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Best Hotel in Laos

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Jan 23rd, 2004, 07:26 PM
  #1
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Best Hotel in Laos

I was in Luang Prabang one week ago and stayed at the Pansea Phou Vao Hotel. For me that was an excellent experience: extraordinary place, well organised, wonderful rooms and pool, friendly staff, delicious food ,everything was perfect. It has been a holiday I have a long time been dreaming of. I will recommend this hotel to other people, it was simply great.
Peter.
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Jan 24th, 2004, 06:39 PM
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We had an appalling stay there in Dec 2003. They have since acknowledged our complaints and compensated us but it was such an unexpected disappointment from a hotel with its reputation. You were lucky and I'm glad you did not have our experiences. Yes the food was remarkable. We ate lunch there and decided to stay five days later for our wedding anniversary. Good travelling!
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Jan 24th, 2004, 08:14 PM
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lyndie---i'm perplexed...i have read two posts tonight and on both you commented on your horrible receptions at two different hotels in two different countries....??? both hotels have wonderful reputations and get rave, or better, reviews on this and other boards, but yet you had absolutely unacceptable conditions at both....can you be more specific...i do note that you were not helped with your suitcases, up the very broad 2 or 3 stairs in siem reap and that you were closed out of the pool lunch, but you have given everyone a very negetive feeling about both hotels without providing more detailed info....that is a bit unfair, isn't it?? people will become all worked up on your words without understanding what was so bad and may cancel reservations....please help us to understand what really was wrong....??? thanks
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Jan 24th, 2004, 10:06 PM
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I also stayed at the Pansea in Luang Prabang. We had a wonderful stay! The food was excellent, the rooms beautiful and the service warm and welcoming. I also loved the pool with its stunning view.
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Jan 27th, 2004, 12:11 AM
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Hi Bob

If you read my posts you will find I have fully explained the problems we encountered with Pansea LP. The Sofitel Royal Angkor post was, I thought self-explanatory. I come from Australia where if hotels don't measure up-they go out of business. i.e so many business travellers here expect great hospitality service. I travel in Aust regularly as I do worldwide. The competition is pretty fierce in Australia.I guess it all depends on how high your standards are. If $160 USD is not a lot of money (maybe you're not paying from your own bank a/c) then you won't expect as much as I do!! I'm self employed. If you want to know more pls email me. I will not put up with crappy service or poor hospitality just to keep the peace! Both Sofitel Royal Angkor and Pansea LP did not deliver the goods but at least Pansea apologised. You can pay USD35 in both LP and Siem Reap and support the wonderful locally owned hotels with delightful welcoming, happy staff in magic positions or you can be ripped off by multi-national chains-your decisions, guys. I was so disappointed when we paid so much and received so little....SORRY!!!!
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Jan 27th, 2004, 03:10 AM
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Peter, according to your message on the Africa side you were in Saint Louis in Senegal last week enjoying delicious food...

"excellent experience: extraordinary place, well organised, wonderful rooms, friendly staff, delicious food, everything was perfect"


"It has been a holiday I have a long time been dreaming of. I will recommend this place to other people, it was simply great"


http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34469723

You sure do get around fast! (?)
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Jan 27th, 2004, 03:26 AM
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I haven't stayed at any of those hotels so can't comment. I would though add that if you are paying top-dollar then you should get the 'service' you pay for. Some of the 'wort' hotels I have ever stayed at ( baring backpacker places in my youth ) have been also the 'most expensive' places. $400-600 I paid in Switzerland, Italy and about $300 in Britain for absolute 'jokes'. Service loussy, rude staff, rooms that were also a joke. I stayed at a very expensive hotel in Ireland and was given the key to a room less that 2m x 3m ( 6 x 9 ft ), the room 'seriously' was smaller and more basic than 'Fawlty Towers'(If you have ever seen the comedies ).
The other side is that in Thailand I can get a better room, better service etc for $40.
When I first settled in Thailand I operated a restaurant which was part of a hotel....wow...talk about seeing things from a different perspective!! After a year of that I no longer though of 'Fawlty Towers' as a comedy, more as a documentary. I had to give it up simply because I could no longer tolerate that at least 10% of all customers sat down with the pure 'intention' of scamming us, getting a free meal or touting for some free drinks because they claimed the food was wrong, didn't taste right or said the waiter made a mistake. I was very naive until I discussed this with others in the 'hospitality' field where they laughed and told me I had a "lot to learn"!
I guess it was a good lesson, I am the most forgiving person now if someone does make a genuine mistake or things don't turn out exactly as planned. Seeing it from the 'other side' of the desk/bar is sure an eye-opener.
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Jan 27th, 2004, 09:08 AM
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james...very interesting perspective...i had never thought of it in those terms...i think you are right...so many people want to get something for nothing or arrive with inflated expectations....not that you should not arrive with normal expectations...and everything given above normal would be a delight....

