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“Beautiful nature resort with some minor lackings” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort

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Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   082, Ban Xieng Lom, Luang Prabang, Laos   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Ban Xieng Lom
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16 reviews 16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Beautiful nature resort with some minor lackings”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2014

We spent 4 nights/ 5 days with our 11month old son in a Villa Bungalow at this Resort by getting the special offer to only pay for three nights. The pick up from the airport was included and went very well. The villas are very nice, comfortable and luxury with a huge balcony. It was very quiet with beautiful nature around (the resort area is quiet big with nice walk possibilities). Although the ways to the reception and restaurant can be quite long. It is also far away from the town Luang Prabang, but they arrange taxi for 20 US$ (one way) or take you for free when the staff is going to town anyway. But there are also some things to complain about, for a resort with such high prices. Although everything was very clean, they lack some service like room service, baby cots or baby high chairs at the restaurant. Also as it can get pretty cold here, hot water at the bathroom would be nice (don't worry, the very nice outdoor shower has hot water of cause!). There is no telephone to call for somebody and the restaurant seems to be understaffed, as only one (very friendly guy) is in charge of everything related to service. The pool area is small and the pool was to cold to swim at this time of the year (January). The dishes at the restaurant are the only possibility to get food here and it is a bit expensive, but very good in taste and overall worth the price. Related to the very big size of the villas, the two poor monkeys sitting in a very small cage at the entrance should be relocated, either back to nature or to a bigger (villa-) cage....

Room Tip: The villas are all located at the same spot and do not differ much I guess. There is one bungalow fa...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
indianajone27, Owner at Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort, responded to this review, February 17, 2014
Dear guest, thank you to take time to give us your comments regarding our resort we very appreciated. Regarding the monkeys I don't know what to do or what to said more. I rescue them from maltreatment and I exceed the recommendation made by the Florida State in USA regarding the size of the cage. They are in the cage for there protection otherwise they will be hunted and they will be eaten!
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118 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2014

We checked into this hotel yesterday for a 4 night stay. On arriving it was immediately evident that this hotel is totally unsuitable for anyone other than the extremely fit and able bodied. My mothers room was down a very steep and slippery gravel path. Even my own roo was reached via 87 very uneven steps. The so called natural swimming pool is more like a pond with a trick layer of algae coating the floor rendering it completely unusable by my mother and Aunt. The French owner of the hotel was extremely rude and unhelpful and even though we were forced to check out after only one night charged us the full US$800 plus the food we consumed for dinner which took over an hour to arrive. The owner could not have cared less about our situation and offered no help whatsoever. I have never been treated so badly in a hotel. We have now changed hotels costing us an addition US$1,000. Quite frankly I am left speechless by the hotel owners total lack of compassion or concern. I will pursue our refund with vigour as this hotel is totally misrepresented by its website. In addition there are only two shuttles per day into Luang Prabang unless you wish to pay US$20 each way. Dinner took over an hour to be served. The only good thing I can say is that the hotel has a lovely dog called Kapan, however, I don't feel it's appropriate for him to be begging from the tables while you eat dinner. Oh and one more thing....the captive monkeys in the small cage was an absolute disgrace.

Room Tip: Stay somewhere else!
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
indianajone27, Owner at Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort, responded to this review, February 17, 2014
Dear Guest...

I am sorry that you have felt this way and have expressed it so negatively. Such comments like those you have offered can often be as good as the excellent comments we have hitherto received (92% found the resort Excellent to Very Good). We find the other types of comments, though somewhat exaggerated in your case, very useful as we are always trying to improve the experience offered to our guests. 
 
However perhaps it was not clear from your understanding of the website  but this is nothing like a Holiday Inn with heated swimming pool and boutique delights. And I would like to stress, if our accommodation didn't fit you wishes, this is quite alright. Though my Laotian wife and myself have attempted to create a resort with character it will naturally not be suitable for everyone, which sadly was the case with you and your mother. 

