Set among luxuriant gardens on a sprawling property in Khon Kaen, in Thailand’s northeastern Isaan region, Lom Laeng Villa, a modern interpretation of a traditional Isaan house, was our ‘home away from home’ at boutique hotel Supanniga, a Secret Retreats member.

We only stayed a night in Khon Kaen on our Isaan road trip, however, we could easily have settled into Lom Laeng and stayed much longer. It’s just the kind of place we like – as is Khon Kaen, and more on that in coming posts (start here).

Lom Laeng is a lovely little house with a well fitted-out kitchen, a dining area with a large table for four, and a small living area overlooking the garden. Adjoining the living space is a big bedroom with two four-poster double beds on a raised polished wooden platform, as well as a cosy relaxation area in the corner, that would be ideal for a close family or two friends. There’s also a bathroom with separate shower and toilet, each exposed to the elements, while every window of the house looks out onto lush green foliage.

Decorated in an eclectic style, that melds old (traditional wooden Thai furniture, antique fan, quaint lamps), and new (the curvaceous contemporary wooden table in the bedroom, for instance), the place has loads of character and charm.

As do the other two distinctive ‘homes’ on site. The villa is one of three dwellings on the family-owned property, the others being Banyan Villa, a cute, traditional, Thai-style one-bedroom cottage, and Velu Villa, a sleek, contemporary, two-bedroom concrete house.

Each house is separated a reasonable distance from the other by lawns and gardens to ensure plenty of privacy, and there are lots of wooden seats and tables and chairs scattered about the place, including some loosely arranged into an alfresco café space of sorts, which serves as the breakfast area and is also open to the public.

Handily, there is good Internet access, a television, magazines, and a few guidebooks. Staff can also organize excursions for you around Khon Kaen, to the King Cobra Village, Chonnabot, the Khmer ruins of Prasat Hin Phimai, and various other temples, however, you should arrange this in advance when you book the accommodation.

While there is a lovely café located in the garden, meals at the property’s café had to be ordered in advance when we stayed and there was no room service, no restaurant within walking distance, and no means of organising transport. (Update: there is now a restaurant).

With a bit of planning, and if you have your own car, these things should not be a major problem. Plus each villa has its own well-equipped kitchen where food can be prepared, there is a restaurant a few kilometres away, and the excellent markets in town.

However, our stay was short so we didn’t think to buy food and, as we were exhausted after lots of early mornings and late nights, we decided at the spur of the moment to stay in and eat. When we did, we found it difficult to locate staff on the sprawling property (which is pitch-black dark at night), and communication was tricky with the only Thai-speaking staff. The English-speaking manager isn’t present in the evenings, although he’s available by phone, but still it took some effort, including a couple of phone calls to the manager, to arrange to order some food in.

What we’d love to see is an arrangement made with a couple of nearby restaurants to deliver, and some menus and phone numbers in the information booklet at the villa. The owner was constructing a new restaurant at the entrance to the property when we stayed so if this is open for longer hours than the café it should prevent the problem we had.

We still highly recommend a stay at Supanniga, but until the restaurant opens make sure you’re prepared – there are restaurants a few kilometres away opposite the lake, and in town there are plenty of fantastic food stalls dotting the city’s footpaths, as well as some terrific night markets. As long as you plan a little, this is one city where you will not go hungry. If you’re a foodie, make sure you stay a few nights. We will be next time. Because there will be a next time.

Supanniga Home 
130/9 Potisarn Road
Muang, Khon Kaen
+66 89 944 4880

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