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All reviews la folie mekong river explore the island air con wooden bungalows swimming pool assistant manager free bikes three nights hotel boat water buffalo bike ride bolaven plateau beautiful place lovely staff tuk tuk don daeng
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Reviewed February 14, 2019

La Folie is a magical place. For starters, to get away to a small island in the middle of the Mekong is very romantic. The boat that takes you over is not just a form of transport, but it is transporting in itself -- a passage that sets the mood for being on the island and away from the modern world. The hotel is fully modern itself -- good showers, air conditioning that works, a lovely swimming pool -- but you are still somehow part of this other world once you arrive on Don Daeng. The hotel opened in 2007 (?) approximately and is owned by a Frenchman. But they employ 45 people from the island to work in the hotel. On our arrival we took a 13 km bike ride around the island, passing through the several of the small villages on the island. Everything seemed to move at a quiet pace. The bikes are free at the hotel. They are beach bikes with no gears, but the island is flat so that is fine. The path around the island is sandy in places and it can be hard to pedal through the sand at times, but we walked where we had to, and otherwise the bike ride is a not to be missed experience of seeing island life. At one point three cows crossed the dirt road and kept us waiting for several minutes while they lumbered across.
The rooms at La Folie are pretty simple -- natural materials, dark wood, a large bedroom with a good sized bathroom. There is a lovely private porch (you can't see your neighbor's porch) and you can look out over the Mekong River to the mountains on the mainland and watch the sun set. The shower is not fancy -- it is plastic insert type shower, the beds are a bit hard, and our safe didn't work, but really it is such a lovely place and the environment is so unique, these things just didn't matter. Two rooms share a common bungalow -- and you can sometimes hear your neighbor -- but I could just hear the sound of voices, not whole conversations. We stayed in Bungalow 1 & 2 (with our friends next door) this is the bungalow closest to the pool and the main reception area. There are 6 (2 room) bungalows on each side of the reception area for a total of 24 rooms. It wasn't noisy at all when we were there in January, but I think it would be preferable to stay further away from the pool area. I swam twice in the pool and it was a great way to both relax and get exercise.
The one thing that I would say is that the food was truly terrible. I know others may disagree on this point. The first night we ordered from the Laotian menu. I had the Pad Thai and it was the worst I have ever had even comparing it to US food. Way too heavily sauced and almost inedible. My friends also found their food not to be good. The appetizers were better than the main courses. The next night we decided to try the western menu hoping it would be better, but it was also not good. The tomato salad had no flavor, the spaghetti with tomato sauce was well below average. Breakfasts you order from their menu. Our first day I had pancakes and they were quite good. Feeling that was the safe thing to order I tried it again the next morning but it was thick and uncooked in the middle. So I hate to complain about a little piece of heaven -- and I would go back for everything else La Folie had to offer -- but they really do need (in my opinion) to get a new chef.

Date of stay: January 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank HollyR56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SylvainBeaupoil, Manager at La Folie Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 19, 2019

Dear HollyR56,

Thank you for your very detailled review, we are pleased to read that you (almost fully) enjoyed your experience at La Folie. Please accept our sincere apologies regarding the food, we usually get great feedback regarding our pad thai (thaught by Thai chef yes!).

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Reviewed January 29, 2019

Our stay at La Folie Lodge was a complete delight. We arrived by hotel boat from Champasak, gliding gently across the Mekong, then by tractor across white sand to the hotel. The restaurant is a sala type construction, airy and cool and serves delicious food and drink all day and evening. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff who are attentive, extremely competent and shyly friendly. The accommodation is in stylish bungalows on stilts, made of traditional materials, which fit subtly into the landscape of the island. Nothing is higher than the tree line. The rooms are charming, dark wooden floors, extremely comfortable beds with fresh, crisp bedding and roomy bathrooms with good quality towels. All the rooms have balconies overlooking the Mekong, with comfortable chairs to while away time looking at water buffalo grazing, boats quietly pottering up and down the river. Air con and an overhead fan give restful sleeps. The swimming pool is sparkling clean and somehow never full even when the hotel is busy. Mature gardens are full of interesting plants and trees (some with labels) and there's a vegetable garden across a track that provides much of the fresh food for the restaurant. The hotel is involved with the island community and it's fun to cycle through small villages on sandy tracks, no cars! An amazing experience, probably the loveliest hotel we've been to in South East Asia.

