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“stunning and relaxing”

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Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ban Xieng Lom
Certificate of Excellence
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
38 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“stunning and relaxing”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2012

What a wonderful place! I stayed here for one night before my stay in Luang Prabang. Zen Namkhan was a wonderful surprise and a real jewel. The owner has carved a place of true beauty and peace out of this wonderful jungle. The central area is lovely, very nicely landscaped and well-composed with a natural pool and a two-storey building housing the dining room and a lounge. My room was a small villa with a wrap around balcony overlooking forest trees filled with singing birds. I found the European-style dinner delicious and the gin and tonics equally so! The service was very good, and there were very few guests to divert their attention.

Note, a friend of mine who stayed there was somewhat disconcerted by the "open-air" quality of the lodgings. The resort design is very in-tune with nature, and part of the design is that the villas keep you connected to the vibrant jungle outside- with shutters for windows and with a gap between the top of the wall and the roof. Fabulous fine-mesh netting hung over the bed keeps the bugs out and gives a wonderful atmosphere. So, if you are super-anti-nature, like my friend is, this might not be the place for you! As for me, it was one of the most sublime and lovely hotel experiences of my life.

Room Tip: top floor rooms of each of the small villas are very nice; the room taking up the lower floor might...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank inconsistency
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
indianajone27, Propriétaire at Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort, responded to this review, January 2, 2013
Thank you very much for your comment and I appreciate you note! Your description cannot be more accurate! As you said the resort is not for everyone and we work hard to make your stay as much comfortable in the jungle of Laos and to be very in-tune with nature!
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226 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
Date | Rating
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English first
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2012

Beautiful setting, our lovely villa overlooked the river and the mountains, simply tranquil and exotic at the same time. Great hiking, lounging, and getting away from it all. Staff was terrific. My husband's favorite spot in Laos. Oh, and we saw a man walking the road with an elephant on the way to the resort!

Room Tip: Make sure to get a room overlooking the river!
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Farryl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Coast Tas
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2012

This review has been a long time coming and i apologise to the resort for my delay!

The drive to Zen Namkhan was absolutely hilarious! My girlfriend and i chartered a little tuk tuk van and after bargaining the price right down (which we later regretted) we were on our way into the middle of nowhere.

The tuk tuk driver was very friendly and we ended up feeling quite sorry for him as we had to stop for unexprected road works and it didnt look like we were going to be able to get through!

If we had a schedule to keep this may have been a problem but on holidays- who cares?

When we arrived we were greeted by a friendly woman who said that she would go and find the Manager for us. After waiting with the Tuk Tuk driver (who we promised a drink) for about half an hour we were greeted by the most warm and friendly Laos Manager Kham Sand.
He apologised that he had not received our online booking as their power was out, he assured us that it would be back on later.

We were there in the slow season and the resort was in desperate need of maintenance and some areas eg, the pool was so slimy and gross when we first got there.

We had a drink and then farewelled the tuk tuk driver whom we were most grateful to.
Then we were shown to our suite which we had been upgraded to, thank you.

The suite was absolutely stunning with a four poster bed, beautiful traditional Laos decorations and the whole front opens out the the most beautiful view!
The outdoor shower was the highlight however, paradise!

After settling in we went on a guided walk of the area with Kham Sand, we were his only guests so we had exclusive rights!
He showed us the beautiful rainforests, local villages and a monkey that was obsessed with showing his penis off to my girlfriend, a moment that will never be forgotten.

When we returned the pool had already been cleaned as i mentioned how filthy it was on arrival and took the opportunity to go for a dip, the pool has a view all the way out to the lush hills and mountain ranges.

The dinner in the evening was something really special and we were treated like absolute royalty and spoilt with some traditonal Laab and many other delightful dishes which i cannot recall. The table was set up so beautifully and the attention to detail in every aspect was above and well beyond.

After dinner we were treated to drinks and laughs with some locals who were friends of Kham Sands! Such great people!

I can only say, be very careful of the fans in the rooms as i had a nasty finger chopping accident on one of them due to the fact they dont have a proper cover on them.
Sorry about the blood folks!

The staff even went out of their way to drive into town and get us a bus ticket for our next destination, they then drove us there and saw us onto the bus.

I was blown away by all of this and in Australia with a little bit of fine tuning this place would be charging minumum of $800.00 per night!

Well done Zen Namkham and congratulations Kham Sand, you should be proud!

We will reccomend and hopefully one day return!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Baraka_lp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
indianajone27, Owner at Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort, responded to this review, February 8, 2014
Dear Guest...

I am sorry that you have felt this way and have expressed it so negatively. Such comments like those you have offered can often be as good as the
excellent comments we have hitherto received (92% found the resort Excellent to Very Good). We find the other types of comments, though somewhat exaggerated in your case, very useful as we are always trying to improve the experience offered to our guests.

