In this review, we will stay at Hotel Khamvongsa in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.
With my brand new Laotian visa pasted into my passport by an immigration officer and having finally arrived into the country on an Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur, I found myself in the arrivals hall of Vientiane Airport.
Even though the airport is located just a short ride away from the city centre, you are hard-pressed to find a fairly priced ride into town. In the end I opted for a pre-paid coupon taxi – which at seven American dollar was a bit overpriced given the short distance but at least offered a smooth and comfortable experience.
I was a bit unsure where to stay for my one night in Vientiane. Looking at some accommodation websites there were seemingly plenty of decent enough mid-range options, but none that stood out when it came to excellent ratings, great value for money or particular charm.
Even though the city has a few decent chain hotels, they looked a bit soulless to me and some weren’t particularly well located. In the end I settled for the colonial-era Hotel Khamvongsa after reading an article in the Guardian on Vientiane boutique hotels.
In the end I booked a night in a double room at the Khamvongsa through hotels.com for 50 EUR, which included breakfast.
As it was still mid-morning when I arrived, my room was understandably not yet ready. I was told by the friendly receptionist that it would probably be ready in about an hour, so I decided to settle myself on the lovely roadside terrace, ordering a tasty iced coffee from the hotel bar.
With the Khamvongsa being located on a main road directly opposite the Buddhist Wat Inpeng Monastery, the terrace is a great spot for a coffee or a beer. The location of the Khamvongsa Hotel is great in general. The famous Vientiane night market is just a five minute walk away, and most of the city’s sights are within walking distance.
My room indeed turned out to be ready after an hour and I was escorted by the receptionist three floors up on a lovely old staircase (note that no elevator is available).
My 280 square feet (26 square metres) room was exactly what I thought it would be. Although not luxurious, it did have lots of old-style colonial charm with its dark wooden floor, blinds and old style furniture. It consisted of a double bed, a TV hidden inside an old-fashioned wooden cupboard, a fridge, electric kettle with tea and coffee provided, a desk and a small security safe.
The room was spotlessly clean and had a really interesting fresh perfume scent. The room has air conditioning and a fan although I found the temperature to be pleasant enough not no need it. Two complimentary small bottles of water were put on the desk, which was a nice touch.
The bathroom itself was decent enough, although I thought the shower was in need of a newer, better shower head. However, the bathroom was spotlessly clean and spacious. I appreciated that the shower was in a separate corner and drained well, as sometimes flooding can be an issue with older bathrooms in old buildings.
Breakfast is served in the lovely ground-floor hotel bar facing the street. Of all public areas, the bar oozed the most colonial charm with its French tiles and dark wooden furniture. Needless to say, it is also an excellent place for a small nightcap before going to sleep.
For breakfast, you can choose out of several set menus. I opted for the English breakfast, which consisted out of a fried egg, bacon and beans, which was served with some bread, orange juice and French press coffee.
I found the overall service in the hotel to be great. Hotel staff was always courteous, helpful and had a smile on their face – something which would turn out to be true for the entire of Laos during the remainder of the trip.
The reception desk is available to book bus tickets for you for a honest price. This is much better than arranging all yourself, as a pick-up by minivan from the hotel to the departure point of the bus is included in the price.
I had an enjoyable stay at the Khamvongsa hotel, which did meet my expectations. Service was friendly, the room comfortable, and the hotel itself had lots of colonial charm.
The location of the hotel is certainly unbeatable as the famous Vientiane night market is just a few minutes away. After a long day sightseeing and eating and drinking at the market it was nice to have a short walk home. If you are the person who prefers a hotel to have a bit of history and local charm, then the Khamvongsa is certainly a good mid-range pick for your stay in Vientiane.
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘Lazing in Laos and Gallivanting a Wee Bit Around Asia‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: Aegean Airlines Business Class Bucharest to Athens (Airbus A320)
2. Review: Goldair Handling Lounge (Non-Schengen) Athens Airport
3. Review: Saudia Business Class Athens to Jeddah (Airbus A320)
4. Review: Saudia Alfursan Lounge Jeddah Airport South Terminal
5. Review: Review: Saudia Business Class Jeddah to Kuala Lumpur (Boeing 787)
6. Review: CitizenM Hotel Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang
7. Kuala Lumpur in One Day: What to See and Do in 24 Hours
8. A Batu Caves Half Day Trip From Kuala Lumpur By Public Transport
9. Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Private Resting Suite Gateway KLIA2
10. Review: Air Asia Kuala Lumpur to Vientiane (Airbus A320)
11. Review: Hotel Khamvongsa, Vientiane, Laos (current chapter)