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“Heaven right in the middle of expat Purgatory”
Review of Ansara Hotel

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Ansara Hotel
Ranked #5 of 93 Hotels in Vientiane
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 3, 2012

The Ansara was our second choice; our first choice (Khamvongsa) was not available. Our room, #7, was in a corner overlooking the courtyard and therefore it was quiet. Our room was adequate in size and was furnished with a queen bed, desk, chair, low table, porcelain cups, a small electric kettle, complimentary minibar (soft drinks only), foil bags of roasted peanuts, laptop, safe, bathrobes and slippers. The internet connection was quirky; one had to 'fiddle' with the defaults or have the front desk send someone to do it, but once online it was fast and reliable. No problem with the password. The pretty but small bathroom had a shower only. Water pressure and temperature were adequate. The temperature fluctuated during the shower and at the sink; it stayed within the comfort zone in the shower - never too hot or too cold - but the fluctuations were much greater at the sink; if you elected to wash your hair in the sink (the faucet is high and allows this) you should set the mean temperature a little cool to avoid stinging your scalp. The staff were courteous, friendly and helpful. On one morning we tried the breakfast that came with the stay (we limited ourselves to the buffet and declined the offered menus, also complimentary) and found the juices, fruit, milk, fish, cheese, cereal, and croissants to be satisfying. I thought the croissant had a flaky and crispy crust, which was very slightly diminished by staleness in the Vientiane humidity while the inside was light, flaky and very slightly buttery. Overall, I give it a B+. I think (without confirming) that the croissants were made by Le Banneton, and I much preferred to have my breakfast of espresso and croissant at Le Banneton, perhaps because the croissants might be fresher (grade A-, see separate review). I had the espresso twice at the Ansara. Normally I avoid any hotel lobby-located espresso machines and their attendant baristas like a plague, but they used a no nonsense La Pavoni HX espresso machine. Therefore, one day we were delayed from returning to our hotel room because the maids had not finished making up our room (subtle negative point), so we waited in the lobby and I ordered an espresso. The espresso had a thin crema and light body, but these were refreshing and suited to the hot environment (we had just returned from a walk even though the hotel lobby is A/C). The initial taste was mildly lemony but not acidic. Although the body was thin, it had enough chocolaty/roasty flavor to balance the lemony high note. The taste finished with a slight bitterness, also refreshing. The second taste was similar but the chocolate notes became more pronounced. The second cup of espresso that I ordered was to go with our breakfast. The taste had no initial high note, it was the chocolate-roast flavor but it had a nice finish of bitter orange. All-in-all, quite good espresso.
The Ansara is located in the Mixai (Mixay) neighborhood of Vientiane. This seems to be the expat enclave and so it is rife with bars, hotels, guest houses, bars, tour agencies, restaurants, worn-out alcoholic old westerners with their latest Lao girlfriend, motorbike rentals, and bars. It is a two minute walk from the Mekong River, where a large tourist market sets up nightly*. It is right next door to Wat Chan and down the street from Wat Ong Teu. The top twelve restaurants on TripAdvisor are within walking distance (except La Scala, which is near nowhere). Despite being in the center of things, our room was always quiet.
*General Opinion regarding Lao markets: Last century, imperialist countries purchased the affection of their colonials with cheap goods and trinkets. Now the former colonies seem to be getting their revenge. If you prefer to decorate your life with Proof of Travel furnishings, go for it.
General Opinion regarding Getting Around: You can rent a motorbike (despite what the travel sites say) for three times what a pair of bicycles go for and half of what you would pay in Luang Prabang. Paying rock bottom for a 'motosigh' comes with its own caveats: We had to swap our first rental because the rear tire became flat; our second rental did not have working turn signals. The fuel gauge on both bikes did not work; we improvised a dipstick from a piece of trash found on the street. We rode all day on 10,000 Kip worth of gas (about $US 1.25 in 2012). The humid breeze on a motosigh sure beats pedaling in the heat and it expands one's range tenfold. If you are determined to try authentic Lao food (are you sure about this?), your only choices are the 'evening arcade' market or to eat at any Lao restaurant outside of town, away from the tourist areas. Both of these choices require bike or motorbike, since they are beyond walking distance, except if you are staying at the Setha Palace Hotel or a handful of guest houses. See my rant regarding Lao food, if interested. It is appended to every one of my Vientiane restaurant reviews.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank satipatipatti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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269 - 275 of 467 reviews

