Azerai Luang Prabang is the first chapter of a new story and brand of hotels that offers guests simple elegance, refined design, discreet and attentive service in places of unique beauty and cultural interest. Azerai is uniquely envisioned for today’s experienced urbane individuals, couples and families looking for distinction, quality and comfort at affordable prices.
The name Azerai is influenced by the Persian word caravanserai, a resting place with a central courtyard for travellers. Azerai’s first hotel is located in the heart of the Buddhist township of Luang Prabang, one of the lesser known but beautifully preserved living UNESCO heritage sites in the world. Luang Prabang is a land locked peninsula town located in the north of Laos.
Its setting is a green hearted valley surrounded by steep mountainous countryside and horseshoed by the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers. The iconic heart of the town is Mount Phousi, known as sacred mountain, crowned by a 24-metre gilded golden stupa of Vat Chomsi.
This spiritual and soulful town is home to 30 active temples with Theravada Buddhism as its religious centre. Saffron-robed monks are a common sight at any time of day throughout the town but more regularly during the time honored custom of Tak Bat or Alms giving which takes place every morning for the monks to collect their one meal of the day served by the local community.
Architecturally the town is an exceptional fusion of traditional and urban structures influenced by 19th and 20th century French and Vietnamese design elements along with European and Chinese innovations.
Vibrant local markets are plentiful where one can find an eclectic array of hand-crafted textiles, home wares and jewellery alongside fresh fruit and vegetable stalls. Cafes and vendors selling local delicacies are dotted throughout the tree lined riverbanks and hidden alleyways.
Luang Prabang is full of serendipitous moments. It is a place one can immerse themselves wholeheartedly and embrace its gentle mystery and soul.
Azerai Luang Prabang is a 53-room dwelling designed with a thoughtful fusion of Luang Prabang’s cultural heritage and contemporary aesthetics. The two-level building itself is the result of a two-year reconstruction of the original footprint of a unique site unveiled over 100 years ago. The rooms are designed with thoughtful simplicity that is practical and comfortable. There are three room categories varying in size, from 30-50 square meters. The Azerai rooms are larger in size and the superior rooms are located on the second level overlooking the pool courtyard. All the rooms are open plan, each with an en-suite shower room, as well as twin vanities, a king-sized bed, which can be converted into twins upon request, and French-styled louvered doors that open onto a balcony, or, a terrace with loungers. In contemporary studio style, the rooms also house coffee and tea making facilities, mini-bars, wireless internet, and wall mounted flat screen televisions.
Facilities are intimate and comprehensive which enable guests to relax and unwind while enjoying the local fare. A 25-metre pool set within the central garden is surrounded by daybeds and loungers and shaded by an old banyan tree. A massage retreat offers a menu of traditional therapies by intuitive and well-trained practitioners. Fitness options include a fully equipped Gym as well as Yoga. A Reading Lounge provides a tranquil place to reflect or relax over a book or a cup of tea.
Dining venues includes the Azerai Bistro, a relaxed and atmospheric space with al-fresco and indoor seating, serving classic Bistro, Lao and French-influenced dishes. Simple fresh ingredients are a daily enjoyment. The Bistro Bar is a convivial spot located on the second level where guests can enjoy evening drinks from the veranda which looks out onto the main street and night market.
Azerai’s Concierge is well versed on the many scenic and cultural attractions tailored to guest preferences and length of stay.
“I am guided by how I feel. I have a gut feel if you do the right product that you can get the rate needed to make a profit…..I am not interested in all these trends. I am interested in what I believe in and what I think can work. There is no guarantee but it will work, and if it works in one place it could work in two places, and if it works in two it can work in four. I am honestly convinced that this is something, while it costs a little more than another 60-room, 3-star hotel, can work.” Adrian Zecha on Azerai
HOTELS Profile: Adrian Zecha takes luxury downscale by Jeff Weinstein for Hotels Magazine