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“Two Different Experiences - Both Excellent”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Mekong Estate

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Mekong Estate
Ranked #37 of 69 Hotels in Luang Prabang
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
111 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 168 helpful votes
“Two Different Experiences - Both Excellent”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 10, 2012

This review is longish because it covers two different apartment opportunities under the Mekong Estate banner. Their website is not entirely clear to the uninitiated.
We spent three weeks with the Mekong Estate in early 2012. Most of the time we were at the Ban Saylom location in the south end of Luang Prabang, about 8 minutes by bicycle (faster by tuk tuk) to the centre of the Historic Zone. We spent three days as well right in the centre of town at their Vat Nong Downtown triplex.
At Ban Saylom we stayed in Bamboo 3, which is a one bedroom teak wood apartment on the lower floor of a modern two storey house. It was a delight. The apartment was large and featured a wall of floor to ceiling glass doors overlooking the Mekong and affording a splendid view of the sunset every evening. The bedroom was big with lots of closet space, air conditioning/heating, and a room safe.
There was a small kitchenette, enough to cook up something light but you wouldn’t use it to construct Christmas Dinner. We found that restaurant eating was so good and so inexpensive in Luang Prabang that it really didn’t make sense to waste holiday time cooking. Or it’s easy to arrange for prepared food to be brought in, either from a restaurant or from a local cook.
One of the big plusses at Ban Saylom is that the owners live on site. They are on top of every little thing and quick to solve problems. Our housekeeper was a woman called Mit (pronounced MEAT) and she was terrific. She brought us a breakfast every morning (we set the time) and she cleaned the room every day. She was pleasant and enthusiastic. Our breakfast, by the way, was orange juice, eggs, a variety of breads and croissants, jam, fresh fruit and coffee/tea. But they accommodate your tastes.
The whole complex is situated on a sweeping stretch of lawn overlooking the Mekong. At one end there is a long modern infinity-style swimming pool about three lanes wide. So you can swim lengths if you want. It is deep, there is no shallow end.
The complex by the way is located in a working class area of town and you will get an eyeful of how people live as you make your way to and from the Historic Area. Local life revolves around the huge Phosey Market, to which you can walk, and where you can pick up fresh fruit or vegetables for a song.
There are regular fresh flowers in your apartment, free 4:00 p.m. drinks and treats by the pool several times a week, one day laundry service (very inexpensive), and the use of free bicycles.
In summary this location would be ideal for someone seeking peace and quiet, with a pool and luxurious accommodation.
If you want to be closer to the action, then you might prefer the Vat Nong location which is right down in the heart of the Historic Area. As I say, we were there several nights. It is a very different experience. There are three townhouse units, each with a downstairs living room and kitchen and bathroom/shower, and an upstairs bedroom with bathroom and shower. There is a balcony overlooking the street off the bedroom. You can just see the Mekong off to the left.
Being downtown these units are smaller and less luxurious than the Ban Saylom apartments but are still very spiffy. You get the same food and cleaning and bicycle arrangements, but of course there is no pool. The advantage here is that you can walk out your door at 6:00 a.m. and join the alms-giving ceremonies with the monks in a few seconds. Or just troll around town doing whatever you want. People staying here are invited to use the pool at the other location if they want, and I saw several guests doing exactly that. I assume they came by tuk tuk. (don’t pay more than 10,000 Kip per person).
My wife wants to go back to the busier downtown location, I want to return to the quieter spot. A decision must be made.

Room Tip: Ask for an apartment that Mit is responsible for. She is a great housekeeper.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank Marathonwinner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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178 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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VITORIA
Level Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 1, 2012

I stayed 4 nights at Mekong State with my girlfriend in August 2011. I have to say it is the best place I could see at Luang Prabang for staying. It is located in a very quiet area just beside the Mekong River. The views are wonderful. Having the delicious breakfast every morning looking at the Mekong was a dream. And the swimming pool is really good for Luang Prabang as It is very hot. There are very few hotels with Swiming Pool at Luang Prabang.You can choose differtent types of rooms depending on the price you can pay. All of them have views to the river. It is located just 10 - 15 minutes walking from the city center, and with a Tuk-Tuk you can get in three minutes for a very cheap price. It has not got restaurant, but they have an agreement with some restaurants who bring the food quickly if you want. I have to say thank you to all the team at Mekong State for their hospitality, mainly to the French Woman who helped us a lot as my girlfriend was two days in bed with flu. Many thanks for everything.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank FOFITO76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MekongEstate, Public Relations Manager at Mekong Estate, responded to this review, February 6, 2012
Thank you to encourage travelers to stay in Luang Prabang during summer. No monsoons in Laos but you’re right it’s hot (30 C) and some like hot…nobody is perfect. The locals call it the Green Season because it’s raining mostly after sunset and everyone can enjoy deep blue sky at day time. The Mekong Estate infinity-pool is a must in Luang Prabang. Unesco don’t allow swimming-pool in the heritage area. Mekong Estate also provide accommodation in the Heritage area: Duplex Downtown and Reader’s House (the residents can use the pool on request).
Catering is available at all the Mekong Estate Residences and it’s really appreciate to feel the privilege of being served at home.
Also important to point that is better to stay in a kind of family running residence when some day we aren’t feeling well.
We’ll be pleased to welcome you at Mekong Estate again and longer. We wish you nice trips in 2012.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
203 reviews
120 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 28, 2011

