VIENTIANE, 12 January 2018, UPDATE: Informed travel trade sources in Vientiane now say Rosewood Luang Prabang will open 2 April. Email requests sent to various offices in Rosewood Group asking for confirmation and details of opening rates failed to gain a response.
CHAING RAI, 11 January 2018: Rosewood Luang Prabang should welcome its first guests, 14 March, after more than a year of delays.
Informed hotel sources, with connections in Luang Prabang, claim the hotel group is heading for a full opening by 14 March, just a month before the city celebrates its traditional New Year water festival.
Waterfall Management Sole Co Ltd, the owners of the riverside property, awarded Rosewood Hotels and Resorts the management contract in 2015, but the construction was plagued by delays with a proposed opening in 2017 passing with very little to show other than the concrete shells of the property’s villas and rooms.
Located on the southern outskirts of town, a 18-minute drive (6.6 km) from the downtown historical UNESCO World Heritage district, guests will be cocooned in a luxury environment a couple of stars higher than the current top hotel spots.
Its nearest hotel neighbours are Villa Santi Resort and Sabaidee Luang Prabang resort. Set well down a country lane, about 2 km from the Mekong River, the resort is close to a small farming village. The hotel’s fact sheet says it stands in a forested setting with a river and waterfall passing through the property.
At the time the project was first announced, the management company described it “as the only luxury vacation destination in the vicinity with no sightlines to civilization.”
There will be no sightlines on the daily rate either as a search of popular booking sites and even the hotel’s website failed to identify a rate. So far, the hotel website does not feature a direct booking facility.
The resort will have 23 spacious accommodations including deluxe rooms, suites, riverside and pool villas and tented villas occupying 74 sqm of space.
Ironically, guests will pay a near fortune to be cloistered in a world of opulence that will include taking an open-air shower, something the nearby village neighbours have forsaken for the comfort of a modern indoor bathroom.
Typically, tropical open-air showers are a novelty until the sun dips below the mountain range; a signal for the mosquitos to make an appearance for cocktail snacks. Then there are the occasional snakes looking for therapeutic cooling on outdoor bath tiles.
Of course, a Rosewood resort would not have a common garden lobby and reception. The group calls it a “manor retreat”, a comfy spot for the hotel manager to hover and welcome guests.
It will also house a speciality restaurant and the brand’s signature ‘Sense, A Rosewood Spa’ with three individual treatment rooms.
The resort was built by Bangkok-based American architect, Bill Bensley, who incorporated UNESCO design guidelines in his blueprints.
“This strategic location is a treasure trove of nature’s blessings – the perfect setting for a secluded and indulgent escape,” said. Vareeporn Udomkunnatum, director of Waterfall Management Sole Co Ltd, at the time of the launch publicity in 2015.
Since then considerable water has flown under the bridges of Luang Prabang. Whether the wait was worth it will be seen in the reviews over the next few months on TripAdvisor.
Predictably, there are no soft-open rates posted on Agoda or Booking.com. In fact you would be pressed to find a rate floating around the internet ahead of the promised opening. I suppose the adage “if you need to ask the price you cannot afford it,” applies in this instance.