it just seemed unusual to me that this person from australia outlined two bad experiences on two different threads in complete opposition to what others have said about the same properties....of course everything is in the "eye of the beholder" and there-in lies the impressions....
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Jan 27th, 2004, 02:43 PM
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It appears difficult for some to comprehend that other's negative experiences and opinions are as valid as the person/s who had a trouble-free stay at both establishments. I wonder why? I also wonder why one should appear "put out" by "this person from Australia" daring to say anything negative about some hotels. My expectations are my own and after many years (20 or so)in hospitality, managing Japanese businesses, I know the value and meaning of excellence. If expectations are high, the high room rates may be the cause of this. The accommodation and food at Pansea & the Royal Angkor are very high cost, as high as the Pen in BKK. We are talking third world countries here! Wages are 10% of USA yet the chains are charging USA five star rates! I feel obliged to let others know of the good and the BAD. How else can we make informed choices? Bob, did you bother to read what happended to us at Pansea? By the way we do not expect to receive a "free" anything-just an apology! I received one from Sofitel Angkor this morning!
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Jan 27th, 2004, 05:33 PM
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Lyndie, If you paid as much for the Pansea as for the Pen, then you should be unhappy. I paid US$105 including tax, service and breakfast at the highest season. I considered it an excellent value.

I have the sense that this dispute is more over what is acceptable service. My experiences in Laos, Cambodia and VN is that they are not up to Thai (or Japanese) standards of service, despite their good will. If I expected (as you apparently do) to have that level of service in these countries that are just beginning to develop tourism, I expect I would often be disappointed. I feel I have to expect that there will be minor glitches in these places, and in my experiences the glitches have only been minor. Of course, in these countries, it is very important to them to please their guests, and they do their best, but the combination of the language barriers and the lack of availability of some things means that it won't always be perfect. If a guest becomes angry and raises their voice, then there are additional problems related to this serious breach of etiquitte.

Would I have felt that my stay was spoiled by no help with luggage (Sofitel Angkor) or not getting a room overlooking the pool (Pansea) or whatever the problem was at Hoi An? Probably not. But for you that was unacceptable.
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Jan 27th, 2004, 05:47 PM
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Kathie, do you and Bob hold shares in Pansea and Accor groups? Only joking!!!I feel so good about the Sofitel's apology and the Pansea's kind offer at Yangon that I'm going off to have a champers to celebrate. Bye.
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Jan 28th, 2004, 08:45 AM
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I think the point is if you are paying 'top dollar' you should be entitled to the BEST. If I had been charging $30 for a meal instead of the average take of under $8 then I think perhaps I would be willing to polish the customer's shoes while they eat. IF you are paying for top class then you should get it. If you are paying bargain cheap prices then accept that and don't expect more.
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Jan 30th, 2004, 09:31 PM
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James A- I totally and unreservedly agree with your summary. The reason for our complaints to the two hotels mentioned was because we had paid USD 150-USD160 at each per night and the value was not evident in any shape or form. In Bangkok USD150-160 figure buys one the best. When we stayed at Saibadee Guesthouse in Luang Prabang we paid US10 for a perfectly nice room without the frills but with air and a king bed & ensuite. The people there made our stay perfect and the value for money was excellent. You have hit the nail right on the head & thanks for your opinion.
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