Review: Hotel Khamvongsa, Vientiane, Laos

In this review, we will stay at Hotel Khamvongsa in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

Arrival

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.

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After paying your taxi at an airport booth, you hand over your voucher to a taxi driver and wait a minute until he has collected his car from the parking lot. ©Paliparan
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On my way in the taxi to my Vientiane hotel. ©Paliparan

Khamvongsa

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.

Coffee

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.

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The old colonial-era facade of Hotel Khamvongsa. ©Paliparan
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Drinking an iced coffee while waiting for my room to be ready. ©Paliparan
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Hotel Khamvongsa is located directly opposite Wat Inpeng monastery. ©Paliparan
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Wat Inpeng monastery. ©Paliparan
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Wat Inpeng monastery. ©Paliparan

Room

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.

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Staircase at the Khamvongsa. ©Paliparan
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The old colonial interior of the Khamvongsa hotel. ©Paliparan
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The comfortable bed in my double room. ©Paliparan
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The double room had a small desk. There were plenty of electricity sockets in the room and WiFi worked well. ©Paliparan
tv cupboard
The TV and fridge were placed in an old-fashioned cupboard. ©Paliparan
view room
The view from my room towards the back of the hotel was nothing special. ©Paliparan

Bathroom

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.

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The bathroom of my double room. ©Paliparan
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The shower in the bathroom. ©Paliparan

Hotel breakfast

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.

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The lovely hotel bar of the Khamvongsa. ©Paliparan
english breakfast
English breakfast in the morning. ©Paliparan
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The hotel bar is a great place for a nightcap. ©Paliparan

Service

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.

In short

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)
12. Destination Trip Report: A Day in Vientiane, Laos
13. Guide: Domestic Bus Travel in Laos and How to Book a Ticket
14. Review: Simon Riverside Hotel, Vang Vieng, Laos
15. Trip Report: Vang Vieng – Worth a Stop on Your Laos Itinerary?
16. Review: Villa Ban Phanluang, Luang Prabang, Laos
17. Luang Prabang: The Stunning Pearl of Indochina
18. Guide: Luang Prabang Morning, Food and Night Markets
19. Kuang Si Falls: A Gorgeous Luang Prabang Day Trip
20. Review: Thai Smile Economy Class Luang Prabang to Bangkok (Airbus A320)
21. Review: Ibis Styles Bangkok Sukhumvit 4
22. Review: Air France/KLM Business Lounge Bangkok Airport
23. Review: Garuda Indonesia Business Class Bangkok to Jakarta (Boeing 737-800)
24. Review: Sapphire Plaza Premium Lounge Terminal 3 Jakarta Airport
25. Review: Garuda Business Lounge Terminal 3 Jakarta Airport
26. Review: Review: Japan Airlines Business Class Jakarta to Tokyo Narita (Boeing 787-8)
27. Review: Capsule Hotel Transit Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
28. Tokyo Stopover: What to See and Do in the Capital of Japan for a Day
29. Review: ANA Business Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport
30. Review: United Club Tokyo Narita Airport
31. Review: Turkish Airlines Economy Class Tokyo Narita to Istanbul (Boeing 777)
32. Review: Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Lounge Istanbul Airport
33. Review: Turkish Airlines Economy Class Istanbul to Bucharest (Airbus A330)

Koen

Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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