6km from Jinaimo, VientianeREVIEW – La Ong Dao Hotel 1, Vientiane 02-04 May 2018 This trip was my second in six months, having stayed there in December 2017. Back then I was pretty ambivalent to the place as it is, after all, a hotel catering to cheap package tours and those wanting a place close to the Royal Thai Consulate for visas. Or a combination of those two. Where to start with this review? Ah, yes, check-in. CHECK-IN Check in took twenty-five minutes. For some reason, even though I booked online six weeks prior, they couldn’t find it. Or didn’t know how. I logged onto their free, quite speedy, Wi-Fi and downloaded the app. Logged in and showed them – by “them” I mean all three of the reception staff - the booking. Even then they asked how long the booking was for (two nights) what type of bed (a large one, singles are too short for me, even though my friend is just a friend) and do I want a late check out (no). Then they had obviously forgotten how to use the EFTPOS machine for me to pay via MasterCard – probably hadn’t done it since my last trip, I don’t know. Then, after they had cleared the jam in the receipt mechanism of the machine, I finally got the electronic key for the room. THE ROOM Ground floor, facing out the back. Excellent, I thought, no street noise. Quick scan of the place, and everything seemed satisfactory: free shower caps, toothbrushes and paste, a comb, soap, shampoo and shower gel. Two free bottles of water, and a selection of snacks and beverages on the bench. I thought, that’s weird why aren’t the beers and sodas in the… hold on! Where’s the fridge? And the kettle for boiling water for the cup noodles? Such items were not there. Nor was there an item menu or price list. Sure, there was a nice LCD screened TV with absolutely appalling reception, and a hard-wired hairdryer which looked like an electrocution waiting to happen, but no fridge. This made us look a little closer at the room. I pulled back the cover of the bed, as there was a nice brown stain on the sheet. And God-knows-what stains on the headboard. While looking at the headboard, my travelling companion noticed a used, soiled condom on the floor behind the bed. Charming! Fortunately, there was a staff member just outside cleaning the room opposite so we got that remedied as we went out for a beer and some dinner. Upon return from Bar The Way, I showered. Excellent water pressure and heat, and towelled off and dressed before I re-entered the room proper, stepping on the bathroom mat outside the ensuite door to dry the soles of my feet as I did so. It was so filthy I left slightly muddy watery footprints on the tiled floor. The air conditioner was fine. SLEEP QUALITY Even after ensuring the sheets had actually been laundered, we slept fully clothed. Well, I say “sleep” in that we would have slept if the people that live out the back of the hotel – or staff living quarters, I have no idea – had shut up and not nattered on until well past one a.m.