Understated style and sumptuous service are just part of the charm at The Anantara Golden Elephant Camp and Resort, a colonial-style escape with an emphasis on conservation and, in particular, the care of the Asian Elephant. The issue of elephant rides can be fraught with concern, but not here, as the gentle residents have been rescued from city streets and are evidently well cared for in their natural habitat. Mahouts, or trainers, have close relationships with their charges, and learning from them is one the main draws here. Treks on elephants through the tropical jungles are possible, but many guests simply revel in the chance to walk alongside, to help with feeding and washing and learning elephant lore.
The resort itself is a place of grace and luxury. Suites and rooms radiate out in two wings, there are just 63, each lustrous with teak flooring. Local art intersperses the chic interiors and bathrooms are indulgent, with the deepest baths and huge rain-head showers. The spa is another treat after a day of treks, as is the infinity pool, large and placed to make the most of exceptional views. The mighty Mekong and its verdant valley are within sound and vision, edged with bamboo and exuberant trees and birdlife.
There are four excellent restaurants to choose from, but also the option to have a chef cook to order at a table for two, perhaps in the undulating lime green folds of a rice valley, or perched high hillside to take in more of those Mekong and countries-beyond views.