Aug 032011

This hotel is located on the island of Don Khon in the 4000 Islands area of southern Laos.

The hotel consists of an open-air restaurant and an office building on the waterfront, and five other buildings containing from two to six guest rooms. The principal building is a former hospital building constructed during the French colonial period.

We slept in three rooms during our seven-night stay. The rooms were decent sized and clean. Furnishings were good, although the beds were the typical hard surface. Each room had air conditioning, ceiling fan, and a balcony. Bathrooms were attached, with Western toilets and some sort of screen for the showers. There were no refrigerators. Wireless Internet access was spotty and sometimes very weak in the rooms, but not an insurmountable problem. Breakfast was included; consisting of coffee, juice, fruit, bread, and eggs.

The Auberge may be – and certainly has the potential to be – the best accommodation on Don Khon. But there are problems, which were the cause of our staying in so many rooms.

The biggest problem was odor emitting from the bathroom drains. It was a sickening smell of sewage, which became overpowering in two of the rooms, and was present to a lesser degree in the third. Perhaps this is a phenomenon of the rainy season.

The next was a lack of hot water. The manager explained that the hotel used a solar heating system, and it was certainly rainy and overcast quite a bit during our stay. But the hotel also has an electric heating system as a backup – at US $35-40 a night, it should be actually doing some backup. Hot water was not reliably available our entire stay.

A related problem was poor water pressure. Two of the three showers were more sprinklers than they were showers.

The last two items resulted in some long, cold showers under a trickling shower head.

A final problem was the initial inability to lock windows in two of the rooms, which were fixed by hotel staff after I pointed this out. As has been the case with most places we’ve stayed in SE Asia, there is apparently no routine inspection program for things like loose fittings or non-locking bolts. A guest has to point it out and demand a fix. Most guests ignore the problems, meaning they never get fixed.

So, the Auberge has its problems. Nonetheless, were we to return to Don Khon, I suspect we would also return to the Auberge.

By the way, the Auberge is often filled to capacity by transiting tour groups, so advance reservations are a good idea. Also, we received a third night free for every two nights paid.

 Posted by at 11:56 pm