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“Nice View, But the Rooms are Gross”

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The Elephant Crossing Hotel
Ranked #7 of 23 Hotels in Vang Vieng
Level 6 Contributor
675 reviews
128 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1,866 helpful votes
“Nice View, But the Rooms are Gross”
Reviewed November 1, 2009

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?

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Johann&Sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (82)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
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  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Cairns
Level 4 Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed October 30, 2009

The location of the Elephant Crossing Hotel is spectacular. It is on the river at Vang Vieng and looks across the river to magnificent limestone karsts.

The bar/restaurant is situated on a deck over the river and is a great place to eat/have a drink and admire the view. Food is good with large portions.

Breakfast is included in the tarrif. Free wifi is available in the lobby and at the bar/restaurant.

Rooms are good and many have great views.

Perhaps the best thing of all about the hotel is the friendly, attentive and welcoming staff.

I have no hesitation in recommending a stay at the Elephant Crossing hotel.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank yiiim2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
125 reviews
92 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
Reviewed October 12, 2009

The reviews of Elephant Crossing were quite mixed but it seemed like one of the better places to stay in Vang Vieng and although it was a bit more expensive than other options, it was definitely worth it, especially after a 8 hour minivan ride from Luang Prabang!

Our room had a balcony overlooking the river with stunning sunset views. A few reviews had commented that their room was quite shabby but ours was in really good condition.

Breakfast was included in the restaurant by the river which was a lovely start to the day.

We'd originally booked for a couple of nights but ended up extending our stay as we enjoyed Vang Vieng and Elephant Crossing. The staff were very helpful and when we wanted to extend our stay were accomodating so we didn't have to move rooms despite them being full.

An excellent choice in Vang Vieng.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Barbie1976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chengdu, China
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed October 8, 2009

We were on a self-guided tour of Laos from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. We planned on staying in Vang Vieng and doing all the kayaking and tubing that Vang Vieng is known for. We ended up staying at the hotel almost the entire time relaxing with our kids. The owners have 2 kids of their own, so the place is extremely kid friendly and our kids made friends with the owners friends. The view from the restaurant was stunning!

I believe if you see a negative review from someone about the Elephant Crossing it has to be because a person's expectation of Vang Vieng were not realistic. Vang Vieng is known to be a hot spot on the backpackers circut, so I was expecting a town full of reasonable, minimalistic accomodations. Furthermore they are very clear that they are a family friendly resort on their website.

Stayed September 2009, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank berlydallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beckenham, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
182 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
Reviewed October 5, 2009

This isn't the cheapest place to stay and even at low season rates you might question the value for money considering the rooms aren't that big and show some wear and tear. They are still nice though and the location really sells the place.

Sitting right on the river overlooking huge limestone karsts with amazing views from the riverside restaurant and balconies. At least from the room I was in! It looked like the view would not be so great from the rooms on the lower floors or those behind the restaurant.

I did appreciate the in-room information outlining the ethical stance of the hotel and their involvement in the local community.

Breakfast was better than most places I stayed at with a buffet of western and Asian flavours and strong Lao coffee. Could have done with more variety on a day to day basis though. Food at the restaurant was also tasty but toned down for tourist palates - Lao dishes lacked an authentic spice making them slightly bland.

I'm starting to get a bit picky though. I loved staying here and found it a great place to enjoy Vang Vieng away from the mindless party kids up the road. Not quite a perfect 5 but close.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank webme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Swindon
Level 4 Contributor
48 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed October 5, 2009

We enjoyed our stay in Elephant Crossing. The location was good, at about 5 to 10 minutes walk from the thick of things, but being far enough away to be peaceful if you aren't up for a bit of a party.

Breakfast was nice, and a lovely spot to eat it at down by the river. The evening menu was also apparently good, but we didn't eat there - still, it was always busy there, and if you sit there you can have a laugh at the drunk tubers who have floated past their disembarkment point.

The rooms were a little on the small side for the price, but clean and good views on the higher floors. Wifi was available in the lobby, and in the lower floor rooms - if you want it in your room, you have to sacrifice a bit of your view! Speed was limited when a few people were using it.

The staff were friendly enough, and managed to book us a decent bus ticket to Luang Prabang - more than can be said for many places!

For more on our stay in Vang Vieng, visit our blog at www.moodtotravel.blogspot.com.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jonathan N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 20, 2009

We stayed here for 2 nights. The view was great and it was very nice having a beer on the balcony overlooking the river. However the hotel itself was horrible. The rooms were very old and smelly.

The staff were very unfriendly - the only unfriendly staff we encountered in our 2 week trip of Laos. Every other hotel we stayed the staff were very nice and friendly.

Unfortunately I can't recommend another hotel to travellers in Van Vieng as we didn't find another hotel that looked any better. Van Vieng (the town) is not very nice. The scenery though surrounding Van Vieng is spectactular so I guess you have to take the good with the bad. We had a great day caving and kayaking so I don't regret going to Van Vieng but it is a shame the hotel/food was disgusting. Also, we went to the breakfast on the first day and didn't even bother on the second as it was so foul.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank AustraliaJones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about The Elephant Crossing Hotel

Property: The Elephant Crossing Hotel
Address: Ban Viengkeo | (PO Box 5512, Vientiane), Vang Vieng 1003, Laos
Phone Number:
Location: Laos > Vientiane Province > Vang Vieng
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 23 Hotels in Vang Vieng
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — The Elephant Crossing Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 36
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

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