Amanresorts has announced the opening of Amantaka in Luang Prabang, the former royal capital of Laos. The 24-suite resort incorporates 15 French-colonial-style buildings that were once part of the city’s old provincial hospital. A seductive pace and a rich cultural history mingle with distinctive Aman service in a return to a bygone era.
Amantaka derives its name from the word aman (“peace” in Sanskrit) and taka (from Tipitaka or “the teaching of the Buddha” in Theravada literature). Located just south of Mount Phousi, the centerpiece of Luang Prabang, the resort rests on a peninsula framed by the mighty Mekong and Khan rivers. The property is an easy walk to Buddhist temples, markets rich with local food, crafts and richly colored textiles including the fabled night market, riverside cafés and the town’s many historic sites such as the former Royal Palace, a fusion of Beaux-Arts and traditional Lao architecture. The entire city was declared a United Nations World Heritage Site in 1995 in order to protect its precious temples, palace and classic colonial buildings.
Although no documents have been found regarding the original construction of the hospital buildings, it has been estimated that the first construction was completed during the early years of the 20th century. In 2005, a new hospital was built and Amanresorts took possession of the old site. Nine of the buildings are protected under UNESCO’s World Heritage regulations. Careful restoration work has been carried out and buildings added following UNESCO guidelines.
The entrance to Amantaka draws guests into an open-air French colonial building with high ceilings surrounded by shady verandas. The reception area comprises a bar, restaurant and foyer leading to a spacious library overlooking the broad expanse of the main pool and leafy central courtyard. The resort’s eight Suites, four Pool Suites, eight Khan Suites, two Mekong Suites and two Amantaka Suites feature spacious interior and exterior living areas and surround a spacious courtyard. The living rooms and bedrooms open onto an outdoor space shaded by mango trees with lounges and large umbrellas. The two stand-alone Amantaka Suites feature private treatment rooms, spacious outside entertaining areas, a pool and separate living/dining areas.
Amantaka offers several dining options including authentic Lao and French-influenced cuisine. The dining room captures an airy colonial ambiance and the more casual Pool Terrace serves light meals throughout the day. Private dining can be arranged in a choice of secluded locations around the property as well as en-suite.
The Spa has four self-contained treatment rooms as well as steam and sauna with hot and cold plunge pools. Treatments include massages, facials, scrubs and wraps incorporating the best of Southeast Asian technique with Aman Spa’s own range of organic products. Fitness facilities include a swimming pool, tennis center and gymnasium with personal trainers for individual assistance. Amantaka also features a yoga studio with private classes available on request.
Amantaka is little more than ten minutes from Luang Prabang International Airport which is serviced by scheduled flights from Bangkok (two hours), Hanoi, Siem Reap, Chiang Mai and Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Complimentary airport transfers are provided to and from the resort.