However perhaps it was not clear from your understanding of the website
but this is nothing like a Holiday Inn with heated swimming pool and boutique delights. And I would like to stress, if our accommodation didn't fit you wishes, this is quite alright. Though my Laotian wife and myself have attempted to create a resort with character it will naturally not be suitable for everyone, which sadly was the case with you and your mother.

I am sorry about this but also feel sorry that you were unable to understand our situation. We are actually in middle of the Chinese New Year and all our rooms were booked long in advance that we had to refuse other bookings. Secondly we did offer you a free upgrade to a villa; the accommodation we offered your mother and aunt was 75 meters from the dining/ living room with a gentle slop of 20% degrees. Most of our guests have found this a pleasant location.

Other comments like on the swimming pool are actually distortions. Whether you call it a 'pond' or not is a cultural bias; we prefer to speak about an ecological swimming pool and I am very proud of its condition. I am not sure
how you ascertained it was slippery as I don't think you got in the water or even went closer to the pool. I admit the the water is cold at this time of the year but there isn't much we can do about that. When you swim you feel as if in a lake; much like the lakes in Scandinavia in the summer feel rather cold at first.

I quite appreciate that the resort didn't fit your expectations but perhaps it was for other reasons. We did have 3 families with 7 children in all and this can be inconvenient for elderly people and younger men who may prefer to e more alone. Also your request for shuttles or the feeling of beng trapped in the resort is also a misperception; we always state WE ARE 20 minutes from the city.

What can I say more! We don't sell the museum of Luang Prabang, the Temples or the Night Market, instead we promote the outdoor, the nature of Laos which is not found in the middle of town. And lastly the comment about 87 steps, really is a bit rich! I do that 4-6 times a day and I am 61 and far from Lance Armstrong! Certainly health conditions can make this more difficult but again there were options to take the room next to your mother.

I was and consider myself very polite ( by the way i am from Quebec, Canada) and I told you that we always respect the cancellation policy that is agreed when booking. It has happened to me and I subsequently paid and we did offer you a free taxi for your return besides the chance to change rooms. I prefer to ignore the other comments regarding monkeys, dog, services etc.. as they seem part of the biased picture you have now formed against us.

Again I am sorry our resort did not meet up to your expectations. But I suggest a hint if ever you are not sure, especially when travelling in this part of the world; why not book for one day and after if you like it, you can stay more!
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2012

Beautiful room, beautiful views, beautiful pool, beautiful people. Loved the shower! Very chilled and relaxed. Everything ran the way wanted it to. Everything we asked for gained a positive response. Two nights two massages a boat trip and a cooking lesson. A stunning oasis and a perfect start to our trip to Laos, that has continued to be brilliant. Yes there are bugs.... You are in Asia...get over it! Pre arrival no issues email responses to queries were prompt. The manager Kum Sen ( sorry re spelling) was on top of everything and catered to our every need. The new cook showed us how she made her wonderful Laab ( which by the way I haven't found better yet in Laos) and Tom yum soup. Thank you for a wonderful stay - Liz and Andrew

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank Elisabeth B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bitry, France
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 14, 2012

This is really the place to be! The nature, the people, the food, our accommodation. Quit, only the sound of nature and the animals. Near by the river, so nearby the waterfall. Everything was perfect. We enjoyed the friendly dog copain! She was so sweat! And Moon, the manager, she completed our trip perfectly. Visiting a school in a little village nearby Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort. After she dropped us in Luang Prabang and made sure that we came home safe! Really were 5 amazing days here! Thank you and for sure... We'll be back!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank gabrielle S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 1, 2012 via mobile

We stayed here with lots of family and 6 kids. The food is delicious, the staff are terrific, relaxed, friendly and put up with our noisy children. The views are spectacular, really breathtaking and we liked the Eco pool which is like swimming in a pond which is really refreshing and the kids loved.

Really atmospheric and we had a lovely 4 days.

Stayed April 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Venetia B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
117 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 28, 2012

It pains me to have to write a Poor review on this place as the people working there were just the nicest and the grounds are beautiful.

Unfortunately the way they position themselves "boutique resort", the conditions and management of the place does not match up.

1. To reserve a room, you have to pay via Paypal. I find that to be a huge inconvenience particularly compared to the Apsara in Luang Prabang in which they didn't even ask for any payment to reserve a room.

2. All day before and morning of my arrival, I called at least 20 times to get the directions. Both the reservations line and contact line were "turned off" per the mobile phone company's recorded message. Luckily the staff at the Apsara was able to find a driver to take us there since most in Luang Prabang did not seem familiar with Zen Namkhan. When we got there, I was told that the owner was on holiday and had her phones turned off.

