We stayed at the Chang Inn for three nights at the end of our 2 week Vietnam/Laos holiday. It is located at the quiet end of town (although compared to most of South East Asia all of Luang Prabang is quiet) on the main street. Everything is easily within walking distance in Luang Prabang but the Chang Inn is particularly well located. We had room 4 which is above reception at the front of the hotel, but did mean we were able to see the monks taking alms early in the morning as they walk right past the hotel.
The Chang Inn is based on an old house, and so undoubtedly suffers from the noise issue that other reviewers have mentioned. Whether it is particularly bad at the Chang Inn, or not, I can’t judge without experience of the others. However, we were disturbed by all of the following; phone ringing in reception, “sounds” from other rooms, tuck-tucks outside, the emergency “power cut” alarm, the morning call to alms drum / gong, and innumerable other things during our stay. The power seemed to be cut quite often resulting in the emergency light coming on, and the air conditioning going off.
The room itself was a reasonable size, although probably feels smaller than it is due to the dark furniture and dark wood ceiling. The bed was huge, comfortable, and with nice clean linen. However, it is missing a few very basic amenities. There is no TV (which suited us fine), no tea / coffee making facilities (again not a problem for us), and no bedside reading lights. This was more of an issue and is something the hotel really should look to remedy. The bathroom was small with a large walk in shower, and lovely shampoo, soap etc. Perfectly adequate in other words.
The Chang Inn is undoubtedly very pretty and quaint, and is filled with lovely pieces of furniture. It has a wonderful calm ambience in no small part due to the staff. One of the other reviews called them “the nicest staff in any hotel anywhere”. I would go further and say they may be the nicest people anywhere. Although there is undoubtedly a language barrier, they are always smiling, ever willing to try and help, and calm and calming as so many Lao are. A real delight and a huge asset to the Chang Inn.
Breakfast is served either in the rear garden or the front terrace area, and is a choice of American or Continental. We only ate in the hotel for one of our mornings which perhaps tells you something... The American breakfast includes your choice of eggs (the omelette was ok, but no better), and bread with butter and jam. In a town that contains some excellent bakeries, and widespread knowledge of how to cook proper baguette and croissants it wouldn’t be hard to improve this significantly. The coffee, as almost everywhere in Luang Prabang, is sublime. Smooth, nutty - almost chocolattey - and oh so smooth it really is as good as they say. I always take coffee with milk, but the lack of a bitter taste means that you don’t have to in Luang Prabang. Try it! The orange juice was also very good indeed. Freshly squeezed, and it tasted amazing with a wider citrus flavour than just orange.
The greatest strength of the Chang Inn is the fact that it is not very westernised. As is often the case it is also it’s biggest weakness. With a few changes I think this review would be glowing, and imploring readers to go and stay there. They really need to think a bit about soundproofing and try to make some changes to the structure without losing the character of the hotel - this is somewhat forgivable in an older building. Less forgivable is the lack of decent lighting in the rooms. Lovely bedside lights can be had for $5 in the market. The breakfast could easily and cheaply be ratcheted up a few notches. It is with a heavy heart that I can’t really recommend the Chang Inn as a place to stay. There are many wonderful and reasonably priced hotels in Luang Prabang, and I sadly find it hard to believe that some are not a better choice.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Upon entering Café de Laos Inn, sister property of Burasari Heritage, you will be instantly charmed by the simple pleasures of this traditional yet modern colonial style guest house with all the warmth, friendliness and generosity from the local Lao people. Located right in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is the ideal base to explore the National Museum, Royal Palace, the tempting night market and to take in all of the flavors of this ancient town. imagine you self sat on the hotel terrace with a fresh drink, overlooking the inspiring daily morning monk alms ceremony passing by. A truly special location. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Chang Hotel Luang Prabang
- Chang Hotel Luang Prabang