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“An oasis in town”

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Settha Palace Hotel
Ranked #10 of 93 Hotels in Vientiane
Certificate of Excellence
Barr
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“An oasis in town”
Reviewed 3 May 2013

Although we only spend 2 nights at this hotel in between a trip to Luang Prabang and our return to Singapore, and even though we arrived late one evening and our return was early after the second night, it was enough time to appreciate this palace in the midst of the capital. A very quiet place with friendly staff - dare I say quite 'colonial' - especially, we had the treat from the catering manager, he turned out to come from Alsace in France 40 km down the road where we live. And, I almost forgot, the swimming pool setting; to lie on your back in the pool and see the sun getting ready to go to bed through the palm trees and the exotic flora, well what more can you wish for after a busy day chasing, stupas and temples.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Jorgen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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423 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (59)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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Kuala Lumpur
Level 6 Contributor
161 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2013

Actually this review is long overdue as I traveled in late 2011. stayed in Settha Palace twice over the two years. Its a lovely opulent and well maintained old world hotel. We traveled from the airport in style in a 1960's London cab. Staff have always been courteous and attentive.
One night we decided to dine in the hotel restaurant, the manager came out introduced himself and we were very well intended.
We do plan to eventually come back to the Settha but do have a few suggestions. The toiletries in the room were too basic and not befitting a high end heritage hotel. Breakfast was bland and unexceptional. The quality needs to be improved.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Wishdocbrian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 March 2013

The Settha Palace is a well maintained, elegant sanctuary in Vientiane. It has a charming entrance and bar, the restaurant decor is also nice with attentive, if shy, service. The swimming pool is a big plus on hot and sometimes dusty days in Vientiane. The room was a good size, elegant and comfortable but the bed was a bit on the hard side (as a lot are in Asia). We were picked up from the airport in a great old London cab which our kids enjoyed. We needed an extra bed in the room which was arranged quickly and without fuss, although the price at USD65 per night was too steep. We definitely recommend the Settha Palace as the place to stay in Vientiane.

Room Tip: Rooms facing the street are a little bit noisier at night, but didn't bother us at all.
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Fred_Nerkos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
637 reviews
152 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 661 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2013

My spouse and I stayed at the Settha Palace for three nights in mid-February 2013. The French colonial-style hotel, built in the early 1930s, is located in the city center area, within easy walking distance of restaurants, shopping, and sights. In researching possible places to stay, we though the Settha Palace sounded like the best fit for us, but we saw other hotels in our walks around, and many of them looked acceptable, for example, the Lao Plaza Hotel was near the Settha Palace, and would have worked nicely for us. We also considered the Mercure/Novotel and Don Chan Palace, but we found that those two hotels were located a bit too far from town [not walkable].

It is a 10-minute drive to the Settha Palace Hotel from the Vientiane Wattai International Airport in a vintage classic car (a London taxi); a charge of $11 total is added to your hotel bill to cover the one-way transfer. Generally, when a hotel of this supposed caliber picks us up from the airport, the driver provides a cold bottle of water and a cold cloth, but that nicety was not offered by the Settha Palace. We expected more personal pampering from what was reported to be the best hotel in town.

An attendant always mans the doors to the Settha Palace, and happily greets you with folded hands and a cheerful “Sabaidee!)” The lobby of the Settha Palace holds a few small tables and chairs, along with a desk/computer for use by the guests. The hotel has a formal indoor bar and restaurant, and casual poolside outdoor bar/restaurant during daytime hours. According to their website, the brick patio in front of the hotel also offers casual dining, but we never saw anyone sitting there, even though the setting seemed serene with a large fountain on the patio. The swimming pool is a lovely relaxing oasis, with attractive landscaping/palm trees and featuring teak lounge chairs with blue cushions and matching blue pool towels. No poolside (chairside) service is offered, which we expected from a hotel of this level.

The Settha Palace does not have an online booking system, so we had to email the hotel to inquire about availability. We were told that the Deluxe Rooms (for $193 per night) were booked, but that a Junior Suite was available ($250 per night). The most luxurious option is the Executive Suite ($340 per night), which sounded appealing because it had an extra half-bathroom in the living room, but that nightly rate was more than we wanted to spend. (There are many, many guesthouses in Laos where you can stay for as little as $15 per night, depending on your comfort level.) Some of the rooms in the hotel are accessed from outside (some using their own small staircase), and other rooms are accessed from inside the main building.

The hotel seemed devoid of guests during our entire stay there (despite it being the high season). We saw another couple at the pool one afternoon, and we saw two couples in the restaurant having breakfast, but we never saw anyone in the indoor bar, on the front patio, or walking around the building or grounds.

