Once upon a time, in a far away land of indomitable warriors, there lived a prince whose father succumbs to illness. Now who doesn't want a piece of this fantasy world? So when the opportunity presented itself, I booked for a room at a palace-turned-hotel in Pakse. Wouldn't you?
The Champasak Palace was a former residence of the Prince of Champasak, Chao Boun Oum, the son of King Ratsadanay from the latter's 4th wife, Princess Sudhisaramuni. Boun Oum ascended to the throne in 1946 upon the death of his father. But he eventually renounced his rights to give way to a united royalty system that made Sisavangvong the ruler of the unified kingdom. He became Prime Minister of Laos from 1948 to 1950 where, as a sympathetic patron of the French colonial rule, he commanded a force of 15,000 to fight the Japanese Troops and the Lao Issara uprising of South Laos. In 1960, he once again became PM for two years, then retired from politics thereafter. When the communist group Pathet Lao (a movement closely associated with the Vietnamese communists) came to power in 1975, Boun Oum had to abandon his post, flew to France for medical treatment and never came back. Sounds familiar? History is really a vicious cycle of seemingly preordained events, something that’s dressed differently where, in truth, is a familiar animal. With the monarchy abolished, what is left for any royal blood to linger?
The hotel boasts of 5 floors, 116 guest rooms, 6 different categories (according to the financial capability of the guest), glass elevator (the only one of its kind in the country) and a view of Pakse right in the heart of the southern capital. As a trivia, the establishment has 1,900 doors and windows, thus earning it the moniker of “Thousand Room Pavillion”.
|Champasak Palace Hotel: grand wedding-cake layer design!|
I got my room at the 2nd floor, room 203. It had a veranda and faced the lawn. More importantly, it had tastefully decorated interiors: from the curtains, fixtures of ceiling to floor, a huge bathroom with a curvaceous tub, etc. It was a beautiful place to stay! At night, I could sit at a corner and daydream of its bountiful, nay adventurous past; of gracious princesses and lavish ceremonies. It isn't such a bad deal to get a piece of fairy tale here.
|Lotus flowers and Koi fishes inhabit this pond.|
|Hotel lobby surrounded by a pond and a garden|
|A fountain intermittently works at the facade of the palace-hotel grounds.|
|Restaurant beside the front desk.|
|There are tables and chairs at the backyard of the hotel where you can spend your meal at a garden with a pagoda and animal sculptures.|
|Warm morning sun bathes this east-facing veranda.|
|My room at 203.|
|My veranda. Notice the door design and the unique lock system.|
|From my room, this hallway leads east to a glass lift.|
|At night, my beautiful veranda can get eerie.|
|The veranda facing the east which has a view of Sedone River.|
|A view of Sedone River|
|Sedone I Bridge. Just across the river is a quaint temple that people refer to as Wat Tsin, i.e. the chinese temple. Would I be able to see it up close?|
|The reclusive Wat Tsin from across Sedone River.|
|Statues of animals at the hotel's backyard|
|Restaurant tables at the backyard garden at night|
|A room at the 5th floor|
|Night view of the main highway, Route 13 at night.|
|Scale model of the palace now a hotel.|