Stairway to Heaven: A Stay at the Kiridara Luang Prabang
There’s an overwhelming number of things to do in Luang Prabang – temples to visit, cooking classes to take, museums to explore, and waterfalls to climb. So much so, in fact, that sometimes the best thing to do might be nothing at all. And where better than to do just that, than the Kiridara Hotel?
Hidden away atop a Luang Prabang hillside, the Kiridara Hotel is an ideal hilltop getaway
The Kiridara – Sanskrit for “star upon the mountain” – has established itself as a refuge for the travel-weary in the World Heritage-listed town of Luang Prabang. The hotel is a sprawling complex of rooms featuring a central infinity pool, cocktail bar, and the most gorgeous mountain view this side of Shangri La.
Unlike the many Luang Prabang hotels that occupy the renovated colonial buildings that give the town its character, Kiridara is instead a retreat set well away from the relative hustle and bustle of the heritage town.
Lao architect Bounkham Chaleunphol built the hotel in 2011, seeking to maintain the natural beauty of the surrounds while highlighting the essence of Lao culture. And the hotel’s style indeed captures the spirit of Luang Prabang, seamlessly merging regal Indochina with European discernment. Cascading ceramic rooftops overhang a maze of stairwells and corridors, with cosy lounging areas set into every corner. Outside, the ivy-covered rock walls and manicured garden terraces lend a distinctly old-world feel, creating an atmosphere not unlike an alpine chalet.
Kiridara’s spacious rooms are similarly decorated; teak wood floors match soft tones and sweeping local silks, while a well-positioned bathroom means you can take a soak as the morning sun rises above the surrounding mountain peaks.The centrepiece of the Kiridara, however, is most certainly the pool and sundeck, which overlooks picturesque Mount Phousi. The site is perfectly positioned for sundowners while reclining by the pool, and guests can nod off to ambient music wafting across the water.
And if you’ve spent the day climbing mountains, scrubbing down elephants, or wandering up and down the markets, chances are you’ll be up for a relaxing Lao massage. The talented staff of the Spa at Kiridara offer herbal treatments and oil massages, including a full 90-minute session to work out the kinks and knots in each and every muscle.
If you’re feeling hungry, head over to Chef’s Table directly below the sundeck, where you’ll find a plethora of culinary delights presided over by chef-in-residence Chef Ken. After spending his life travelling the world, Chef Ken has become a master of fusion cuisine.
Working closely with Lao sous-chef Madame Wee, Chef Ken has brought the Chef’s Table restaurant to new heights with dishes such as Tom Jaew Sin Khuai., tender slices of stewed buffalo in a traditional Lao sauce, and duck confit with creamy mashed potato and a tart tamarind-red wine sauce.
The Kiridara offers hourly shuttles to and from town, and provides free bicycles for guest use.
For more information visit http://www.kiridarahotelluangprabang.com/
Written by: Cameron Darke
Photos: Kaikeo Saiyasane
Originally Published in: Champa Meuanglao, 2018 January-February Edition