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“Style over substance”
Review of Villa Maly

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Villa Maly
Ranked #10 of 69 Hotels in Luang Prabang
Certificate of Excellence
Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
41 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Style over substance”
Reviewed January 14, 2013

We stayed here over Christmas in the middle of a cycling tour of Laos. This was probably the best standard of accomodation during our whole stay, but ironically, is the one we felt least inclined to return to.

From the moment we arrived (still in cycling gear at the end of a long day on the bikes and all keen for showers and relaxation) we were greeted by a full on marketing "hard sell" by three members of management of what turned out to be overpriced, and poorly executed hotel "special events" for Xmas. Once we had signed up the attention moved away from us and on to the next arrivals. We never heard from the management again all stay. I see from earlier comments, that we were not the first to succumb to this heavy approach, and no doubt we won't be the last.

Anyway, it was Christmas so we were ok with paying for something special - and we thought we would splash out and give the children (six of them in our group of 12) a memorable night as they had done really well on the bike tour thus far. But the boat trip ("2 hours, open bar, places limited, USD25 per head" - which was also charged to 4 of the 6 children, even though none of them were old enough to drink!), was a joke. There only would have been about 40 people on the boat, and only basic drinks (wine and beer principally) on offer, and it took half an hour (remember it was a 2 hour event in total) to take our order and serve us (surely you can open bottles and have poured glasses of bubbly or wine ready to hand out?). A cynic might surmise this helped the profit margin! The dinner itself back at the hotel we discovered did not include drinks (so at USD39 per head was a rip off, particularly when the food arrived very late (after 10pm), was cold and very disappointing).

A show was put on, which resulted in the pool being closed for an afternoon and morning - and the children brought in from the village to contribute a couple of dance numbers looked uncomfortable and had to stand around for much of the evening.

The management staff were very tense and carried clipboards all evening, to add to the all-round non-festive feeling. Little things count, and as one of our party mentioned, it is all very well to hand out santa hats, but when you only give ten out to a table of twelve, two people will inevitably feel left out! Kind of summed up the feeling about the evening.

It was a pity, as the property was quite stylish. Beds were comfortable, although the bathrooms were a bit badly designed and dark. Outside areas were nice enough and the restaurant served a good breakfast. It is a little out of the main town, which is fantastic and relaxed with great food and ambience, particularly along the river. It is possibly because we had such a lovely meal out the following night, which was great value with fine service and cordial hosts, that the contrast to our experience at the Villa Maly "event" became even more sharply focussed.

My suggestion to management is to relax a little bit, back off on the hard sell, and if you are going to do a special event, make it special, execute it professionally and try and make it live up to the costs you charge. It's actually not the price charged that is the issue (we've stayed at more expensive places and paid much more for things over the years around various countries) - it's just that people don't like to feel like they've been sold a dud, and that they've been bullied into it!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NZFam_5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaMaly, General Manager at Villa Maly, responded to this review, January 23, 2013
Dear NZFam_5,
Sunny greetings from Luang Prabang...
I would like to thank you for sharing your feedback with us about your stay at Villa Maly.
You are right about Christmas Party, not all went as well as I had expected. This is the first time that Villa Maly organized such an event for our guests and since all of us wanted it to be perfect, we probably did not realize that we could be pushy. At no time this was our aim, we only needed to know how many people would come so we could organize ourselves.
We have met all our guests upon check out, most of them thanked us for all the effort put into this evening.
Again I agree with you and know that it was far from perfect, and would like to apologize if you did not appreciate evening.
Thanking you again, I wish you a greta year 2013.
Warm regards,

A. de Boynes
Operaitons Manager - Laos
Apple Tree Hospitality : Villa Maly, Kamu Lodge, Nava Mekong
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (102)
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English first
Duluth, Minnesota
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2013

The reviews looked good overall, and when I arrived they had a large signboard on the front desk boasting of their 4.5 star Trip Advisor rating. So they are obviously doing a good job at getting a high rating. But I'm not sure it's deserved.

I paid extra for a deluxe room on the second floor, and it was pretty small, had hard pillows and the bathroom was somewhat dysfunctional. I wonder what the standard room is like. If it's not any smaller I'd say save your money and spend it on a nice dinner or souvenir. In my room toilet area was walled off in a way that if you are very tall or heavyset, you will press your right knee against the wall when you sit. In the dark you have to do gymnastics to reach the toilet.

