Where is it? On the main street of Luang Prabang, across the road from the famous Wat Xieng Thong and a few minutes' walk from Wat That Chom Sii on Mount Pousi and the Royal Palace Museum. What's so special about it? The hotel and restaurant inhabit three houses that were built at the end of the 19th century or in the early 20th century. Luang Prabang is a Unesco World Heritage site, which means strict rules apply regarding restoration. The 3 Nagas also owns a vintage Mercedes-Benz 190b estate (parked in front of the restaurant, far right), which was part of the royal fleet in the 1950s. What's the place like? The main building, Lamache House, built in 1898, was originally the royal court's official ice-cream parlour; three bottles containing essence extract used in the parlour and discovered during renovation work are on display in the lobby. The interior of the house is all parquet floors and wooden beams, with magnificent terraces or private verandahs in each of the five rooms and two suites. It makes you want to wear a linen suit and Panama hat. Kahmboua House was built in 1903 and includes traditional Laotian features and materials such as pitched roofs and bamboo, as well as decidedly untraditional additions such as air-conditioning, minibars and modern bathrooms. And the rooms? 'Spacious' doesn't do them justice. All rooms and suites are at least 50 square metres, with high ceilings. What's on the menu? The 3 Mangos restaurant serves traditional French dishes such as coq au vin and confit of duck leg, but more interestingly, the Laotian chef prepares a fusion of western and Laotian cuisines. His risotto is made with sticky rice and seafood and flavoured with lemongrass and galangal, while the buffalo salad is served with sesame seeds and betel leaves. Don't miss the pandanus-leaf creme brulee for dessert. What is there to do? The 3 Nagas is perhaps the best place in the world in which to do nothing. Owner Pascal Trahan suggests taking a few books and lounging on the terrace; perhaps you'd prefer going for a stroll to do as the Lao do and 'listen to the rice grow'. Khamboua House has a beautiful garden overlooking the Nam Khan River and is the best place for a rice-growing symphony. What's the bottom line? Rates start at US$72 a night for a double room in low season (May to October). The Nam Khan suite costs US$180. Breakfast is included and served on the verandahs or terraces. The 3 Nagas Boutique Hotel, Sakkaline Road, Ban Vat Nong, Luang Prabang, Laos, tel: 856 71253 888; or visit www.3nagas.com .