The latest sign that Luang Prabang, the once-undiscovered UNESCO World Heritage city on the Mekong River, now fully caters to upscale tastes, Villa Maly is in the former residence of Prince Khamtan, grandson of a 19th-century Lao king. The hotel’s 33 rooms, furnished with four-poster mahogany beds, rain showers, and parquet floors, surround the 1938 French colonial–style home in seven comfortable cabanas. During my stay, I fought the heat by spending time on the dark-wood pool deck ringed by tall palms and tropical flowers. It’s a five-minute stroll to the town’s historic center—and a five-minute stroll back to the hotel’s onsite spa for a massage. Villa Maly, 856/(0) 71-253-902, from $218. This appeared in the December/January 2010 issue.