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“Nice lodge” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge

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Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge
Ban Thadokkam, Vientiane, Laos   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #12 of 173 Vientiane B&B and Inns
Singapore
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Nice lodge”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2010

This is the last accommodation that we had before leaving from Vientiane back home, and we were pleasantly surprised. My nature loving gf loved the surroundings and the fact that the resort makes an effort to pay the staff well and support community projects. We were tired from all that travelling from LP and VV up north so it was nice to have a nice relaxing place to round off the trip.
The resort is nestled in the forest surroundings with nice lodges compared to the usual run of the mill stuff, is a nice change of environment.
Liked the rooms and decor a lot - spacious, very natural, but the beds was a bit dusty which gave me a dripping nose in the morning.
Staff were nice in general but it seemed that new manager was more approachable compared to the rest of the Laotian staff. So look for the manager if you need something / have problems.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BarnsLaos, Village Chief at Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge, responded to this review, March 18, 2010
Awww...my staff are lovely and friendly, they're just still a bit scared of foreign guests as are most Lao people. They're slowly getting used to us, especially now that I'm around all the time!

Dust can be a problem but the whole of Laos is dusty in the dry season. Where we are there is very little dust compared to down on the road! We clean the rooms thoroughly before guests arrive but I'm sorry if any dust gave you a runny nose. It could, of course, have been just a cold rather than a result of dust. However, we are in a forest in rural Laos so it's impossible to make things absolutely clean and 5-star. We do our best!

I'm glad you enjoyed your stay, it was nice to meet you.
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86 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Lima, Peru
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2010

My boyfriend and I stayed at Rivertime in February for 3 nights. We REALLY enjoyed ourselves! The setting was exactly what we had in mind – quiet, welcoming, and relaxing. We had a lodge to ourselves and didn’t have any problems with the lodge, bugs, or anything like that. Our hotwater heater was a little tricky though. The floating restaurant was a very nice place to have meals, watch the sunset, and meet people and chat. The new manager, Barnaby, and all the staff were very helpful.
While we were there we went to a local village and did the rice farming experience. The local village was very interesting, but I can’t really say we found the rice farming worth the price. The food was great and well-priced. We just had a great time just kicking back - swimming, walks, drinks, games, etc.. If you are going to go to Laos, you need to be ready to relax, and if you want to do it outside of the city, Rivertime is a great place to do it.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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BarnsLaos, Village Chief at Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge, responded to this review, March 18, 2010
I agree, outside rice planting season, guests don't get to actually plant rice with the locals which they can do if it is the right season. I have now added a lower out-of-season price. Sorry.

I'm trying to encourage them to have a small paddy field at the research centre you visited so that all guests get to actually plant rice with the locals since I believe that's what guests would really like to do as part of the experience. However, it's not easy to get people to do extra work in Laos...I'm working on it!
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
216 reviews 216 reviews
67 hotel reviews
Reviews in 64 cities Reviews in 64 cities
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2010

Stayed for 2 nights this week, and really enjoyed the peaceful location of the place.

We stayed in lodge one on our second night (our first night was spent in a dorm, as our lodge had a problem with wasps, so we couldnt stay in it) however the dorm was fine for one night and was given to us 'on the house' given the inconvenience caused to us.

Lodge one was spacious, tidy and we didnt encounter too many insects although there were a few, but not too bad. The bed wasnt great, a thin foam mattress gave me a bit of a sore back when i woke up, didnt do the rest of the room justice really. The outside space was generous, a large balcony with table and three chairs along with a private area to the side.

The condition of the resort is ok, but it does feel like it needs some renovation. I knocked into a rather dangerous low wooden post one afternoon, but was assured this would be removed soon.

The service was a little patchy. Whilst the staff were all friendly and pleasant, the food delivery in the floating restaurant was quite slow at times. At breakfast one morning we waited about 45 mins to be served, which was disappointing, given that other tables that ordered after us received their food before us (and it was all the same food) Then once it arrived it was cold (toast and bacon) But generally the service was fine, and the food reasonable quality - and not as expensive as some previous reviews have indicated.
One tip, they stop serving at 8pm so get there early. We had been looking forward to fish for our final dinner in Laos but arriving at about 745 pm were informed there was no fish left. They do run out of things quite quickly which I guess is understandable.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay. Once we moved into lodge one (which also picked up the free wifi, a major bonus in such a remote location) we could unwind and enjoy the place more. We used the free bikes one morning and cycled to the surrounding villages and also took the boat across the river.