Outside the room things get better. The location is away from noisy traffic but close enough to walk to the sites. The grounds are pretty and the pool was very popular although I didn't see it up close. The included breakfast was nothing special.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CJ_MinneMan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaMaly, General Manager at Villa Maly, responded to this review, January 21, 2013
Dear CJ MinneMan,
Sunny greetings from Luang Prabang...
I am sorry to read that we did not meet your expectations during your stay with us. With regards to our rooms, we have 4 different buildings with different lay outs in our rooms. Probably, we could have found a more suitable room for you.
I hope that you will not be deterred from re-selecting Villa Maly for your next stay in Luang Prabang and that you will grant us the opportunity to demonstrate a higher quality of Service.
In the meantime, I wish you a great new year 2013.
Warm regards,
A. de Boynes
Operations Manager - Laos
Apple Tree properties: Villa Maly, Nava Mekong, Kamu Lodge.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
47 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed January 10, 2013 via mobile


This hotel has a great location. It is very close to town yet is quiet. We had a room overlooking the pool which I really enjoyed. It was especially nice to look down onto the pool and the main villa at night or in the early morning. The rooms were very comfortable and attractive.
The breakfast buffet had a nice selection of items to please many palates and we felt the other meals we had there were very good (we only had asian dishes).
We loved the staff. Everyone was always cheerful and helpful.
My greatest complaint is the bathrooms. They are incredibly dark. The only mirror was in the bathroom and the light was so low that it was impossible to either shave or put on make-up. I would suggest better lighting in the bathroom and an additional mirror in the room itself.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Chercut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaMaly, General Manager at Villa Maly, responded to this review, January 21, 2013
Dear Chercut,
First and foremost, I would like to wish you a great new year 2013.
Many thanks for taking some of your time to write about your experience at Villa Maly. It is always a pleasure to read that our guests enjoyed their stay with us.
I look forward to welcoming you again in the future.
Warm regards,
A. de Boynes
Operations Manager
Apple Tree properties: Villa Maly, Kamu Lodge, Villa Maly
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leiden, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
369 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2013

We stayed in Villa Maly for 2 night with the family. On arrival on the airport the pickup service was not there. Our name sign was there but no driver, we called the hotel and we had to wait an other 20 minutes. The lay out and decoration of the hotel is really gorgeous. Though reading the reviews after we have been there for two nights, the service is rather 'Laotian'. The number of beds around the pool is too few, the breakfast buffet is rather poor, the room are not small but too full of gorgeous furniture. The bathrooms are again very nicely designed though far from practical. Adding this all up, I think the hotel is over priced, though given the fact that no back packers will stay here, the hotel will be given the benefit of the doubt.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ch B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaMaly, General Manager at Villa Maly, responded to this review, January 21, 2013
Dear Ch B,
I would like to wish you a great year 2013 and thank you for sharing your experience at Villa Maly.
It is always important to us to receive feedback that keep us thinking and working on how to improve our guests' experience.
I hope that you will not be deterred from re-selecting Villa Maly for your next trip to Luang Prabang and that you will grant us the opportunity to demonstrate a higher quality of service.
Warm regards,
A. de Boynes
Operations Manager
Apple Tree properties: Villa Maly, Kamu Lodge, Nava Mekong.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darlington, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2013 via mobile

We stayed at Villa Maly for 4 nights in November as part of a 4 centre trip and it helped provide the most relaxing part of our holiday. This was a combination of the peaceful hotel location (but only 10 mins walk to main areas), relaxing pool area and delightful Luang Prabang. We had a room on the first floor which was very well presented with a pool view. Slight drawbacks of the room were lack of drawers and the bathroom, whilst looking interesting was not very practical in terms of dim lighting and layout. The shower had no door and the sink was an urn which was too close to the toilet. This however, would not prevent me from staying in this same room again.

We only ate breakfast at the hotel as we ate lunch and dinner in some of the many lovely restaurants LP has to offer. Variety and standard of breakfast was good but perhaps not excellent compared to the other hotels on our trip which is in line to some of the other reviews posted.

We found the local staff very friendly and helpful, particularly the bar staff who would make a real effort to say hello and help in any way they could. Just to comment on another review, we were not pestered once to join an organised trip at the hotel.

In summary, we really enjoyed our stay and would not hesitate in recommending or returning to Villa Maly. If the small points above were addressed, I would definitely rate it as a 5 star. Also, LP is a must visit for anyone who loves SE Asia and would like a laid back alternative to a beach holiday with great restaurants, beautiful architecture, cafes and also as a base for day trips in the surrounding area.

Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Katanambu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaMaly, General Manager at Villa Maly, responded to this review, January 21, 2013
Dear Katanambu,
Sunny greetings from Luang Prabang...
Many thanks for leaving this message about your stay at Villa Maly.
I wish you a fantastic year 2013 and look forward to welcoming you soon in Luang Prabang.
Warm regards,
A. de Boynes
Apple Tree properties: Villa Maly, Kamu Lodge, Nava Mekong
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 8, 2013

The property is very well situated, about 7 minutes walk from the main street (Night Market) and still in a quieter part of the town. The property is look very nice from the outside and the rooms are very well decorated in a chic classical deco. Unfortunately it seemed like the hotel could not cope with the numbers during the peak season - you have to queue up from breakfast! Most people have plans for the day and do not have much time to waste in the mornings.