Reviewed October 2, 2012

I don't really have anything bad to say about this hotel. It was a nice hotel in a quiet street. Excellent location near the riverfront, markets, restaurants and easy walking distance to some great temples like the Wat Sis Saket, Har Phra Keaw. The hotel itself has a peaceful feel with a nice garden and a temple adjacent to it.

But all that aside, I feel the the hotel is significantly overpriced for what you get. The rooms were alright - nothing special, the breakfast very so so, service average. The location is great but its not like they have anything exclusive, plenty of hotels and guesthouses in the same neighborhood.

Now if this hotel was priced say in the $50-65 a night range, I would be raving about it, but at the $100 a night range, I was expecting so much more. I stayed there just for one night and would have been pretty disappointed if I had stayed here longer.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Rajiv K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2012

Stayed here for two nights in August. The room was clean and the hotel staff are friendly. The breakfast selection was fantastic - especially loved the pho. The hotel is well located in the center and it is very close to the night market. This is a comfortable place to stay but it is one of the pricier options in Vientiane. The one thing that bothered us was that the WiFi password was changed daily and we spent quite some time fiddling before we called the front desk and were the told of the change.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Lydia T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2012

Just spent a few nights at this hotel, outstanding in every way, right down to the lap top computer in each guest room. The rooms are beautifully appointed, the service is warm, friendly and efficient. Breakfast was great, while the dinner we had in the restaurant was simply delicious. A great hotel and an enjoyable experience, would not stay anywhere else in Vientiane.

Tom and Sue Ultmann

Room Tip: All rooms are nice
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank tomuPhuket_Thailand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2012

We loved our stay at Ansara.
Rooms decorated with taste, TV, fast internet. All in all the perfect place to enjoy our first stay in Vientiane.
We were very pleased with the staff and did not experience any problem (as I saw in another review).
Ver good hotel!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Paul S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2012

A lovely colonial style hotel in the heart of the city. Just 50m from the boulevard. The staff is friendly and service minded. I loved the breakfast. No swimming pool and no private parking.

Rooms are not big but very comfortable with TV and laptop (but who needs that when in Vientiane)

Their restaurant also served lunch & diner and it looks good but we had lunch at Makphed around the corner.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank ChangNoi1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2012

I almost don't want to say how good this hotel is, in case I can never get in again! We thought everything about it was excellent. We had one of the suites, which was in the Balinese style, including the high pitched ceiling, and a four-poster bed with a mosquito net over it - it's not that you actually need the net, but it was very romantic! The extra touches were really nice - we each got a gift on check-in, a bottle of wine for my husband and a beautiful silk scarf for me - I was really touched. I can't understand what other reviewers mean about the service - it was attentive and thoughtful, but discreet and under-stated, not like all the 'in-your-face' American-style "have a nice day" service that has become the norm now. I thought the staff were charming and gracious - even the gardeners said hello to us every morning on our way to breakfast. I loved this hotel, and I would definitely go back myself and recommend it to others.

Room Tip: If you can afford it, spend a little extra for a suite - they aren't expensive, and they're...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SpencerTed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ansara Hotel

Address: Quai Fa Ngum, Ban Vat Chan, Hom 5 | Muang Chanthabury, Vientiane 0100, Laos
Location: Laos > Vientiane Prefecture > Vientiane
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 93 Hotels in Vientiane
Price Range: $132 - $230 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ansara Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Boutique hotel, opened in mid May 2010. 12 "Savvy" rooms, 1 "Suite Affair" of 46 sqm and 1 "Suitest Escape" of 64 sqm. All fares include in room laptop and free WIFI, soft drinks in mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities. ... more   less 
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