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Saynamkhan River View
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Reviews (194)
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All reviewswooden houseadjoining restaurantbalcony patiothe main streetasian breakfastnight marketthe ground floorbreakfast providedbasic amenitiesunesco world heritagethe location is perfectnamkhan riverwould stay againearly morningwalking distancebamboo bridgetak bat
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Reviewed 14 September 2012

i thought this place was amazing. it had a real community feel about it. the guy behing the front desk was a bit rude but everyone else was lovely. you all ate on your balcony together for breakfast and they closed your shutters at night. it was so peaceful i just wanted to stay there forever. its in a litle shady corner overlooking the river and is just a short walk to the main street. i would highly recommend this place its lovely!!!

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Rebecca V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2012

Several weeks prior to our visit to Luang Prabang to visit our family and friends we made our personal phone call from Singapore to the Saynamkhan Hotel for a nine night stay. This reservation was made by my Loa wife who was born and grew up in Luang Prabang (I am a Westerner who had lived in Luang Prabang for a number of years), therefore there was no problem communication in the Lao language to a male Lao receptionist. My wife clearly and specifically stated that we had two young children under 3 years and that we would like to book the rooms with Singaporean Dollar Rates and NOT American Dollar Rates and that we would pay with Singapore Currency ( we now reside in Singapore ). This was reinforced that it was going to be Singaporean rates as we could have gone to a nearby and better hotel for the American dollar rates. He said, that there would be no problem and he would proceed with our reservation – we also told him that we would not take breakfast there (thus another saving for them) as we had made other arrangements. We requested the Old Wooden room attached to the main brick building as it was slightly larger than the main rooms in the brick building and it would suit the two young children better. I may also add that my wife’s Lao sister was with the reception man while my wife was on the phone from Singapore, and she was witnessed to this conversation in regards to our booking and she identified the male receptionist, but unfourtanly she was out of town when we were checking out.

When we arrived we were never asked to show our passport, nor did they ask for a deposit and nor did they show us the rates of the rooms. The only “extra “was one mattress on the floor next to our bed for our 3 year old. We gave them extra business by having my wife’s Loa family stay in two rooms for two nights while they visited us and their grandchildren. They stayed in a small end room in the main brick building.

I wanted to pay them on the day before we left as our plane left early in the morning and this would make it easier for all concerned. My wife gave the full amount to the receptionist and as agreed upon it was in Singapore Dollars. He accepted it, but we needed change from the $ 400 SGD and he was going to get this from his Manger/Owner ?. My wife went back later, and the Western Manger/Owner of the Saynamkhan Hotel was very rude, and gave the Singaporean money back to my wife, and said he would not accept this as it has to be in American Dollars. My wife was upset and informed me about this, and I requested to speak to him and explain about our prior agreement.

The Western Manger/owner became aloof, arrogant and completely inflexible about our explanation even when we informed him that the communication was from one Lao person to another Loa male Receptionist and so there was no misunderstanding of this arrangement. We based our decision to come here, even though we could have gone to a better Guest House than the Saynamkhan Hotel if we had paid in American Dollars – the only reason we were here was mainly for location, and we had stayed there several years ago. He was totally inflexible and unaccommodating and would not believe my wife, and he said that his female receptionist had not agreed to Singapore Dollar rates (he continued to state it was “she “who took the reservation – in the nine days we stayed here, there was no female receptionist).

This conflicting issue continued for almost half an hour, in a shoe box outdoor reception area, with only an overhead canopy to stop the weather elements. It was now pouring with rain, my wife is six months pregnant, and we have a 20 month old child and a three year old waiting outside as he continued to be obstinate, insensitive, and completely rigid in all matters pertaining to this money issue. He more or less implied that my wife that she was not telling the truth, and that his receptionist would not have made this error. He also went on about all the “extras “he had provided such as the mattress on the floor for our three years old (this was already agreed upon with the children using a single “bed “ ). We had no breakfast there, and the toiletry we barely used until the last two days or so. Our children were well behaved for that age, and there were no other extras, unless he included the two small bottles of complentary water to which most Guest Houses provide in Luang Prabang.