3. The eco-pool is overplayed. Very clear water but slimy algae is just gross. Even eco-resorts in Costa Rica (which is very well known for its eco-tourism) have pools that are not gross.

4. Which leads to the next thing - air conditioning. None anywhere. Not cool when it's just freaking hot and humid and buggy.

5. And no backup power generator. Ok, I admit that I might be pushing it a bit with this one given that this is Laos. But again, if this place hadn't advertised itself as a "boutique resort", I wouldn't be complaining about this. Or any of the items above for that matter. Why is power generator important? Because there are blackouts. We didn't experience any while in Luang Prabang so perhaps it was just bad luck for the one night at Zen Namkhan.

To be balanced, there are great things - the views, the seclusion, the friendly staff, the dog.

But tip to those who are thinking about this - the 4.5 stars that shows up in Tripadvisor and the "boutique resort" positioning is misleading -- unless you like to camp in humid weather and aren't freaked out by lots of bugs. There is a lot of stairs to climb between the main area and the rooms - for older people, I'd be concerned of slipping and exertion.

Room Tip: The rooms at the bottom require the most climbing of stairs but open up to a beautiful view. Don...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank StuckOnTravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
indianajone27, Owner at Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort, responded to this review, June 8, 2012
Dear Guest on behalf of my staff thank you for your comments I know they work hard to make the stay of our guest as much pleasant as possible and I will give to my dog a big bone!

I take this opportunity to clarify some misinterpretation when you refer 4.5 stars in TripAdvisor. The 4.5 its refer only to the total appreciation given by our guest. For instance 91% of our guest found the service and the resort in general good to excellent (Excellent representing 78%). This is nothing to do with the stars according by different agencies or the Ministry of tourism to the hotel for the quality and service provided. In my point of view according to western standard we are in between 3.5 and 4

In reference of Boutique Resort according to the definition of wikipedia: Boutique Hotel are furnished in a themed, stylish and/or aspirational manner. Boutique hotels are often individual and focused on offering their services in a comfortable, intimate, and welcoming setting, so they are therefore extremely unlikely to be found amongst the homogeneity of large hotel. Many boutique hotels have on-site dining facilities, and the majority offer bars and lounges that may also be open to the general public. I think we meet this definition.

Regarding the deposit I admit it's come from me. When I have to go in town to pick up a client and it's don't show up (after waiting an hour+ the time to get there + gasoline) and i didn't ask for any deposit you understand as intelligent man I don't repeat the same mistake twice. But if the client come by himself I don't mind to forget about the deposit...

I just want to mentioned we have 3 villas with A/C and 7 with out. You should ask for A/C unit I am sorry about that. The architecture of 5 villas that don't have A/C have high ceiling for the hot air going up, they have ceiling and floor fan, we maximize the open windows that the breeze can come in and you are in the mountain. This give you the opportunity to listen the birds or the elephant near by and give you the feeling to be in the nature. We had install Mosquitos net so you can sleep comfortably. For my point of view A/C is a must in the city because of the noise and there no breeze but if you want to feel what's to be in the jungle in the nature the A/C is not a must.

For the swimming pool we working hard to make it as clear and nice is possible but ecologic swimming pool is like a pond with everything come with...

I am sorry for the blackout you had at the resort and if it was a necessity to install a generator I will install it. Last year we didn't have more than 36 hours (and this is the maximum) of black out for the all year. That it's mean less than .004%. Plus the vast majority of hotel in Luang Prabang don't have generator therefore we don't see the necessity to install one. We have only 10 room and you know how much the cost of generator I don't see any reason for that.

For the stair and the distance of the unit from the dining room we built the resort to give the maximum of tranquility and again to give you the feeling to be alone in the nature of Laos. I will said guest who come to visit us must not be afraid to walk or use the stair!

Please receive my Best Regards

Luc
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Additional Information about Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort

Property: Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort
Address: 082, Ban Xieng Lom, Luang Prabang 06000, Laos
Location: Laos > Luang Prabang Province > Luang Prabang > Ban Xieng Lom
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ban Xieng Lom
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in Luang Prabang at 12 km form the center, it's the perfect place to enjoy the breathtaking on the Namkhan River and mountains. You will be able to enjoy the NamKhan River with a serene boat ride, kayak or Trek around the Resort and Tad Sae Waterfall or doing yoga and meditation. We just finish to built a new steam room next to our swimming pool. The beautiful onsite restaurant offer excellent choice of menus, using ingredients from organic produces like herbs and vegetables. Unwind at the Ecological chlorine-free pool after a tiring day. Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort is a perfect sanctuary for leisure travelers who seek for sophistication within a serene environment. Please note the new road to Luang Prabang it's almost completed. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zen Namkhan Boutique Hotel Ban Xieng Lom
Zen Namkhan Boutique Resort Laos/Luang Prabang

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