Our room (number 216, a Junior Suite) was perfect for us - with a living room and bedroom, we had some space to spread out for our 3-night stay. The living area contained a sofa, two side chairs, and small dining table for four people; however, there was no TV in the living room. (There was an outlet on the wall where it looked like a TV should be placed, though.) The living room and bedroom were separated by louvered folding doors, and the bedroom housed a king-size 4-poster bed, desk and chair, wardrobe, and TV console. Louvered doors weren’t as good as complete doors, because they let some light and sound through, and had to be retracted if the person in the living room needed to use the bathroom even though someone was sleeping in the bedroom. The TV console held the stocked mini-bar (sodas and beers were $3 to $4 each), and the wardrobe held the electronic safe, robes (very, very TINY robes!), and slippers. Complimentary drinking water was provided each day; however, it was in glass bottles that had a paper strip seal over the top, and I was a bit dubious about drinking it. There is no smoking in the rooms (actually, we did not ask, and we did not actually see any signs posted about not smoking, but we just assumed that because we did not see any ashtrays that it was not allowed). Our room had no clock, which we missed; therefore, it was necessary to request a wake-up call from the front desk every day. The rooms have very high ceilings, with windows to match; the windows open, but none of the rooms in this hotel has a balcony (we thought that there were balconies based on some photos that we saw online, but we were mistaken by the camera angle). Bathrooms are a decent size, with separate soaking tub and shower. The shower has no shelf on which to place toiletries, so we had to leave our bottles on the floor, which was a little messy because they ended up floating in the standing water while we showered.

Our room was always clean, perhaps a little too clean on one particular day. One morning, I had an issue with one of my contact lenses, so I removed it and opened a new packet with a new lens. I put the old lens in the new packet, and placed the packet on the back ledge of the bathtub that abutted the wall. The tub also contained a wider side ledge where we had place our toiletry kits and other items, so there were a good amount of our personal items around the edge of the tub. When we returned from our day of touring, the contact lens packet was completely gone! I probably would not have reused it anyway, but it was the only spare lens that I had, so I did not want to throw it away until we checked out of the hotel the next morning. We can understand how the cleaning person might have accidentally knocked it over and realized that the lens was lost, but to just completely throw it away and hope that we did not notice it seemed wrong!

No extensive turndown service occurs at the Settha Palace (again, which we expected from the best hotel in town). There was a sort of turndown service, but they literally just turned down the bedcovers and replaced missing toilet paper. In other hotels of this caliber, we find that the turndown services usually place a little linen mat at your bedside, upon which they position slippers, and they set out bottled water and a small sweet treat on the nightstand. Sometimes they even provide a weather forecast for the following day. A full turndown generally includes towel replacement, toiletry replenishment, and trash pick-up, none of which happened at the Settha Palace. (We got that kind of turndown at our next hotel in Luang Prabang, so it is not unheard of in Laos.) The toiletries at the Settha Palace are paltry - one miniature bottle of combination conditioning shampoo and one equally small bottle of shower gel (but no conditioner or body lotion). Annoyingly, we always seemed to be out of toilet tissue - even though there was always a full roll on the dispenser and another on the shelf, by morning, we were always out. (In Laos, a roll of toilet tissue does not hold very much, certainly not like our double or triple rolls in the United States!)

Breakfast at La Belle Epoque was included in our room rate and featured a buffet of hot and cold items, along with cooked-to-order eggs. We are neither coffee drinkers nor juice drinkers, so usually hotels allow a soft drink substitution as part of the meal, but that was not true at the Settha Palace. We received a bar bill every morning (approximately $6 for two Diet Cokes). On the first morning, we did not have to sign a bill for our drinks (so we actually thought that they might be included as a substitution), so on the second morning, we again left without signing, only to have the waiter ringing the doorbell to our room holding the folio for us to sign. (We felt like we had skipped out without paying the bill!) We viewed the dinner menu at La Belle Epoque, and found the prices quite high ($30+ for an entrée) by Vientiane standards; the restaurant seemed a little more formal than what we wanted, plus we enjoyed exploring the city streets at night in search of a restaurant at which to dine. La Belle Epoque has a private dining room for small functions, and there is a larger banquet facility space near the swimming pool that seemed in frequent use.