The hotel has 2 sites, we stayed near the river. Room big, lovely decor and old wooden floors etc really beautiful. Staff friendly and try their best, We stayed garden room first floor and a friend in jewel second floor. the jewel suite was amazing, really lovely interconnecting rooms. Breakfast served every day by the pool (pool too cold to swim in as unheated and LP is cool in December!) and the hotel is in a little Village about 5 mins tuk tuk from town, The big fancy hotels are out of town and we prefered to be close to the markets etc. We visited the other site they have in town- nice rooms, decor a little dark but again lots of beautiful wood and traditional touches. Both sites child free. lovely river views too.
Improvements- breakfast was lovely but exactly the same every day, more choices would be really nice. Also IPOD docks would be great as we had trouble connecting ours up. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: book both jewel suites or 2 apartments in the town site and you can have interconnecting rooms and m...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank schemie2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MekongEstate, Public Relations Manager at Mekong Estate, responded to this review, February 7, 2012
Mekong Estate Residence has 4 locations in Luang Prabang city. All the villas and apartments with services have a view on the Mekong River. You stayed in Sunset House at Ban Saylom Riverside by the pool. To leave in the heart of the Heritage City book at Duplex Downtown or the Reader’s House with its tropical private garden, better choice for family with children.
Thank you for your suggestions. Next time, feel free to ask the staff to get different breakfast; we even serve Lao breakfast on request (rice soup). IPOD docks, notebook, mobile phone are provided on request (see the in-room guest book).
Don’t hesitate to ask we’ll do our best to make your dream a reality but don’t forget that we are in Laos a place faraway from the modern world.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2011

My partner and I and our two children stayed in the Sunset House (2nd floor) for approximately one week in mid-November. This is a pretty spectacular property. The second floor alone consists of (1) a huge master bedroom and bath, with a balcony overlooking the Mekong River and the beautiful pool; (2) a huge entrance area, where you could actually host a reception party; (3) a large second bedroom with two full size beds, including a separate bath and toilet area; and (4) a large office with daybed, also with a balcony overlooking the Mekong. This is not a traditional hotel. But there is a woman on staff who will cook, clean and sew for you on request. They will also gladly book you various trips (e.g., boat rides, etc.)

It is a rather opulent residence amongst the poor of Luang Prabang. So you go down a rather bumpy dirt road to get to the residence, with a view to a number shanty homes, chickens and dogs. Don't let that turn you off. It's a wonderful way to see and hear the real Luang Prabang, not the upscale hotels further in town. You get to see and meet wonderful children and families. The only negative, but this is throughout Luang Prabang, is that the locals cook over burning wood. The air can get thick at times.

You are served a breakfast of eggs, fresh breads, croissants (the best I have ever had, even in Paris, period!!), fruit, etc. I might suggest they add a little Muesli or other cereal for variety. We took bikes everyday (offered for free) into and around town. Too far really to walk to the center of town, but an easy 10 minute bicycle ride. All in all, I would not stay anywhere else in Luang Prabang. Period.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Georg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
Level Contributor
17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 21, 2011

My partner and I stayed here for one week recently. I booked following the reviews here for two reasons - it looked like a nice place, and it appeared to be very quiet and peaceful.

On arrival we were picked up at the airport. They provide this service free of charge and this is a big plus. When we got to the Estate (the main one down by the river), it was all very nice. I had booked the Jade Suite, and whilst everything that the website says about it is correct, it does not mention that it is actually the bottom floor of a two storey building, with a permanent residence above it. More to follow.

