Mai Chau Ecolodge, Review

Mai Chau Ecolodge | Independent Review

First published June 2024 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle

Tom, Vietnam Coracle

Tom Divers is the founder and creator of Vietnam Coracle. He’s lived, travelled and worked in Vietnam since 2005. Born in London, he travelled from an early age, visiting over 40 countries (he first visited Vietnam in 1999). Now, whenever he has the opportunity to make a trip, he rarely looks beyond Vietnam’s borders and his trusty motorbike, Stavros. Read more about Tom on the About Page, Vietnam Times and ASE Podcast.


Tucked away in the back lanes traversing the shimmering rice paddies of a picturesque valley surrounded by limestone karsts, Mai Châu Ecolodge is a beautifully designed property that’s perfect for a romantic weekend getaway from Hanoi or a holiday with children or a refuge for road-trippers after days in the mountains. Built using natural materials in the architectural style of the local villages, Mai Châu Ecolodge blends in with its pretty surrounds and encourages guests to be respectful to local culture, people and the environment. This comfortable rural retreat has a low-key ambience and a great location for exploring the countryside. Apart from Avana Retreat, this is as luxurious as accommodation in the Mai Châu region gets. [BOOK HERE]

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Review

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REVIEW: MAI CHAU ECOLODGE


Address: Nà Chiềng Village, Mai Châu District, Hòa Bình Province, Vietnam [MAP]

Average Rates: $70-$100/night


CONTENTS:

Map

The Location

Resort Grounds & Layout

Pools & Activities

Guest Rooms & Décor

Breakfast, Dining & Drinking

Summary

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Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

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MAP:

Mai Chau Ecolodge

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The Location: Situated on a hillock overlooking a sea of rice paddies, Mai Châu Ecolodge is part of Nà Phòn hamlet, just west of Mai Châu village. The property is accessed via narrow paved lanes through the rice fields, surrounded by looming, mysterious and often mist-shrouded limestone karst mountains. The scenery is fantastic, and although the ecolodge is in the middle of the countryside, it’s within walking (or cycling) distance of the local eateries in Mai Châu as well as other small Thái hamlets in the area. This is a great base from which to explore the Mai Châu valley on foot or on two wheels – you could easily spend a couple of days idly wandering the lanes and pathways through the fields, leading from one thatched hamlet to another.

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Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

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Resort Grounds & Layout: Comprised on over 40 thatched roofed villas arranged in a semi-circle on two levels, the resort is carefully planned so that each room has a terrace with rice field views. Stone pathways lead through tropical trees and flowers between the villas. At the top of the hillock, Orchid Restaurant stands at the centre of the property with the reception area below fronting onto the swimming pool and bar. Apart from the restaurant, the entire property features low-rise, one-storey structures which, from the outside, are indistinguishable from the Thái hamlets that dot the wider region. If it wasn’t for the barbed wire wall around the perimeter of the resort, Mai Châu Ecolodge would blend in almost seamlessly with its surrounds.

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

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Pools & Activities: The attractive swimming pool is good for a midday dip or late afternoon bathe or to keep the kids occupied, but it’s not large enough to swim laps. The Ecolodge offers free bicycles to guests, which is a great way to get out of the property and explore the lanes through the rice paddies to other hamlets. There’s an on-site spa with various therapies, including a long menu of massages. The resort can organize hikes and tours of sites in the general vicinity, including caves, waterfalls and Thái communities. Each night there’s a Thái music and dance performance at 8.30, which I think feels a little forced, but other guests seemed to enjoy.

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

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Guest Rooms & Décor: The thatched-roof rooms at the Ecolodge all feature décor and furnishings inspired by the local Thái population. Textiles, wooden utensils and wicker baskets adorn the walls; the floors are tiled; the ceilings feature bamboo cladding; the walls are bare stone or covered in earthy tones of stucco. In the bathroom there’s a large wooden tub and the outside shower and terrace are both very spacious. Most rooms have good views of the surrounding countryside. Of the room types available, Junior Deluxe is the best value for money, but all rooms are cosy and comfortable places to be

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

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Breakfast, Dining & Drinking: The Orchid Restaurant is upstairs from the reception, on the first floor of a wide, thatched structure with a wooden terrace overlooking the pool, rice fields and mountains. Dining outside is very pleasant, except when a cloud of insects descend, usually around dusk. Inside, the wide, timber-roofed, handsome dining area resembles a Viking banquet hall. Breakfast, included in the room rate, is a buffet featuring everything that you’d expect: from baked goods to local dishes to eggs any style. For lunch and dinner there’s an extensive à la carte menu, including some western options, but it’s better to order one of the set menus if you want a good local meal. The poolside bar serves teas, coffees, soft drinks, cocktails, and there’s a surprisingly decent selection of wine, too.

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

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Summary: Although lacking the intimacy of a homestay, the Ecolodge offers a level of comfort and amenities that only a couple of other properties in the Mai Châu valley currently do. Even though it is a relatively high-end property for the area, Mai Châu Ecolodge still maintains an attachment to the local landscape and culture via its discreet architecture, spectacular views and promotion of local food and products. When rates hover around $70-$80 per night, they represent value for money. As a romantic getaway for couples, a weekend retreat for families living in Hanoi or a treat for road-trippers after days of riding in the mountains, Mai Châu Ecolodge will meet your expectations.

*To check rates & make a booking for Mai Chau Ecolodge please BOOK HERE

Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

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Tom


Mai Chau Ecolodge, Hoa Binh, Vietnam

*Disclosure: I never receive payment for anything I write: my content is always free & independent. I’ve written this review because I want to: I like this resort & I want my readers to know about it. For more details, see my Disclosure & Disclaimer statements & my About Page

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