Restaurant and bar choices within walking distance of the Settha Palace are numerous, as are shops and stores selling packaged food and drinks (convenience stores). We shopped daily at the M-Point Mart near the corner of Samsenthai and Pangkham. Be aware that most stores and restaurants do not take credit cards unless your bill totals about $30, and trust us, your bill will almost never be that much - not for happy hour nor even a multi-course dinner! Every morning, in a little dirt alley across from the Settha Palace, are a few food wagons and tables selling prepared meats and vegetables. You can buy food to eat for breakfast or lunch for very reasonable prices (a complete meal for under $5 for two people). It is also a good photo opportunity if you like to see how locals live. There are additional food vendors on many corners, where you can pick up a kebob of meat or a roasted banana for less than $1.

We enjoyed our stay at the Settha Palace, and think that it is one of the better options in Vientiane at this price and service level, but we would probably investigate staying at the Lao Plaza (although a thoroughly modern hotel, not historical like the Settha) or perhaps the Ansara (with its premium city location, although it doesn’t have a swimming pool).

Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
9 Thank fluffnfold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boulder
Level 6 Contributor
273 reviews
85 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 238 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 March 2013

Beautiful building, good service, and quiet. What else can one ask for? Breakfast was in the charming restaurant area and for some reason few were dining there when we did our two mornings at the hotel. We did not dine at the hotel for our dinners in Vientiane so cannot comment on the restaurant.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Monty1424
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dorset
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2013

Lovely old building in one of the many scruffy streets but central for restaurants and the river. Rooms good size and bathrooms fine. Limited glass bottle water, one has to call for more and decant to plastic. Rugs in room tend to slip and also ruck so can be a hazard especially emerging from bathroom. Our rooms had no guide to hotel, only details on room service.
Pool pleasant.]
Restaurant caters for the businessman; Breakfast had the cheeses and cold meats sweating on the platters.
Dinner with steamed rice succeeded in bringing latter tepid and dry at the edges. Complaint brought a repeat version; one membe ate this and suffered badly as the result. Mistranslation from French to English unforgivable.
New management has not trained staff up yet, and the showed lack of direction.
Morning call system was set 15 minutes early - not good!
The bed was comfortable, there was dust under the wardrobe, wouldn't run back there.

Room Tip: north facing in summer for coolth; but not for noise.
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank randc09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
456 reviews
78 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 198 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2013

We thought this hotel would be up to high standards as w those we had already booked thoughout Laos. Our room on the ground floor seemed in a cornor at first no outlook but after reading other peoples problems it was probadly the best of the worst. The room smelt of smoke and we were assured all rooms were non smoking. On arriving a staff member was carrying a machine out which was probadly an air freshner. The staff also sprayed the room at night.
As other people mentioned the ammeneties were poor for a 4 star hotel. Our tea bags and sugar were not refilled it was as if staff were in a rush to turn down.
The room was not cleaned to a high standard as you would expect,
The pool area was dirty and the towels also looked dirty and had ants in them. The sun beds were taken by outsiders, who seemed to think they could use them all and leave dirty towels there. There should be no outsiders as the ones coming in at our stay were backpackers. with luggage as well.
We only had breakfast in the hotel which was ok but items did not get filled up and we had to ask twice for bacon.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the area for resonable and excellent food & wine.
This is the second time we have been to Vientianne and we went to see come of the sights on our own this time not with a tour. Go around the cornor to get a Tuk Tuk there are plenty and better value than the drivers seeing you come from a hotel..
Our hotel the first time was the 3 star City Inn and we thought this time we would go a little more up market. We were wrong the city Inn was better value cleaner and the staff more pleasant Settha Placae was a dissapointing hotel for the high cost.

Room Tip: choose rooms away from main road
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank 918teresah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Settha Palace Hotel

Property: Settha Palace Hotel
Address: 6 Pang Kham Street | PO Box 1618, Vientiane 0100, Laos
Region: Laos > Vientiane Province > Vientiane
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Vientiane
#4 Family Hotel in Vientiane
#6 Spa Hotel in Vientiane
#6 Romantic Hotel in Vientiane
#7 Luxury Hotel in Vientiane
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Settha Palace Hotel 4.5*
Number of rooms: 29
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The 1930s French colonial heritage building, with high ceilings, period furniture and lighting, beautiful Italian-marble floors and richly crafted rosewood furniture at this luxurious colonial hotel will take you a step back in time. Beautifully restored to its former charm, the Settha Palace is a hotel you will never forget. Relax by the free-form pool with beautifully landscaped surroundings. Indulge your appetite at our French Mediterranean restaurant, La Belle Epoque. Stay connected with modern facilities like wireless internet service. Now with free WIFI in all public areas of the hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Settha Palace Vientiane
Hotel Settha Palace

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