“ Boutique hotel in Luang Prabang, Laos. „
Villa Maly, Luang Prabang
We had three nights in this rather charming hotel which was a former Royal Dwelling before the time of the Communists when the Royal Family were forced to leave Laos. It had a rather French colonial air about it, small two story buildings around a central pool area.
As you arrived you were greeted by a pool with goldfish then up a central set of glistening white steps you entered a large reception and lounge area with polished wooden floors and lovely old carpets. Around the room were old tables with large pots and dishes tastefully arranged and very understated classy decor. A small table on the side had a few brochures for local places of interest, a newspaper stand from which you could borrow papers to enjoy while sitting on the sofas and there were also magazines and a book exchange too. Just off this large room was a small spa area and then the bar was in a sort of corridor that lead out to the pool. I think most people either at in the large reception lounge area or around the pool when enjoying a drink but there were bar stools as well as a couple of tables and chairs if you wanted to sit in the bar and watch the football which seemed to be constantly on the television in there.
Walking around the pool there were several really comfortable sun loungers with umbrellas set around a rectangular pool tiled in dark and light blue stripes which was a bit different. The pool was surrounded by polished wooden decking which was a bit lethal when wet. We then walked down a set of polished wooden steps through the garden then up the glistening white painted concrete steps to our room.
This was a decent sized room with polished wooden floor and a blue thick carpet under and around the bed. The bed was a large king sized bed with polished dark wood ends and a mosquito net for use at night. The bed was made with lovely quality white cotton bedding, a large French style square pillow each and a small round cylindrical one which I used and found very comfortable.
On either side of the bed was a unit with a drawer and a shelf under it with a cotton dressing gown. On top of the unit was a classy looking lamp which gave quite a good light, certainly good enough for me to read with.
A large dark wood polished wardrobe held a fridge and a safe so there wasn't a lot of storage for clothes and I think there were half a dozen hangers. The fridge was a mini bar with the usual silly prices so we avoided using the water in there and used instead the complimentary bottles left on the table. We did put them in the fridge to cool though.
There was a flatscreen modern TV but I have to say we didn't switch it on at any time so I have no idea what was on.
Apart from this on the table/desk was a small tray with a kettle and tea/coffee stuff. We did try to make a cup of tea but couldn't get the kettle to work in any of the sockets. The sockets were a bit hit and miss as sometimes on worked and at other times there was no electricity there at all.
Wifi was available at no extra charge which was good and the passcode was 'dontforgethespa' which I thought was a clever way of advertising that facility.
This was quite small with a concrete painted shower cubicle and a huge shower nozzle which was great, no bath though and some days after all the walking I could have done with a good soak. There was no curtain just a narrow opening but water did get out as you showered which meant you had to put the bath mat to one side until you finished showering.
The sink was a 'gold' bowl set in a large tall pot. There was a lighted mirror behind but it wasn't really light enough to put on any makeup properly and certainly not good enough for me to put in contact lenses.
Apart from the sink and shower there was a toilet and a small set of shelves with a hairdryer and rolled towels and toiletries. They provided a couple of bars of very nice lemongrass scented soap, shampoo and shower gel but not conditioner or body lotion here.
Although the hair dryer was in the bathroom there used to be a plug hole there but it was taped over and you were asked not to use it in the bathroom which is fair enough safety wise. However the lead to the dryer was short and the only sockets were behind the TV or under the desk/table which meant I had to sit on the floor to dry my hair and keep on getting up to go to the bathroom to check in the mirror as there wasn't one anywhere in the bedroom .
When we stayed at Kamu Lodge ( also owned by the same company) we travelled up and back with the new assistant manager and I did point this problem out to him so hopefully he will do something about this.
This was in a sort of garden dining room and was a buffet. As we arrived we were offered tea or coffee but the rest was help yourself. A choice of four different fruit juices as well as iced water, fresh tropical fruit ready cut into pieces included dragon fruit, pawpaw, mango, water melon and some unpeeled tiny bananas were also on offer.
A selection of pastries and bread for toasting with one of those strange slow moving toasters that require you to watch it go through at least three times before the bread even gets warm. They had crepes and waffles but they were served cold with a choice of honey, jam or chocolate sauce. As they were cold they were pretty horrible and after the first day I gave them a miss.
My husband seemed to enjoy the local sausages which also were served almost cold, the scrambled egg was hot but once again the bacon although it looked pretty crisp was not hot either which is not quite so tasty. I think they need to look into ways of serving the food warm at least.
The pool was lovely and there were plenty of sunlougers with comfortable mattress around. As you went to sit on one a little man rushed over with a towel and laid it on the seat for you. We found the water a little too refreshing and so only my legs up to my knees had a dip. It was very pleasant to lie there and enjoy the ambience though.
The spa was a room off the large Reception lounge area and also looked onto the pool. The treatments were reasonable but nowhere near as cheap as in the city. $25 US for a massage which is okay but not amazing so we gave it a miss here and had a foot massage in the city instead for a couple of quid each which was much better value.
The bar I have already said was a sort of corridor between the Reception/lounge area and the pool and also charged pretty steep prices which was stupid as the hotel was only a ten minute walk into the city where you could get drinks at less than half the price. This meant that there was no-one in the bar normally and we only had a drink there the night we arrived after our journey from the UK.
A large golf trolley car thing would take you into the city if you asked and probably bring you back if you set a time but we walked as it wasn't far. If you got too foot sore you could always get one of the local tuk tuks to bring you back but they did say it was a good idea to take a hotel card as most of the tuk tuk drivers didn't speak English. I can't advise on that as the only time we took a tuk tuk was when we went to the local market to buy food with the person from our cooking class and of course he spoke Laos.
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
This is a lovely peaceful elegant hotel. It is small and classy with rooms that are furnished in dark wood locally made and antique looking furniture. It had everything you needed in the room apart from a working kettle and a mirror near a socket for hair drying.
I did feel that the breakfast food needed a bit of a sort out as like warm or cold food is not that appetising.
It was in a very quiet location and a very short walk into the city so it suited us fine. There were hotels and guest house right in the city and along the river front which looked quite nice but very few had pools so if you want a pool then I would suggest this hotel is pretty near perfect. Hopefully the new manager will shake things up a bit as he seemed very pleasant and on the ball too.
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