After close to 45 minutes and without any gesture of good will or comprise or better still to admit that his receptionist may have made an error in communication about the Singapore Dollar rate. With our children now getting restless, the rain was still pouring down, my Loa wife been told that she was not telling the truth, and now her father would soon be arriving to spend that last night to spend with us to see his grand children – I had had enough, and I told him that he was basically breaking every professional rule in the book for guest hospitality, and not once did he indicate that they/he could be wrong and nor did he offer any gesture of good will to rectify this embarrassing situation that he put our family in .

So in the end, I said , I would split the difference between the Singaporean Dollar and US dollar and I would pay for my wife’s family’s room visit in US Currency and we would cancel her father’s room for that night ( we located him at a nearby and compatible guest house for less money than the Saynamkhan Hotel ) . Even then after much deliberation he was very hesitant to do this, and only with the encouragement of his Lao male receptionist did he reluctantly agree to my compromise. The bottom line for this Manager was always about the Dollar, I may also add that the male Loa Receptionist did look uncorfortable when we spoke about talking to the Receptionist who registered us into the Saynamkhan Hotel.

Never have I witnessed such poor management, insensitivity, arrogance, inflexibility, accommodation in the running of a hotel that caters to the guests/tourist welfare – there was a total disregard for the guest rights and feelings, and there was not one ounce of hospitality by this Western Manger/Owner – I am still not sure of his position, as he never once demonstrated any form of greeting or acknowledgement to us in the nine days that we stayed there. I may also add that the Saynamkhan Hotel was almost empty during this time period.
As aside, we had to have the staff spray for mosquitoes; we were infested with Gecko (lizards), rain water flooded through our ground floor doors into our room. Guests moved directly upstairs from us before we left , and you could hear all their movement as the floor boards had no insulation ( and they were not noisy guests ), and the town Roosters who are very close by , did naturally crow in the very early hours of the morning for all to hear.

I had informed this Western Manger/Owner of the Saynamkhan Hotel that I may write this review in the Trip Advisor when I get back to Singapore , this did not deter him , and I also informed him that he was breaking every basic tourism/hospitality rule possibly in running a successful and hospitable hotel. This review may have had a more of a positive twist if he had made some gestures to meet us half way to resolve this issue, and or stated that there had been a lack of communication from his staff, and that I will make sure our staff learns from their error and not to put all the blame on their customer. Clearly this Western Manger did not believe the old adage that the customer is always right. Perhaps that is why the Saynamkhan Hotel has had similar bad reviews , and is currently in the lower third of all the Hotels and Guesthouse in Luang Prabang.

In conclusion, our nine day stay in Luang Prabang was very good, and this one bad experience with the Western Manger of the Saynamkhan Hotel does not reflect the authentic hospitality of the Loa people. There are many good and reputable guest houses in Luang Prabang (My Dream Boutique Resort, Lotus Villa Laos, and the award winning Mekong Riverview Hotel to name but a few) with a wide range of prices. Please take the time to read these TA reviews as it may help you with your choice of hotels because the wrong choice could but a damper on a good holiday in Luang Prabang, Lao.

Room Tip: Try the main buidling but the rooms are smaller but better and make sure your rates for the room are confirmed on arrival - you can still hear the roosters though
  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank aril12_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
yann m, General Manager at Saynamkhan River View, responded to this reviewResponded 21 August 2012

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your lengthy comment. You have mentioned that having lived in Luang Prabang for a number of years before (as you clearly stated) it should be known to you that in Lao PDR, most establishments only accept Lao Kip, US Dollars and Thai Baht. Besides having trouble with banking in the different currency into our bank account and hard for our staff to identify the currency they are not used to (counterfeit etc), it is advantages for you to be charged in US dollar as the SGD is higher than the USD ( SGD1 : USD0.7985 thereabouts).
You have mentioned that you have stayed at our hotel before and in addition requested specifically for the old wooden rooms (we emphasize the word ‘old’) and again what puzzles us is your complaint of insulation and noise when you knew that these are old wooden rooms. As for the geckos and roosters, we did write to them to move somewhere else but they replied that they are part of the natural surrounding in Lao PDR as well as in Asia and we should accept them as they are.