Anyway we settled in and it was indeed very nice inside. A nice living area, impressive kitchen, nice bedroom (the bed was slightly small, but no big deal) and a great private terrace. Breakfast was served every morning on the terrace and it was very good. Fresh fruit, eggs as you like them and ample fresh breads/croissants. There was good wi-fi, easily strong enough to catch up with work when required, and the swimming pool is very nice as described on the website.

We were specifically looking for a quiet, reaxing holiday however, so the biggest issue we had was the NOISE! As I said, factually the Jade Suite is correctly described in the website, but I had maybe assumed it was a stand alone unit. One of the joint owners (I think) lives upstairs however. Whilst not deliberately noisy, we could hear the thump thump thump of footsteps and fairly loud, distinct telephone conversations well into the evening (easily beyond 11pm). If you discount the full-of-backpackers bowling alley and nightclub, there is nothing in Luang Prabang after about 11pm, and we would have liked some earlier nights in bed. This would not have been such a problem was it not for the cacophony that gets going sometime just before 6am. Not only an assortment of animals (which is nature and cannot be avoided), but also the big house boat thing on the river just outside that started work at the same time. I don't know what they were doing, but there was all manner of mechanical clunking and scraping sounds. This was what disappointed me the most. I had wrongly assumed the "Jewel in the Crown" would be a bit more peaceful than this.

A couple of other niggles - quite often there were not enough bicycles available. It's nice that this place is out of the main part of town, but without a bike you have to walk up to the main road and then you may or may not be lucky and get a passing Tuk Tuk. Bicycle is definately the best way to get around the town itself though. We also did not experience the really friendly nature of the place that many others seemed to have. A lot of reviews mention the "smiling Mr Kamphanh" and his warm welcome. I don't think we saw him the whole time we were there, unless he was the less than friendly and certainly not smiling gentleman who took the balance of our payment on our last day. I do experience judgemental attitudes on my travels as I have a Thai partner (even though she is long term and about the same age), but I don't know if this was the case.

Overall, Mekong Estate is a nice set up. I can't really fault the decor, furnishings, facilities etc, and you do get great views over the Mekong. I was just really disappointed that it couldn't provide the relaxation I was looking for (I live and work in the constant bustle of Bangkok), and that to us it just didn't have that special welcoming feel that other reviewers seem to have experienced. As I said though, physically it is pretty nice.

If I returned to Luang Prabang I would probably try somewhere else, but if I did return to Mekong Estate, I certainly would not pay the premium for Jade Suite.

Room Tip: Suggest one slightly back from the river, as it may be more quiet.
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank AndyL30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2011

My wife and I were in the Bamboo Suite #3 and we had an amazing time. The room overlooks the Mekong River and is part of an estate that is very quiet and very pretty. The staff was extremely friendly and while the location wasn't a short walking distance to the main part of town, we always were able to find a tuk tuk within a few minutes of walking out of the property. Overall, we would highly recommend this location to anyone who is looking for a relaxing and romantic time in Luang Prabang.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank samboy1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 18, 2011

We stayed at the Duplex Vat Nong with our 11-year-old twins. The location was fantastic & we could just walk out the door and wander from one end of the Luang Prabang peninsula to the other.
We took full advantage of the bikes at the duplex too, riding to the main Estate to take in the stunning Mekong River views, to swim in that gorgeous pool and to chat with Khamphanh, the owner - just the loveliest man!
The service is so personal that it makes regular quality hotel service look positively lacklustre. You are genuinely made to feel very special during your stay. We absolutely loved the experience!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Leisa2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mekong Estate

Property: Mekong Estate
Address: Ban Saylom | Mekong River Bank, Luang Prabang 06000, Laos
Location: Laos > Luang Prabang Province > Luang Prabang
Amenities:
Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Family Hotel in Luang Prabang
#7 Romantic Hotel in Luang Prabang
#8 Spa Hotel in Luang Prabang
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Mekong Estate 3.5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mekong Estate lives up to its name with five stately Lao-colonial style villas, all with a stunning vista of the majestic Mekong River and mountains. Each of the property's 10 well-appointed rooms and suites has a river view, private terrace and kitchen, and is designed to be your home away from home. Founded in 2005 as the first residence service in Luang Prabang, guests get to discover a local atmosphere and home-style comfort, an experience unparalleled to staying at a hotel in town. The rooms boast ample space, light, character and charm. Spacious living extends to the outdoors with verandas, immaculate tropical gardens, a 25m long swimming pool and of course, the property's namesake river. Quite simply, we have the best view of the Mekong in Luang Prabang; watch the world drift by and let time stand still. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mekong Estate Luang Prabang

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