The drains in the Bathroom were also blocked and despite informing the management nothing was done about it, they kept noting it down each and every time on a piece of paper (the to-do list for the day). The safe in our room did not work either and was taken away and no replacement was brought, again despite complaining every day about this they never did anything until the evening before we were leaving - I am not sure how the travel insurance would work in the event if anything went missing - would the hotel take the responsibility?

If you decide to have a lie in then make sure that the smoke detectors are working properly as ours decided to beep a failing battery at 5am and the management could not do anything about it until 8am because they did not have any maintenance staff - the French manager told us that he has just got in at 6am so he didn't know what was going on - however we had informed the reception at 5am about this.

Overall I think if the service and facilities improve - or maybe during the low season this would be a good property when hopefully the guest get more attention and better service.

Peak season - 2 star (my opinion)
Low season - 4 star (my opinion)

Room Tip: Pool side rooms seem to be bigger but don't expect much privacy.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ASC1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaMaly, General Manager at Villa Maly, responded to this review, January 8, 2013
Dear ASC1979,
Sunny greetings from Luang Prabang,,,
I would like to thank you for taking the time to give us a feedback about your stay at Villa Maly.
I remember that we have talked about your safety box with our chief engineer and instruction were given to him to buy a new one and place it in your room. Unfortunately, I did not follow up with him and realized only later that nothing had been done. At that time, we took a safety box from another room and put it in yours.
The same about the drainage, I was told that it had been solved. It is definitely my mistake not to have checked your room myself and ensured that everything was done.
My sincere apologies about the smoke alarm detector and moreover about the behavior of our team members who did not react to support you and solve this issue. I already started trainings with our engineering team and front office team in order to ensure that such situation does not happen again in the future.
I would like to take the opportunity to apologize again for our shortcomings and for not having met your expectations when staying with us. I hope that you will not be deterred from re-selecting Villa Maly and will grant us the chance to demonstrate a higher quality of service when you come back.
Thanking you again for your valuable feedback, I wish you a fantastic year 2013.
Warm regards,
A. de Boynes
Operations Manager - Laos
Apple Tree Properties: Villa Maly, Kamu Lodge, Nava Mekong.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
US
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2013

Nice for what it is - a well-located, tranquil property close to town. Do NOT expect the WIFI to work, and do NOT expect the restaurant service to be anything but disastrous, and you'll be fine. It also helps to be a sound sleeper...the site backs onto several local homes, and the roosters appear to be unable to distinguish dawn from, say, 3am.

While I would stay here again, I would not eat a meal here. Plenty of better alternatives in Luang Prabang.

Room Tip: Try not to be in the back on the property line. Views are into the neighbor's homes next door.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Reunionsmama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaMaly, General Manager at Villa Maly, responded to this review, January 8, 2013
Dear blockbox78,
Warm greetings from Luang Prabang,,,
Many thanks for sharing your comments with us about your stay at Villa Maly. I read carefully your message and right now am conducting an assessment of our WiFi in all our rooms. Until now we have never had problems and always a strong signal. Obviously if you had troubles in getting a connection there must be something wrong which I am sure will be solved shortly. Our WiFi has always worked all around the properties in all the rooms, the Lobby, the restaurant and the swimming pool area.
With regards to your comments about our Restaurant Service, I would certainly appreciate if you could tell me more. You could contact me through our website.
I would like to apologize if we did not meet your expectations and thank you again for taking the time to give us a feedback and the chance to improve our quality of service,
I wish you a fantastic year 2013.
Warm regards,
A. de Boynes
Operations Manager - Laos
Apple Tree properties: Villa Maly, Kamu Lodge, Nava Mekong.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villa Maly

Property: Villa Maly
Address: 75 Oupalath Khamboua Road | Ban That Luang Village, Luang Prabang 0600, Laos
Location: Laos > Luang Prabang Province > Luang Prabang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#8 Luxury Hotel in Luang Prabang
#9 Family Hotel in Luang Prabang
#16 Romantic Hotel in Luang Prabang
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Villa Maly 4*
Number of rooms: 33
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Once the home of Lao royalty, today Villa Maly is an exquisite boutique hotel, surrounded by luscious tropical gardens. Its rooms evoke the subdued elegance and creative touches of a bygone time. The hotel's 33 guest rooms are each subtly created to incorporate time-honored Laotian architecture with an essence of the Colonial past. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villa Maly Hotel Luang Prabang
Maly Hotel Luang Prabang

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