The Luxe List 2011, Laos: Kiridara, Luang Prabang

World Heritage–listed Luang Prabang is anything but frenzied, yet this 24-room hillside retreat just outside town nonetheless feels like a refuge. Finished in stone and polished wood, the spacious guest quarters open onto balconies or private gardens that look out to the city’s most famous Buddhist site, Mount Phou Si. Though the staff lack experience, they compensate for that with genuine, heartfelt effort and dedication.

Good Western and Lao fare is available at Kiridara’s sole restaurant, while the infinity pool above makes an ideal perch for sipping lychee martinis. Farther up the hill is a spa where expertly trained therapists perform locally inspired treatments like the Nuat Bouhan, which combines traditional Lao massage with Thai stretching, shiatsu, and acupressure. Even better, all sessions begin with 15 blissful minutes in a teak-clad steam room infused with organic herbs like lemongrass and eucalyptus.

22/13 North Rd., Ban Naviengkham; 856-71/261-888; doubles from US$120

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