Review: Settha Palace, Vientiane, Laos
Updated: Jun 22, 2018
A colonial oasis amidst the hustle, bustle and pulsating vibes of Vientiane, Settha Palace is extremely old school charming. Loaded with fascinating history, gorgeous Victorian furniture and a fantastic restaurant I can’t think of a more luxurious home in Vientiane.
I step into the Lobby and I’m awestruck by the beautiful wrought iron chandeliers before me. I look around me and see stunning furniture everywhere: solid oak tables with intricate carvings, high back chairs upholstered in bright floral fabrics and a beautiful wooden staircase with railings that run through the entire hotel.
I stand there astounded when a friendly “Sabai dee” reminds me that I am in Laos and not the lady of a colonial mansion (alas). I’m handed a lemony fresh welcome drink with a smile and friendly service that I’ll soon grow very accustomed to.
Couples and Luxury addicts. Settha has a gorgeous pool and come evening when the lights are switched on and the landscaping is highlighted, it becomes an extremely romantic spot for an evening swim. The suites are especially dreamy and with all the comforts right at your doorstep (including breakfast in bed for honeymooning couples). It is perfect for some one on one quality time. Oh, and they also do great honeymoon packages.
To being with: The rosewood four poster bed. It was all so lovely, starting from the pretty covers to the down feather pillows to the “make you sleep in a second” mattresses. I’d been travelling for a while before I got to Vientiane and I couldn’t have had a more comfortable bed. I sank into it, literally. Once I managed to look past the bed I turned my attention to the colonial décor in the room with its high ceilings, wooden floorboards, large marble bedside lamps and a charming writing desk in the corner.
I drew back my curtains and opened my windows and the smells of the lush garden filled the room immediately. For someone who’s grown up in a household filled with flowers, I felt right at home. Everything felt so perfect yet very real and not overdone in the least.
The bathrooms are impeccable too and come with a marble bathtub equipped with a standing shower, a telephone and all of the toiletries you could possibly need.
One of my favourite things about Settha is that no matter which room you are in you are never looking at a wall. All rooms have either a garden or a pool view. Where the bigger suites win is in terms of the space. The Executive Suite in the hotel is stupendous: with its separate living room, a second bathroom for visitors, large wooden coffee tables and beautiful decor. However in my opinion it’s too large.
My vote for best room goes to the Junior Suite, its perfect. The size of the room is just right and it has everything that the Executive Suite does except it has one normal sized bathroom and the TV is a tad smaller. My favourite features in both these rooms are the charming lamps, portraits and marble dining tables that seat up to four individuals.
Eating and drinking
You are in South East Asia so you know delicious food is never more than a stone’s throw away. Out of all the lovely eateries in Laos my favourite was Makphet. The name translates to spice and the curries there are to die for. What’s more, this a restaurant with a cause where the food is prepared by street youth in training.
However I must say that despite the multitudinous options do no miss out on the Hotel restaurant “La Belle Epoque” which serves both Laos and French cuisine. I tried two Laos specialties here, the Laos pork sausage and Laap (a mixture of meat with mint, vegetables and other herbs, almost like a salad of sorts). Both the dishes were deliciously spicy, the meat perfectly cooked and the veggies were all seasonal and fresh.
The list of extras in Settha palace is endless. Top votes go to the Pool Bar, the spacious conference room that was actually once a ball room and the free wifi that is available throughout the hotel. Special mention goes to the quaint airport pick up and drop service where you’re greeted not just by your friendly chauffer but also by a fancy refurbished London Taxi.
There are also talks of a Spa coming up in the spacious garden area.
Out and about
Settha Palace is very well located smack dab in the middle of the city. The oldest temple in Vientiane Wat Si Saket, which is now a museum, is also less than a kilometre away. Then there are other Wats that are well worth a visit such as Wat Si Muang and Wat Ong Theu. If you feel like familiarizing yourself with Laos’ tumultuous history then the Laos National Museum is extremely close at hand.
All said and done, the best thing about Vientiane is the Mekong River, a mere kilometre away from Settha Palace. The Mekong Riverfront is lined with shops selling everything from clothes, paintings, beers to milkshakes with huge chunks of jelly (it’s quite delicious). Try to make it to the riverfront during the sunset and unwind while watching the sunk sink with a cold Beer Lao in hand.
The hotel can also help you arrange day excursions to nearby sights such as Thatsone Waterfalls or Vang Xang temple ruins.
Hotel address: 6 Pang Kham Street, P.O. Box: 1618, Vientiane, Lao PDR
Phone number: (856-21) 217581-2
Starting standard price for a double room: $280 ($380 and $480 for the Junior Suite and Executive Suite respectively)
NOTE: This article was originally published on World Travel Guide