I am sorry about this but also feel sorry that you were unable to understand our situation. We are actually in middle of the Chinese New Year and all our rooms were booked long in advance that we had to  refuse other bookings.  Secondly we did offer you a free upgrade to a villa; the accommodation we offered your mother and aunt was 75 meters from the dining/ living room with a gentle slop of 20% degrees. Most of our guests have found this a pleasant location.

Other comments like on the swimming pool are actually distortions. Whether you call it a 'pond' or not is a cultural bias; we prefer to speak about an ecological swimming pool and I am very proud of its condition. I am not sure how you ascertained it was slippery as I don't think you got in the water. I admit the the water is cold at this time of the year but there isn't much we can do about that. 

I quite appreciate that the resort didn't fit your expectations but perhaps it was for other reasons. We did have 3 families with 7 children in all and this can be inconvenient for elderly people and younger men. Also your request for shuttles or the feeling of beng trapped in the resort is also a misperception; we always state WE ARE 20 minutes from the city. 
 
What can I say more!  We don't sell the museum of Luang Prabang, the Temples or the Night Market, instead we promote the outdoor, the nature of Laos which is not found in the middle of town. Regarding the step certainly health conditions can make this more difficult but again there were options to take the room next to your mother.

I was and consider myself very polite ( i am from Quebec, Canada) and I told you that we always respect the cancellation policy that is agreed when booking. It has happened to me and I subsequently paid and we did offer you a free taxi for your return besides the chance to change rooms. I prefer to ignore the other comments regarding monkeys, dog, services etc.. as they seem part of the biased picture you have now formed against us.
 
Again I am sorry our resort did not meet up to your expectations. But I suggest a hint if ever you are not sure, especially when travelling in this part of the world; why not book for one day and after if you like it, you can stay more!
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Brooklyn, New York
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

I have never written an unfavorable review before but wanted to say that all the previous reviews might set your expectations a bit high...For one, the caged-up monkeys next to the lobby area didn't seem so Zen.

The main highlight of the place is the view really. The hotel is isolated which may inconvenience trips to town (especially for meals outside). The drive to the hotel was pretty terrifying due to road conditions and speeding issues. Further, the drivers were constantly scamming us.

The bungalow rooms with patios look lovely though the shower was mildewy. The "Superior" rooms don't have ceilings, which might be great during hot months, but definitely not if it's cold out. The mountain is already quite cool, and without heating, the room was unbearably cold. This open-air aspect means that you can hear people talking from the adjacent buildings.

I found the prices were quite high considering the accommodations. There appeared to be only 1 concierge working all day everyday and this was during the high season. The guy clearly had multiple jobs at the hotel meaning that reception services were limited.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
indianajone27, Owner at Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort, responded to this review, February 5, 2014
Dear guest, Like one of our client write this resort it's definitely not for people looking for Holiday Inn style accommodation and we don't want to match with Mc Donald restaurant service. In fact like 92% of other guest we are Excellent to good on what we offer & provide sorry that just you choose the wrong place for your stay. Regarding the monkeys in the cage I save them from a terrible condition I already explain this in a previous answer to one of our guest. What it's more Zen... Protect those monkeys or let them free and be kill by villager or hunter to be eat for dinner! It's sad but all around it's dead forest because it's was over hunted... Will take generation before it will come to normal.

PS I found very funny your title and I hope your comment will help people to choose the right place for their vacation.
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Berlin, Germany
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2014

Zen Namkhan is best spot to start discovering the beautiful area around Luang Prabang: trecks, kayak, elephants, villages. Even not to far from Luang Prabang itself, if You want to take a daily ride of 20 min there and back. The hosts offer free rides almost every day. Alternative option is scooter or taxi (20 US$). Very friendly stuff, very good food. I loved it!