I'd consider staying here again in the future, but would be interested to see what improvements are made in the meantime, as the signs of wear and tear make this a slightly pricey option for the money (we stayed in a similar style lodge outside of Luang Prabang for $8 less per night, which was in better condition and cleaner)

But anyway, thanks to Barnaby and staff for an enjoyable stay, it rounded off our time in Laos nicely.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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BarnsLaos, Village Chief at Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge, responded to this review, March 18, 2010
The thin foam mattress you mention is on top of a proper full-sized mattress. I added the thin foam part to try to make it more comfortable since one of our guests said the mattress itself felt a bit hard.

I agree, the old management let things get a bit dilapidated but I've only been the new manager for two months now but I am working on it I assure you.

The low wooden posts next to the little "sala" have now been removed completely.

I'm also working on trying to speed things up in the restaurant but the staff seem pretty used to being laid back and don't really understand Western efficiency. However, I am slowly teaching them basic Western customs for restaurant service and it's slwoly getting through.

We don't stop serving food at 8 pm. If guests want to eat after 8 pm then they can and we always have staff ready if people are arriving after 8 pm since they've usually just arrived from a long journey and are hungry! We do prefer guests to order their food before 8 pm if possible since the staff need to sleep. However, we always have at least one member of staff in the restaurant after 8 pm until whenever guests want to go to bed to serve drinks etc. Sometimes it's even me who does it! :)

Sometimes we do run out of fish in the evenings if a lot of people have ordered it but we order fresh fish, alive and swimming and as fresh as you can get, the next morning. Such things are sometimes unavoidable but I apologise that it happened during your stay.

Luang Prabang is a famous world heritage city and therefore there is a lot more accommodation available so it would be a bit cheaper. There is no such accommodation as we offer here within at least 30 kilometres. We are within an easy 40-minute drive of the city but still in real, rural Laos!

I'm glad you enjoyed your stay in spite of the wasps. We are in a forest and sometimes these things happen, they're all gone now! it's just a pity we were full that night or I would have given you another private lodge on the house. I'm sorry you had to stay in the dorm for the first night.
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2010

I stumbled upon the Rivertime Ecolodge on the internet while planning a week long vacation to take after a work conference in Bangkok. I was looking for a place to unwind and recharge my batteries after what I knew would be a taxing week. Rivertime proved to be the perfect place.

Its important to realise that it is not a 5 star resort - the showers do not have great water pressure (although they are hot), there are insects around (it is in the middle of rainforest after all), and the accommodation is basic. However if you are prepared to accept these limitations you will have an unforgettable experience.

The setting of Rivertime is amazing, right on the river, nestled into the rainforest. The cabins are airy, made from bamboo and in my opinion quite charming. There are two restaurants on site, both serving excellent Loas and Thai dishes at very reasonable prices in lovely relaxed surounds. I particularly enjoyed sitting in the floating restaurant having a Beerloa watching the sun set over the River.

The real joy at Rivertime comes from the staff and the activities available. I enjoyed a river cruise, as well as tours of the local villages and bushwalking. The staff are excellent, and Barnaby (the new owner) went out of his way to ensure that I was well looked after - he even organised a bespoke tour of Vientiene including a visit to Buddha park for me.

I can’t recommend a visit to Rivertime highly enough if you are looking for a relaxed few days away from it all.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Sweden
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2010

Arriving at this place at night (after 8 pm) was a really odd experience. The people in the reception(/makeshift garage) seemed not to be expecting us, despite pickup arranged through the resort (worked well despite delay of our bus). We were two adults and two tall teenagers, so we had made a reservation of a "lodge" with four beds (which could all be accommodated in one room according to the manager). When we were showed the room, a man wrapped in a towel popped out from the bathroom! "Oh, I took a shower in here since the one in our room is broken". There were only three beds, not the four we needed and it felt damp and smelt mouldy. We asked to have the room beside as well to get the number of beds we needed. Despite a fully open window (with net) the air in there was even more stale and unhealthy.

After a dinner (as the only guests) at the neighbouring Thai restaurant (the floating restaurant was already closed), we went to bed, teenagers in the first room me and husband in the one next to it. Everything felt damp; the floors, the sheet, everything. Most lights were not working at all. Ok, we have stayed in rough places before, but not at 38$ per night! We fell asleep, but were briskly waken up after a couple of hours. "Somethings biting me", shouted my husband. Turned out to be ants, marching over his pillow in a long trail. We decided to squeeze in with the teenagers. The next morning we had breakfast at the floating restaurant. Food was ok, but service extremely slow (>1 hour wait).

