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!
- 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