With all the points raised by you, and we having not collected a deposit from you, you have every right to decide to look for an alternative accommodation but you decided to stay for the whole nine (9) nights. We also felt dissapointed that you have threatened us by wanting to write tripadvisor if we did not accept your SGD (you forgot that we too have the option to reply to any comments to clarify in Tripadvisor) and you will not pay us and will walk out if your request was not accepted within 30 minutes. We are thankful to our local police who intervened and made you settle your bill.

Thank you.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2012

This was an excellent stay! Booked 3 nights and then 2 more at the desk. Better rate from them directly than on the Internet! Bathroom dark and shower head was broken, but the rest of the room was clean and comfortable. Beds very typical hard beds like elsewhere is SE Asia. Kettle was much appreciated in the room. Loved the doors opening up to a patio with comfy chairs and a side table. Breakfast was exactly the same every day, so by day 3 we were a little bored with it, but the staff was always attentive and friendly. Would recommend the hotel to others!

Room Tip: Try to get room on ground floor. The patio area was simply the BEST!!
  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Laurie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2012 via mobile

We booked 3 nights here. It was ok we had ground floor room. Literally the first room from reception it has a seating area outside which was good. Rooms were quite small and dark but the bed was quite hard, the bathroom was very standard. Great location just down the road from the main road with a nice market that came on at night. We thought it was a little expensive for what we got. Like I said. Not bad, not great

  • Stayed: May 2012
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2  Thank Davewithomson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2012

I stayed in this hotel in May for 2 nights after doing some research on tripadvisor. This seemed to be the best value for money as my gf and I were over budget on our travels at the time of arrival. We checked the pictures on the site and it looked like we were staying in the white building as photographed.
When we arrived we were greeted by a less than enthusiastic staff member who told us that the white building (new part) was full even though we saw nobody come in or out of there throughout our stay. We were told that we would have to stay in the older wooden building attached to the right side of the new building (you can just make it out in one of the hotels pictures). We were brought to our rooms to find that the room was dirty, smelly, the fridge had no water in it, no safe, ants in and around the bath, toilet, sink, bed etc. Reluctantly after a cull we decided we would continue on with our budget requirements and stay in our less than perfect room.
We awoke in the night to a loud chattering noise which once the light was turned on we discovered 2 lizards on the walls. We discovered that they have somewhat of a highway above the windows that allow them and any other creature smaller than a rooster to get in. Speaking of roosters, we awoke a few hours later to hear our new alarm clock going off with no intention of letting up until 10.30!
Tired and annoyed we decided we would go for breakfast. We met another unfriendly and less than enthusiastic member of staff who told us to go up the road (3 mins walk) to another restaurant where you can redeem a voucher for a free breakfast. This turned out to be no more than sliced bread, jam and cold coffee.
Afterwards we returned to the room to have our showers and go out for the day. I noticed that someone had been in our room as our wooden slat doors that lead onto the patio were open and just the light inner door with glass panes was closed. Passports and laptop on show of course as we had not expected them to clean the room. As I closed the curtain and began to get undressed I noticed someone trying to look in through the windows, covered by the thin layer of curtain material. After I exclaimed and went to the door the person who I had recognised as one of the hotel guys had run towards the white building pretending he hadn't been there. Tired, annoyed and still hungry I made it clear I was closing the outer doors for no more peeping tom games!
I have never showered with ants before then.
We left and went to a far better place nearby for the duration of our stay in Luang Prabang for similar price.
My gf and I would not trust the staff, we didn't like the rooms or the visitors in the night, we won't be coming back and would not recommend this to a friend.

  • Stayed: May 2012
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2  Thank gkxwing2002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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