For my return trip to Luang Prabang, Laos (read here), I picked Villa Oudomlith as a budget option due to the great online reviews. I loved the location and great service at this small guesthouse, but the rooms have some limitations worth knowing about before making a booking. Read my full review for more!
Location: Villa Oudomlith is located on a small street, just off the mainroad in the old town of Luang Prabang, just around the corner from the very nice 3Nagas boutique hotel. That makes it a close to perfect location, with all the sights of the old town in easy walking distance. The hotel is about 20 minutes from the airport, just make sure to give the 3Nagas as a landmark to the driver – mine didn’t know it and had to drive around for a while. The location on a side street makes it a pretty quiet place, with a rooster being the most likely culprit to wake you up earlier than you want to.
Service: While the service at all the hotels I stayed at in Laos was very good, it’s exceptional at Villa Oudomlith. On arrival, the manager gave me a map and a detailed briefing for Luang Prabang, including tips for sightseeing and prices for various trips, good places to watch the sunset and to have drinks and meals. He even included some tips for less busy alternatives from the most popular spots – something rare! After that introduction, my room was ready (ahead of formal check-in time) and I was given the brief tour of it. Every time I would return to my room, one of the staff would bring a glass of fresh, cold juice to my room – a nice touch, even luxury hotels haven’t managed in my years of traveling! Housekeeping was on task and had the room cleaned up quickly and thoroughly each morning. Breakfast service was a la carte and just as quick and friendly. This great experience at Villa Oudomlith demonstrates again that good service is not necessarily a matter of the hotel category, but the attitude of the staff – and a budget place can easily beat a luxury establishment on that score!
Room: I had a standard room which was of good size and standard design with local flair, using hardwood floors, wooden furniture and even a wooden ceiling. The walls were plain white and clean. The bed had a very firm mattress, as frequently found in the region, and clean, comfortable sheets. It was decorated with towels shaped to swans – another nice service touch! The room had a tiny, open closet with hangers, an equally small desk and a small table with a fridge underneath and the TV on top. Coffee and tea were available throughout the day in the lobby, but not in the room.
The bathroom was held in beige/brown tiles, with a white sink and toilet, a glass shower enclosure and even a rainfall shower head. All of it worked fine, was clean and in good condition!
The free WiFi internet was spotty, sometimes fast at over 4Mbps and sometimes not available at all. I averaged 2.7Mbps throughout my stay, which was about average for Laos.
The only downside of the room was that the window faced a wall less than a foot away, leaving no view out or light in! The lack of natural light, the dim light fixtures and the dark wood floors and ceiling (which I generally like) conspired to make the room dark like a bat cave and not a place I’d want to be other than to sleep. Because I tend to read or work a few hours a day, I prefer a room that is nice enough to actually stay in and ended up switching hotels after two nights! All the downstairs rooms have the same problem, so if you plan to visit, I’d recommend to book an upstairs rooms for some more light!
Restaurant/Amenities: The breakfast was included in my rate and was served from a menu of choices. I tried the pancakes one day and the eggs the next, both were served with fresh fruits, juice and coffee. The pancakes were fluffy, the eggs cooked just right, the bread crunchy and the fruit and juice fresh. It all added up to a basic, but very good and filling breakfast. The hotel offers free coffee/tea as well as juices when you return. The staff is more than happy to help with tours or sightseeing in town. There are no other amenities or facilities at the guesthouse.
Conclusion: The good reviews of Villa Oudomlith were justified – it’s a great location and offers outstanding service. If you don’t mind the lack of natural light, at a rate of $43, you get good value with a clean, big room and good breakfast. For a little more money, you can stay at the Villa Deux Rivieres, which I much preferred. While prices have gone up in Luang Prabang, there are still lots of good options at all budget levels!