Room Tip: Honey Moon Suite is best - connected the the place only by a bamboo bridge and next to the river.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
indianajone27, Owner at Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort, responded to this review, January 30, 2014
Dear Holger, it's was a pleasure to have you with your friends at the resort and to share with you the beauty of Laos. What a great day in kayak we had! Thank to take the time to give us your feed back about your stay with us. Hope to see you again here or in Berlin, soon! Cheers
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Manila, Philippines
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2014

Amazing Place! Truly heaven on earth! It's been a year since i stayed, but I still think about it everyday. It's hard to get out once you're inside this Resort because 1. It's too relaxing & beautiful 2. Everything is just so far away and there is no sense in going out because everything is just mediocre compared to the view and peace Zen Namkhan has to offer. Truth is it is challenging to get in and out of this place, but it is worth it!

My favorite parts at Zen Nam Khan:

1. Awesome breakfast fit for a queen overviewing the mountains
2. Taking open-air showers over looking the River
3. Their Cute Golden Lab
4. Awesome massage in their spa at the middle of the mountain
5. Relaxing mid-day river canoe ride (ahhh so much peace)
6. Staff that go out of your way to make your stay great!

Please take note that you will really feel nature's presence when you stay here. The hiking to and from one amenity to the other, lots of insects everywhere. But what do you expect? You're at the mountain!

Room Tip: They give you an upgrade when their occupancy is low!
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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indianajone27, Owner at Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort, responded to this review, January 29, 2014
Dear Katya G! This is one of the most nice compliment we had. Thank you to share with us your appreciation of the resort. Now Copain have 3 friends! (3 cats) you must see them sleeping side by side! Thank again for your comments and I am please you didn't forget us;))
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Pakse, Laos
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2014

This is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy peace and quiet and solitude. Luc and Moon are wonderful hosts and they have a great staff, especially Khamsaen who will help you with all of your needs.
I spent three nights here with a buddy, we wanted to go into town and Moon gave us a lift into Luang Prabang and picked us up in the afternoon.
If you get the chance to experience the Luang Prabang province, this is a spa to consider. You are right on the Namkhan river and only a short distance from an elephant village or a trekk into a remote village.
Merci, Kob chai, thank you for such a wonderful experience.

Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
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indianajone27, Owner at Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort, responded to this review, January 29, 2014
Dear Guest Hutchabilly! Thank you write your first comment of a hotel on TripAdvisor and you are our 100 writers! I like to said my return on investment it's the people I meet and you confirmed. It's was a real pleasure to meet you and your buddy and have this nice talk around the fire!
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Penang Island, Malaysia
Top Contributor
107 reviews 107 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2014

If you don't like walking up a lot of steps each day then this is not the place for you!! The rooms (ours had beautiful views across the river) are some distance from the restaurant and public areas. The breakfast included was very nice. A decent lunch and dinner menu at reasonable prices. My only gripe was the Christmas eveing buffet which was incredibly expensive and not what we wanted to be there for. The hotel is a good half hour taxi journey from the centre of town so you need to plan where you want to eat. Nice places to relax, whether on your own balcony or beside the pool. Rooms were cold though (no heating) as we experienced unseasonably cold weather. Lovely staff.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
indianajone27, Owner at Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort, responded to this review, January 29, 2014
Dear pumpkinIzmir. Thank you to share your impression of the resort we really appreciate your comments and any suggestion are wecome. Best Regards
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Additional Information about Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort

Address: 082, Ban Xieng Lom, Luang Prabang, Laos
Location: Laos > Luang Prabang Province > Luang Prabang > Ban Xieng Lom
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Ban Xieng Lom
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in Luang Prabang at 12 km form the center, it's the perfect place to enjoy the breathtaking on the Namkhan River and mountains. You will be able to enjoy the NamKhan River with a serene boat ride, kayak or Trek around the Resort and Tad Sae Waterfall or doing yoga and meditation. We just finish to built a new steam room next to our swimming pool. The beautiful onsite restaurant offer excellent choice of menus, using ingredients from organic produces like herbs and vegetables. Unwind at the Ecological chlorine-free pool after a tiring day. Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort is a perfect sanctuary for leisure travelers who seek for sophistication within a serene environment. Please note the road to Luang Prabang is under construction. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zen Namkhan Boutique Hotel Ban Xieng Lom
Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort Laos/Luang Prabang

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