“Secluded Mekong island lodge near Champasak, set in the shadow of a Khmer spiritual mountain and opposite Wat Phou temple”
There are 13 stilted wooden bungalows threaded through the flower beds and well-tended gardens of the lodge. Each houses 2 identical rooms, most of them Superiors which face west across the main tributary of the Mekong, and have a private balcony with two chairs. The 2 Standard rooms face onto the garden and are thus considerably cheaper.
Rooms are spacious with polished wooden floors, fresh flowers and Lao silk textiles attractively draped on the beds (doubles or twins). Continuing the pachyderm theme, the wardrobe has 2 small elephant-head knobs. Lamps provide soft lighting and there are 2 small chairs, a desk and a table in the corner of rooms. Unexpectedly, the legs of the wooden corner table are carved in the shape of human feet. Old black and white European prints adorn the walls.
Ensuite bathrooms feature useful bamboo ladders for towels and loo rolls, plus a welcome supply of soaps, shampoos and bundles of fluffy white towels. You also get a hairdryer, and gushing hot water in a corner shower unit.
For those seeking a more upscale accommodation experience, you'd be advised to book the spacious 2-bedroomed neo-colonial The Residence, which has a stylish lounge area with kitchenette and honesty bar. French windows open out onto a wide veranda which overlooks the Mekong River. Additional amenities include an LCD TV and DVD player, CD player and air-con (there are a collection of DVDs to choose from). The Residence also benefits from full housekeeping services plus a security guard on patrol at night.
The majestic open-sided restaurant has superb views over the pool deck and river. It offers 2 set evening menus plus an a la carte selection - both Western and Lao - these change every day. With 3 platters on the set menu we went for this option, as a single a la carte dish costs nearly as much (we felt the charges a little pricey when elsewhere one can order the same dishes for one third of the cost, but all produce is brought over by boat daily).
A so-called 'afternoon snacks menu' starts at 2pm, but it's actually more like lunch. There's an eclectic choice - spaghetti with tomato sauce, pork fillet in mustard sauce and beef tenderloin with juniper berries. The pisaladiere topped with anchovies, black olive and onion strands was suitably salty; the tomato salad with viniagrette was tart. The best option is the tilapia fish fillet accompanied by lime jus and green onion.
After dinner, sip a cocktail or glass of wine at the bar or retire to the open-sided lounge and chill out with books and magazines. Filtered water is freely available at all meals.
Breakfast (included in the rates) is a hearty affair, ideal for those going on a bike ride: expect eggs, fruit salad, bread and a tasty plum jam. A limited breakfast service can be arranged in The Residence as its kitchenette is set up with microwave, coffee machine, kettle, toaster, pots, plates and cutlery - in short, everything needed to make breakfast or light snacks. It also has an honesty bar.
Those in The Residence can make light meals and snacks in their basic kitchenette, there's a small supermarket a short bike ride away.
Children are welcome, thought this feels more like an adult's retreat as there's not much for little ones to do. One child under the age of 5 is free of charge when staying in parents' bed. Baby cots and extra beds are available for a supplement.
Children (4-12 years)
We'd recommend The Residence which has 2 double or twin rooms and can fit an extra bed or baby cot, it also has a basic kitchenette (microwave, coffee/tea making, and a toaster). Both the Standard and Superior Rooms can fit an extra bed or baby cot, too.
There are children’s bikes and board games available.
Kids will enjoy walking in the nearby village and seeing farm animals.
The pool is deep and not fenced off.