I should mention, first, that I'm not accustomed to "guest houses," being an American on my first visit to South-East Asia. As a hotel-only patron, I wasn't sure what to expect. Just 12 days earlier, I'd stayed in a terrible, dirty, non-serviced room on the Vietnam/Cambodian border. The rest of my travels, I'd been in private apartments, with a friend.
So I can say that I was very relieved to arrive in Luang Prabang and have the tuk tuk pull up to the Villa Philaylack. The building looks quite new and welcoming. "Mr. Anoum" (written phonetically) had taken our reservation the night before. (+856 7125 3025). It may take some time to communicate in English. Just remember to use simple sentences: "You have room?" (My Asian friend told me that Americans use too many words, which just confuses people.)
Our room was on the second floor of the detached building. All the walls, floor and ceiling were wood/wood panel. The tile in the bathroom was clean and contemporary, with just the earliest traces of mildew in the grout. (I suspect that by 2010 the bathrooms may look a little shabby if they aren't kept up.)
The room included two bottles of (Red Cross) water, wrapped hotel soap, fresh (not new) towels and toilet paper. We opted to not recieve our air conditioner remote, and paid $2 less per night ($14/night instead of $16). There is a ceiling-mounted fan over the bed (which was dusty on our arrival, so we washed the grill in the shower).
Clean towels, drinking water, soap and toilet paper were brought in every day of our three-night stay. The staff were pleasant , honest and helpful (but try to be back before they close the gate at 11:30pm, or you might experience some light crankiness).
Laundry service was 8,000kip/kg.
The only major drawback to Villa Philaylack is the location. If you go there, you're going to think I'm crazy for saying this, since it's really only a handful of blocks from then central area (where the tour booking companies and night market are). But especially when you are trying to get somewhere in heat of mid-day, you'll probably start to wonder about the dozens (and dozens) of guest houses closer to the "center of things."
We moved to a place closer in for our last two nights, and while we enjoyed much shorter walks to our favorite restaurants and massage spas (and the balcony view of the Mekong) we were less than thrilled with the service, cleanliness and staff of the second place.
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