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“Good location, but....”

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MuongLao Riverside by Villa Xandria
Ranked #152 of 267 Luang Prabang B&B and Inns
Reviewed July 27, 2008

We got to experience about 1/2 of the rooms at this Guesthouse. We had booked 2 rooms and ended up having to change one of the rooms two times.

On the positive side:
- This is a great location, close to everything in the center of Luang Prabang
- The manager (Sonny) was very pleasant and helpful.
- When things worked (see below), this met our minimum standard of accommodation (but only just!)
- Showers have hot water
- Price was very low (about $15/room)
- Upstairs rooms have a balcony

On the negative side:
- The a/c in our first room did not work and they could not move us to another room so we sweated out (literally!) our first night.
- The a/c in our 2nd room broke down shortly after we moved in, but this time they were able to move us to a 3rd room (downstairs)
- The upstairs rooms have thin wooden walls, so you hear everything. Generally Luang Prabang is pretty quiet at night, but our first night there was a wedding going on and the music (several streets away) did not stop until after 1am. This is not the guesthouse's fault, but the thin walls are - and so we didn't get much sleep. When we moved to downstairs, the walls were concrete or plaster and so noise was much less of a factor.
- The beds are essentially on the floor in most rooms and there is no furniture in the rooms (which are pretty small) so you have to live our of your suitcase or pack.
- The beds in 3 of the 4 rooms we tried were the lumpiest and most uncomfortable we have experienced in nearly 6 weeks of travel in SE Asia. The 4th bed was better.
- The place was generally clean, although the walls and bathroom are badly stained. This is an old property and it needs renovation.
- The bathrooms are small and there is no shower curtain so water goes everywhere. In some of the bathrooms the drain is not at the lowest point, so water collects and there is no squeegee to get rid of it, so we ended up doing the best we could with our feet.
- In the downstairs room we smelled bathroom waste unless the bathroom door was closed. Also this room had only 1 available wall outlet (the other was used for the TV), so if you are trying to charge more than 1 device, it's one at a time, or no TV!
- The stairs up are more like a ladder. Anyone with mobility issues would have a very hard time getting up and down.

There is a breakfast place across the street (owned by the guesthouse) which serves relatively simple and inexpensive fare. The Dragonfruit shakes were my favorite and the Mango shakes were a hit with one of my sons.

If coming to Luang Prabang again, I would try to stay somewhere a bit nicer, although in the same area. If you are on a very tight budget, this might be the place for you, but take into account the caveats I've listed above and try all the available rooms.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank gossamer78759
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (57)
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44 - 50 of 57 reviews

Reviewed May 2, 2008

We picked the Muonglao after a lot of deliberation and research online - it seemed well-located, reasonably cheap and well-appointed.
From the outside the guesthouse looks great - a nice-looking corner block building right across from the little restaurants and cafes that line the Mekong River, about five minutes' walk from the main part of Luang Prabang (the guest house is just around the corner from L'Elephant, which is a well-known restaurant on most tourist maps).
The staff were young and casual but friendly enough, and led us to our room up a steep (almost a ladder) set of stairs. Ours was one of about six in total, and we had asked for a room with a balcony overlooking the river.
The room was tidy but tiny - just a low-set double bed, a little TV tucked into one corner, and a pretty average all-in-one bathroom with no division between the shower, toilet and sink.
The towels were old and smelled bad, the sheets on the bed were torn, the bed was about the hardest and lumpiest either of us had ever slept in and the ceiling was so low that you couldn't change your shirt without sticking your hand in the ceiling fan.
The other big drawbacks emerged at night - Luang Prabang is a quiet place, but you hear every car and tuk tuk driving past as though it's right beside your bed because the guesthouse is so close to a relatively busy street...at least if you're in a room fronting the road. Also, above the head of our bed was a shuttered window that was fixed open, and it opened right onto another room's little balcony. That meant if someone from the other room came home at 11pm or any other time of the night and decided to go out on the balcony for a chat (which is fair enough), they were literally 50cm from where we lay and so loud enough to keep us awake.
There was a drinks machine downstairs but no other services such as internet access, which we later found were relatively common in other places at this price level.
On the plus side, the little balcony had nice views of the river and the airconditioning worked pretty well.
We weren't too worried despite the downsides initially, concluding that we'd only paid $25 US for the accommodation per night. But when we explored further and discovered what else was available for about the same price we realised this place was overpriced and underperforming. We actually had a look at a couple of places that were nicer for about a third of the price, after staying here for the first three nights we had booked.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank njk17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2008

Luang Prabang was the last stop on my two month journey through Viet Nam and Laos. I arrived late evening on the bus from Vientiane and stayed one night at a guesthouse recommended by some traveller I'd met. It was very basic and on the busy main road. The next morning I went for a walk along the river to find something more to my liking. There are plenty of small guest houses on that street; some where already full. Then I spotted this traditional corner house with a discreet sign "rooms available". I stepped into the lobby of Muonglao Riverside Guesthouse and was immediately taken by the genuine hospitality of the friendly manager and his staff. Had a look at the two available rooms on the first floor; spacious, spotlessly clean, beautifully polished teak clad walls and floors, simple, traditional furnshings, aircon and tv, small but well appointed white-tiled bathroom with hot shower and a balcony overlooking the street and the gently flowing waters of the Mekong beyond. I didn't have to look farther; I booked room no.4
I'd planned to stay 3 days, ended up staying for nearly two weeks.

The outdoor restaurant across the street is owned by the same guesthouse, offers excellent food throughout the day, local fare as well as some western dishes to wash down with a cold BeerLao, lovely pancakes and good cappuccino. For a change of venue for breakfast, lunch or dinner, there's a string of other restaurants along the riverside. Cafe Mekong Fish became one of my favourites.

Temples, shops and art galleries abound in the vicinity. The street, by the way, is neither too busy nor noisy. By 9.30pm the whole of Luang Prabang starts shutting down for the night, with few locales staying open till late, still only a short stroll away but on the opposite side of town.
With so many guesthouses in the area the choice ultimately comes down to "location", "comfort" and "quality of service" at "reasonable rates". Muonglao Riverside scores on all counts. I
wholeheartedly recommend it.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank stbabis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2015 via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: March 2015, traveled as a couple
Thank Audrey N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2015
Google Translation

  • Stayed: December 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank 1129_travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2014
Google Translation

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank erikarem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2014
Google Translation

Room Tip: Рекомендую номер с балконом на Меконг. Очень хороший вид.
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Stlei
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about MuongLao Riverside by Villa Xandria

Address: Watnong Village, Souvanakhampong, Luang Prabang 1234, Laos
Location: Laos > Luang Prabang Province > Luang Prabang
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #152 of 267 B&Bs / Inns in Luang Prabang
Price Range: $35 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
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Also Known As:
Muonglao Riverside By Villa Xandria Hotel Luang Prabang

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