Best for miles
Sala Done Khone is the best property of both Don Khon and Don Dhet. The hotel has metastasized into several accommodation, each boasting a completely different style. The key to happiness is to pick the one right for you.
Think “heritage-charm” rather than “modern luxury” and that will set the right expectations for all of the hotel’s options. The standout is the restored French colonial building, the property’s flagship. Located on the non-Mekong side of the road, the heritage house was built in 1896 as the timber trading headquarters of Les Messageries Maritimes company. It was converted into a hotel in 1995.
There are three original rooms, with three additionally built, all in the same style with high ceilings, stunning old tiles, fancy chairs and all manner of old world decoration. Of course there are now modern amenities like air-con and a great bathroom with hot water. Not surprising, these rooms are popular so book in advance.
Laos has plenty of riverfront bungalows but very few travellers can boast they’ve actually spent the night on the Mekong River. Our favourite and the most unique accommodation of the entire 4000 Islands are the floating bungalows, rooms on rafts. Watch the world drift by from your bed—the experience is akin to staying in a house boat. The rooms are comfortable and well appointed, with a minifridge, tea/coffee station, wooden floor boards, desk, safety box, air-con and ensuite bathroom, the shower within a rather small corner stall.
Hey, jumping into the Mekong from the deck is an option, though we’d rather use the swimming pool (conveniently just behind the river bungalows) or stay on the deck to enjoy the killer sunset—this has to be the best seat on the island.
Adjacent to the historic building are the Ban Lao Classic, three traditional Lao houses, raised bungalows built on timber posts: clean, cute and cozy. And finally, our least favourite is the Ban Din rooms. The tile floor and colourful plaster walls were more fitting for a desert pueblo, too oddly styled for our taste. The garden shrouds the windows causing the interior to be rather dark. They’ve tried to make these rooms more modern and it seems like a mismatch, though the bathroom is funky, creating an outdoor bathroom feel with a rainshower surrounded by pebbles and potted plants.
The room rate includes breakfast, and the riverfront restaurant is another top sunset spot and the place to get WiFi. The hotel is popular with small tour groups who stay only a night. Independent travellers get a discount for staying two or more nights and the low season rates are a steal.
By Cindy Fan
Last updated on 11th February, 2017.
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