Date of stay: January 2019
2  Thank Harrier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SylvainBeaupoil, Manager at La Folie Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for this excellent review. We are very glad to read that you had an amazing experience. Thank you also for mentioning our involvement with the island community, it is very important.

"probably the loveliest hotel we've been to in South East Asia": I will have this printed for our team, thank you so much!

Warm Regards,

Sylvain

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Reviewed January 29, 2019

I’ve just left La Folie after my third visit. Its charm has drawn me back! Champasak itself is a lovely, sleepy jewel on the bank of the Mekong and La Folie sits just across the river on Don Daeng island. From the first moment, being taken on one of the ‘La Folie’ boats across to the island, the feeling is of being transported into a world of old-fashioned simple luxury, This is the only ‘hotel’ on this island of ten villages. It is actually a series of wooden guest bungalows overlooking the river and a cool and tastefully-styled central restaurant area, sitting terrace with loungers around a decent-sized swimming pool. The room was relatively simple yet stylish, and nicely furnished, with a balcony, with chairs and a table, overlooking the river. The bed was comfortable, sheets and towels fresh and air conditioning quietly efficient. The staff are welcoming and utterly charming. The level of service and attention to guests needs, the quality of the food and the way the lodge is in keeping with its island environment is what makes La Folie special. There doesn’t seem to be an intrusion on the simple pastoral life of the island, and it’s a privilege to be able to stay in relative comfort and, if one chooses, walk or cycle - cycles are provided - around the island to get a sense of the daily life and enjoy the scenery. Boats are always available to ferry guests across to Champasak for lunch, for sightseeing, including to the splendid Wat Pho ruin. It’s not a budget experience but one that will remain a highpoint for the discerning traveller. I hope to be back.

Date of stay: January 2019
2  Thank Ralph D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2019

The La Folie Lodge is a beautiful boutique hotel. Its location is unique, on an island in the river Mekong.
The rooms are nice chalets with a beautiful view over the river. There is no minibar and we had only one bedside table. The bathroom would need an upgrade, the shower is very basic. We had only two thin shower towels, no hand towels, no washcloths, and only basic amenities. The washbasin only has cold water. For the price one pays a bit disappointing. The curtain in the room needed mending.
The restaurant is nice, a big covered terrace with a view over the pool and the Mekong.
Breakfast was basic, nothing special at all. Dinner was very good as we only tried Lao food. This was always freshly prepared and delicious.
The service was, except the second evening, really bad. We understood that they employ local people to give them a job opportunity, but there should be some kind of Chef de Service, someone competent who is in charge.
Three to five employees standing behind or near the bar, chatting and laughing or hanging around. In the meantime, the guests left alone. Dirty tables from lunch or from afternoon snacks, full ashtrays. Nobody came to take the guests drinks or dinner orders. Nobody cared for more than half an hour until we complained. This happened every late afternoon.
It is the only place on the island where the guests can have food and drinks, so one has not really much choice.

There is the possibility of hiring cycles. We made all the recommended cycle tours on the island which was lovely, interesting and fun. We could see the daily life of the people there, which were all very friendly.

Date of stay: February 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank catztravelling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SylvainBpl, Manager at La Folie Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 27, 2019

Dear catztravelling,
Thank you for your feedback related to your stay in February 2018. Although we do not recall such incident, we are obviously sorry to hear that you had a bad experience.
We have done our best to improve the quality of service for the past seasons and we hope this is reflected in more recent reviews.
Also, the Lodge is not the only restaurant on the island, as highlighted on the island map we offer upon check-in.
Should you come back to Southern Laos, please do get in touch with us. We hope you will give us another chance.
Best Regards,
Sylvain

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Reviewed January 8, 2019 via mobile

Great place clean and well maintained. Friendly especially Bee who fixed any minor issues. Lovely room and hard to fault. Will definately recommend to anyone. Only one suggestion wouls be to put small fridge in each room. Well done Bee and La Folie

Date of stay: January 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
1  Thank Dreamer123456789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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