In daylight we had a chance to inspect the place further. It's a good spot and the facilities were probably nice in the past, now everything's just sadly neglected. Maybe they have some nicer rooms than No 4 and 5 that we stayed in, explaining the good reviews, but probably not more than two, the number of other rooms that seemed to be occupied during our stay.

Need I say we left after breakfast?

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
philiplaos, Owner at Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge, responded to this review, January 28, 2010
UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT!

It was indeed disappointing that these guests chose to leave our resort after arriving late at night and leaving the following morning, without taking the opportunity to participate in any of the unique and worthwhile activities we offer. However, since this review was posted, the management of Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge has passed to a younger, more active generation. The new management team are instituting many improvements and innovations, aimed at resolving the issues outlined in this review as well as upgrading and improving all of our facilities and services.

The review does merit a detailed response. Although our past reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, when we are criticised it is often because a guest is comparing our amenities to those of a city hotel (air-conditioning, no insects in sight, T.V. in the rooms, etc.) We are not a city hotel and would not like to be compared to city hotels. We are an ecolodge situated among rural communities in a heavily forested area of rural Laos.

That the reviewer was not met immediately on arrival at the resort is the fault of the old management (me). I should have informed our staff of the imminent arrival of the guest. However, the guests were successfully picked up, as arranged, at the bus station even though their bus arrived very late, and were delivered to the resort where they were shown to their room by our assistant manager.

Arriving late at night, the reviewer referred to our reception as ‘makeshift garage’. This is because, when guests (occasionally) arrive by motorbike, we park the bikes overnight in the reception/office for safety as is normal in Laos. Bikes are removed early the following morning.

These guests had requested a single room to accommodate 2 adults and two children. We are usually able to do this with extra mattresses/cots etc. (at no extra charge). However, in this case the two children were in fact tall teenagers so one room was not enough for them. No problem – we gave them two adjoining lodges at no extra cost.

The reviewer complained about dampness in their lodge. There is not much we can do about this since the resort is in a heavily forested area on the side of a large river and so is naturally damp. However, this dampness is rarely noticed by our guests and only seems to bother a small fraction of older guests.

Since we are an ecolodge and have left the forest and forest undergrowth with animal and insect habitats largely untouched, the presence of insects is inevitable. We do our best, however, to keep insects out of the lodges themselves, but occasionally they do get the better of us and get into the rooms, especially (as in this case) if guests take food items into teir room). Better lighting and the refurbishment of all our lodges are now being undertaken by the new, more hands-on management.

This new management team (Barnaby, Khamkeun and Om) will continue to upgrade and improve Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge so that it can continue to receive excellent reviews on Trip Advisor.
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Boxtel
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2010

We had a wonderful week at Rivertime, enjoying the Hmong New Year festivals by the end of December. The location of the Rivertime Ecolodge alongside the river was relaxing, the staff very friendly and we had a pleasant stay in our bungalow, with a great veranda with river view. The well shaded cool bungalow was clean and equipped with hot shower in a Japanese style bathroom. There is a choice of two restaurants on the premises, with good Lao and Thai food. The floating swimming pool, adjacent to the floating restaurant, is refreshing and exiting.
We had adventurous tours discovering the (Hmong) culture on both sides of the Nam Gum River. The bikes for the tour were provided for free by the eco lodge. We enjoyed the nature trails in the nearby Nature reserve Poo Kow Khuai. The Rivertime staff is very helpful in organising several tours overland or on the river.
The free WiFi in the whole resort and PCs at the reception were a great service for staying in contact with “home” and other travellers.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Perth
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2010

Stayed just 2 nights. You could feel the stress just melt away in the beautiful surroundings. Very honest too - we left our credit cards behind and they contacted us and dropped them off at our Vientiane hotel.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge

Address: Ban Thadokkam, Vientiane, Laos
Location: Laos > Vientiane Province > Vientiane
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 173 B&Bs / Inns in Vientiane
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a riverside ecolodge resort only 30 km outside of Vientiane which offers a true taste of rural Lao life but with most of the comforts of home. We have a floating restaurant on the river and offer a range of activities such as local village tours, tubing, cooking classes, massage, a sauna nearby, boat trips, fishing, free bicycles etc. We do our best to live in harmony with both the local people and the surrounding forest. We also donate $2 per guest night to local education and community projects. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Rivertime Resort And Ecolodge Hotel Vientiane
Rivertime Hotel And Ecolodge
Rivertime Hotel Vientiane

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