I was quite amazed to reaad Beerlao's review - hardly seems like the same place! I stayed there for 5 nights in March 08 and had a great time. Admittedly, yes, I was told to catch a tuk tuk for my airport pick-up, but that wasn't a killer.
I had a superior room, booked via Lonely Planet, and for $18 USD a night, I had traiditional Laos furniture (said matress near floor), my own bathroom and air-con. The room opened out onto a balcony which had lots of furtniture and a hammock which I spent many an afternoon idly swinging in with a Beerlao.
There were other guests there who were just as happy as I was with the venue. And, the 'Aussie' is a Kiwi, and just appears gruff. Lovely guy when you talk to him.
Oh, and out of town is about a ten minute amble. Vientiane is hardly a sprawling metropolis.More