The Big Six: Mekong river retreats
Saturday 09 October 2010
The Quay Hotel, Cambodia
Sister hotel to the French colonial FCC Phnom Penh, the Quay Hotel is a 16-room hideaway beside the river. It's minimal and contemporary: think Arne Jacobsen Swan chairs, plasma screen TVs and ergonomic design. The hotel also provides local communities with coal-free cookers and was built using natural and recycled materials: environmentally aware and slick and stylish to boot.
The Quay Hotel, Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (00 855 23 224 894; thequayhotel.com). Double rooms start at US$90 (£60), excluding breakfast.
Victoria Can Tho Resort, Vietnam
This colonial-style hotel is in the heart of the Mekong Delta on the banks of the Hau River. The picture is one of dark wood flooring, crisp white linens and languid river views. And if seduced by the water, guests can take a cruise on the hotel's wooden rice barge.
Victoria Can Tho Resort, Cai Khe Ward, Can Tho City, Vietnam (00 84 710 3810 111; victoriahotels-asia.com). B&B starts at US$147 (£98).
Four Seasons, Thailand
This luxury camp overlooking the Mekong in the "Golden Triangle" on the border of Thailand, Laos and Burma, is accessible only by river boat. Cradled by the bamboo jungle, the 15 safari-style tented rooms come complete with king-size beds, roll-top copper baths and panoramic views. You can learn how to be a mahout trekking through the trees with the camp's elephants, go on nature walks, boat trips along the river or simply indulge in a spa treatment.
Four Seasons Tented Camp, Chiang Rai, Thailand (00 66 53 910 200; fourseasons.com/goldentriangle). Doubles start at 64,790 baht (£1,352), all-inclusive.
La Folie Lodge, Laos
On Dong Daeng island in the middle of the Mekong, this cluster of cottages has views of the Wat Phou Khmer temple. The island's palm-fringed gardens and pool offer a relaxing retreat. Rooms have private balconies from where you can watch the sun set over the temple ruins.
La Folie Lodge, Dong Daeng, Champasak, Laos (00 856 30 534 7603; lafolie-laos.com). Doubles start at US$95 (£63), including breakfast.
Alila Luang Prabang, Laos
Opening this coming Thursday is Alila's second hotel in the Unesco World Heritage-listed city of Luang Prabang. Sister to the bijou 3 Nagas hotel, the new all-suite design hotel and spa overlooks the meeting point of the churning cafe au lait waters of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. A mix of contemporary and French colonial style – some of the buildings date back a century – the 23 suites surround a central courtyard with landscaped gardens, a pool and outdoor fire pits to gather around on chilly nights.
Alila Luang Prabang, Old Prison Road, Luang Prabang, Laos (00 856 71 260 777; alilahotels.com/luangprabang). Double rooms start at US$204 (£136), excluding breakfast.
Vat Phou Rice Barge, Laos
This gracious old riverboat plies the Mekong in the southern part of Laos. There are a dozen simple wooden cabins, while the open-air upper deck is scattered with wicker chairs, day beds and a bar. Drift past water buffalo and fishermen en route to the archipelago known as 4,000 islands.
Vat Phou Mekong Cruises, Laos (00 856 71 252 553; vatphou.com). Two-night cruises from €528 per person.
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