LOCATION - Elephant Crossing, along with the other hotels along the river, has a great view of the river and mountains beyond from the upper floors (no view from the ground floor rooms). It is an easy walk to anywhere in Vang Vieng, as everywhere is, and there is a tour office just two doors down. Bike and motorbike rentals a few doors away. The ATM is about a 10 minute walk, and the end of tubing is in walking distance.
AMENITIES - It features a riverside restaurant and bar with hit-and-miss Lao food, also Thai food and some European food, and a wine cooler which was a nice surprise. However, we ordered a glass of red wine and were informed that there was no more left in the box. You can do laundry here for 25,000 kip per kg (about $1.00/pound) though there are plenty of places all over town where you can do it for about 20% of that price, including right next door. Breakfast here consists of an egg station (limit of 2 eggs we were informed), noodles, steamed vegetables (overcooked and cold), pineapple, watermelon, and rice porridge. Also had thick, black as night, tasteless coffee that left a film on your teeth, and tea. Only one tour company is represented by the front desk - VLT Natural Tours - consisting mostly of kayaking, tubing, trekking and mountain biking. The mosquitoes are biting between 5-7 PM, so make sure to wear long sleeves and pants if going to the bar. There is no swimming pool, no phones, no irons or boards, no alarm clocks, no hair dryers, no hand towels, no hand soap, and there is very slow wi-fi available only in the lobby and a couple rooms around the lobby on the ground floor. There are massages available for 100k Kip (about $12.00) for an hour.
ROOMS - In a word - disgusting. We had a "deluxe" room rather than the standard room. That extra cost went for it to be bigger I think, because it certainly wasn't nice. Our bathroom reeked of sewer (it wasn't only ours, we smelled it all around the ground floor of the hotel and around the entry), our shower curtain was covered with mildew and half the ring holes were torn out so it was only half-hanging. The bathrooms have a sliding window with a wood frame on the shower, so of course, the wood is warped and leaking, and there are water stains and mildew all around the window, about four inches around it. There are various colored leaky liquid stains running down the walls that have never been cleaned, the bath towels are stained, worn and dirty, there is no hand soap or hand towels supplied in the rooms, the mirror is covered by thick dust that looks like someone was doing woodworking in the room, the windows on the sliding door are covered thick with soap scum, and the bathtub/shower combo is nasty. When we asked for a new shower curtain, they replaced it with one that was also covered with mildew, but not nearly as bad as the first one, and at least could hang fully on the curtain rod. Tall people will need to practice their limbo skills to use the shower, as the hand-shower can only reach about 5 feet off the ground. They supply you with only two bottles of drinking water for your whole stay, rather than each day like all other hotels. The bed is rock hard and so are the pillows. There is cable TV but only HBO and CNN seem to have any English. There is A/C and a ceiling fan, along with a balcony to stand out and look at the view. There is a small desk for working, and a small fridge. Upper floor rooms have the view, lower floor rooms get the world's loudest frogs all night right outside their room, living in the ponds around the building. There is room service, but you have to walk outside to the bar to order, so not sure what the point is in that.
STAFF - The staff here is all local kids, very young, not much English. No career hotel people here, just young kids working their way through school, and it shows - the little book in our room even apologizes in advance for the service. The service at the restaurant is as slow as I've ever experienced, plan on two hours for a meal. So many times we heard the bell ring indicating that our food was done, and watched it sit there for extended periods of time while the staff sat around chatting or were nowhere to be seen. A couple of times we wanted a drink at the bar, but there was no bartender to be seen, and we always had to wait for the egg station guy to show up for several minutes at breakfast. Half the time, there was no staff to be seen at the front desk, or at the restaurant, I have no idea where they were always hiding. When they were there, they were nice enough, but didn't speak enough English to explain what we wanted, and we're very experienced at communicating with people that don't speak much English. Usually, if we came back enough times, there sooner or later was a staff member there that had better English, it just required persistence.
This is a family-friendly hotel with lots of kids around, so no happy pizza or opium tea here, as there are in most other places in town, and no TVs with Friends reruns or stoned out backpackers either. Also a pet-friendly hotel, as dogs were running around the restaurant.
Granted, Elephant Crossing is still one of the better places to stay in Vang Vieng, but one has to wonder - do they ever inspect the rooms, or do they just think that this is how a hotel should look?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Elephant Crossing Hotel is a welcoming, warm and friendly accommodation venue situated on the river with fabulous views of the Karst limestone mountains! A boutique hotel, well established gardens and long terrace that stretches along the river. We aim to please all our guests and may they have a memorable experience while staying here with us. The bar and restaurant utilizes local farmers produce and serves Lao, Asian and Euro food. We are doing our best to reduce miles and serve clean chemical free food, with our own organic grown rice and winter vegetables from our own gardens. Our team of local staff are always willing to help with a friendly approach and authentic touch! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Elephant Crossing Hotel
- Hotel Elephant Crossing