The location is stunning, the bungalows perfectly suited to the environment but there is something missing. This place has no soul, no purpose for being, no character, no wow factor. The view from the bungalow deck is sublime but that's it.
Human touches are missing. Like a welcome when you arrive. I was dropped at reception and given a pen and. A book to write in, then I waited. Eventually I was taken to my bungalow.
It was rustic and functional. Everything worked. The floor squeaked and that was fine, it added to the ambience. The big comfortable bed was clean and had nice soft pillows. There was a fan, bedside lamp, ceiling lamp (that was pretty useless), extra blanket, soft towels.
But there were no locks on doors or windows, so no security at all. The windows couldn't be left open as there were no fly screens. There was no bottled water in the rooms. There was no bug spray which should be a given in a place like this where there are all sorts of bugs. Not a wee vase of flowers, a torch (which was needed to be able to get around outside at night), nothing.
The staff were very pleasant when spoken to and one of them did come and chat, but they were all alooof. I got no information about what was available and when I went to go for a walk was given a very dirty loose leaf book that had a map (which needed a fair bit of imagination to follow). When I got back I realised that the rest of the book had some information on the parts that I had walked past without realising.
When i left it was raining. No offer of an umbrella or anything.
It could be simply wonderful and could afford higher rates and ensure repeat business being so close to Vientiane. It could be the best place for people to,weekend at and get away from the trappings of the city. I was the only guest there. All this could happen by making it all more desirable.
instead it was a rustic experience that was good value for money but I would not entertain going back, unless it acquired some, charm and personality, and for that i would be prepared to pay far more.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ban Pako is an eco-lodge located on an ancient temple site on the banks of the Nam Ngum river, about 50 km from Vientiane. Ban Pako has room for 22 guests per night and the restaurant serves delicious Lao food. It is the perfect place to relax and experience the Lao countryside. Also on offer is a wide range of activities such as jungle trekking, cultural excursions and monthly events. ... more less