Nestled in a curve of the Mekong River is Vientiane: Laos’s laid back capital which blends French architecture alongside 16th Century Buddhist temples; where monks in their orange robes still (just about) outnumber tourists as they stroll down broad boulevards and shaded tree-lined streets, as dotted with golden shrines as they are art-deco style cafes and patisseries.
Here colonial roofs and gilded temples including Wat Si Schet which features 1000 images of Buddha, form the skyline making it hard to decipher whether you have stepped back in time to 16th Century South East Asia or or 1940s Paris.
Firmly on the tourist map, Vientiane is not quite the peaceful butterfly and fluttering-bird filled capital it once was, with increasing commercial infrastructure popping up among its atmospheric crumbling French mansions and inspiring monuments; however it still retains some of its authentic charm.
Sinking comfortably into Vientiane’s leafy and stylish embrace is the tranquil Boutique Hotel, Greenpark Villa, pitched just outside of the city centre, the grounds flanked by swaying palm trees, banana plants and flourishing fauna.
Reminiscent to Japanese styling, water features throughout the hotel as structured Jasmin filled moats with wooden walkways lead from the light filled reception to the ‘Dok Dala’ lounge bar and restaurant, spa and guest apartments.
The garden is a flower filled oasis, centred around a frangipani-fringed lily pond and sun dappled swimming pool surrounded by sumptuously comfortable sun loungers – the perfect antidote to a morning spent strolling those broad boulevards and local morning markets.
Cool and calming is the focus at Greenpark Villa; the soundtrack to your stay a harmony of its trickling water features and soft jazz playing from Dok Dala lounge bar. Dok Dala is open throughout the day, home to an impressive bar with a stylish spirit selection and a smiling team of bar tenders who know how to mix any cocktail with ease – a rarity in Southeast Asia.
As the sunlight disappears from the poolside, guests can head to Dok Dala to overlook light fading over the lily pond with their choice of classic a Martini or a Lao style cocktail blended within local whisky or arak (coconut) liqueur.
So, “when in Rome”…. I opted for the Lao Cocktail, a vibrant and refreshing concoction of Laos Arak, Orange Curaçao, Tripple Sec, fresh lime and or orange juice; my cocktail accompanied by Tempura Vegetables (eggplant, green beans, asparagus, carrot and baby corn) served with tangy Raita.
Dinner can be taken at Dok Dala, which is also a soothing spot for afternoon tea, or up in the hotel’s restaurant; and to relax guests even further, there is also the option of the hotel’s in-house spa…
A blissful hotel with a warm and personable team, readily available and attentive manager, pool, spa, local craft shop, restaurant and bar; you might forget to leave the hotel to visit Vientiane’s numerous, and equally beautiful, sights!
Doubles start from US$128, +856 21 264097, greenparkvientiane.com