Faded and eccentric
Phiawat Rd (small lane between Wat Si Muang and Don Chan Palace), Ban Phiawat, Vientiane T: (021) 218 907
Similar to its neighbour Mandala Boutique Hotel, Villa Manoly is a lovely 1960’s building set in spacious grounds.
These buildings are much coveted now in Vientiane because of their solid construction and for the mod design that brings the outdoors in and keeps rooms cool. But while Mandala’s interior has been fully updated, Villa Manoly seems like a relic of a bygone retro era, something you realise as soon as you walk into the lobby cluttered with a mishmash of antiques and old knickknacks. It’s also eerily deserted – some may have fun with the feeling of mystery and intrigued as there are tons of pleasant nooks, balconies and terraces to hideaway with a book.
We think the US$35 rooms in the original house are the best. They are large, feel fresher, get natural light and boast wood floors, a few tasteful pieces of solid wood furniture, a modern bathroom with bathtub and a large shared balcony that you’ll have to yourself as you’ll probably be the only person staying there. The rooms in the motel block style building are nothing to write home about. The bathrooms are older but you do get your own small terrace or balcony. The deluxe rooms upstairs are bigger and more private however none of the rooms in this building get much natural light.
The lovely pool area is another big selling point of this hotel. It’s clean, surrounded by relaxing gardens and very inviting in the midday heat. It feels like you are in a backyard rather than the grounds of a hotel which adds to the quirky feeling about this place. You half expect an aunt with a beehive hairdo to serve you Kool-Aid. Another quirk: don’t expect much service here. We got smiles from some staff but one young man who seemed to be managing the place was sullen and uncommunicative.
WiFi is available poolside and in some rooms and a simple breakfast is included in the price. Villa Manoly is on a lane running between Setthathirath Rd (turn right at Wat Si Meuang) and Fa Ngum Rd (near the road to Don Chan Palace). Renting a bicycle in town during your stay would be ideal to get around, it’s about a seven-minute bike ride or 25-minute walk to the city centre.
By Cindy Fan
Last updated on 1st July, 2015.