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Villa Maly in Luang Prabang launches New Explorer Promotion

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Tuesday, 27 July 2010

One-hundred-fifty years after Henri Mouhot embedded Angkor in the Wests imagination and then perished on an expedition outside Luang Prabang, an historic hotel in the old royal capital is resurrecting the legacy of the French naturalist and explorer as the centerpiece of a new Explorers Package.

The novel package, the first in a series to be rolled out by the Apple Tree Group, invites guests to peel back superficial layers and delve deeper into the region with a trip that is part literary, part adventure and part posh.

If youve come all the way to Luang Prabang, and youve not encountered the peripatetic Monsieur Mouhot, we, as hosts, havent really done our jobs, said Eric Merlin, CEO of the Ho Chi Minh City-based Apple Tree Group. Our properties, in Luang Prabang, in Halong Bay and in Hue, revel in opportunities for discovery, no matter what they say about the absence of terra incognita.

Beginning at US $467, the Mapping Monsieur Mouhot package combines a two-night stay at the Villa Maly with a trek to Mouhots jungle grave, a trip to a pristine waterfall he may have encountered on his journeys, a copy of his journals and a nightly drink in a Villa Maly bar named for the naturalist. The package also includes ground transfers.

Villa Maly opened in 2008 as one of Luang Prabangs most exquisite new boutique hotels. The 33-room property is located in a neighborhood of garden homes that was once a royal enclave and today ranks as one of Luang Prabangs most exclusive development zones.

Mouhot writes wonderfully about this area, so much so that to leave Luang Prabang, a place he described as a delightful little town when he first visited in 1861, without researching a bit about Mouhot is to miss something grand, said Marie-Helene Machevin, general manager of the Villa Maly.

As a parting gift , Villa Maly will dispatch guests from Luang Prabang with a copy of Mouhot's journals, much in the same way that one of Mouhots travel attendants carried his journals back to Bangkok after his death in 1861.

The historic home at the Villa Maly complex, Plumeria, was built in 1938 for His Royal Highness Khamtan (1909-1968) and Princess Khampieng (1911 1994). The royal couple raised five children in the house while Khamtan served as prefect of the provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Sayabouri. He died in a plane crash; his wife lived in the house until her death.

For two people, two nights in low season, the Mapping Monsieur Mouhot package rates stand at $547 for accommodation in a superior room ($637 in a deluxe room). In high season, from October to April, the rates move to $725 and $815 in superior and deluxe rooms respectively.

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