooden bathtub, while the six tented villas all feature unique decor, including tent canopies printed with ethnic patterns inspired by the Laotian hill tribes of the nearby mountains. For the interiors, Bensley’s design draws on the tradition of Laotian Hill Stations—a type of mansion-turned-lodge made popular in the early 20th century when French colonists opened their grand country homes to travelers looking to escape rising temperatures in cities like Vientiane. Artifacts, antiques, and other accents featured throughout the property were collected with this refined expat theme in mind, and guests can expect to stumble across vintage Kodak cameras, croquet mallets dating to 1900 (the lawn game is also available along with pétanque in the lush gardens), and early 20th-century illustrations.
This mix of traditional Laotian culture and colonial comforts is continued at the property’s two restaurants. For a taste of farm-to-table Laotian cuisine, guests can head to the Great House, where the menu changes daily based on what produce is available from local farmers and markets. If they’d like something a little bit lighter, they can settle in at a riverside table at the Elephant Bridge Bar for healthy snacks and cocktails that put a tropical spin on classics by incorporating indigenous herbs and spices. The same just-picked local herbs and produce are also used in the treatments offered in the three tented spa villas. There, therapists trained in Laotian healing techniques work alongside native village healer Mr. Xong, who specializes in Hmong Experience therapies using foraged ingredients.
When not cruising down the Mekong river or exploring Luang Prabang’s temples and markets on a guided tour, guests can try their hand at the bespoke weaving and ceramic crafts typical to the surrounding hill tribes with a lesson back at the resort, take a trek through the lush jungles to forage alongside the property’s chefs, or simply drink in the sweeping views of the storied peninsula from their breezy suite.