Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hanoi Elegance Ruby Hotel

How did we find the Hanoi Elegance Hotel? We scanned TripAdvisor. This hotel is part of a local chain and came very highly rated. Plus the rate was great - $50/night.  While we could have easily found a cheaper hotel, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't stay anywhere else in Hanoi.

We arranged for the hotel to pick us up at the airport and while the driver wasn't all that friendly, he did collect and deliver us as we all agreed.  The hotel is down an alley and if we didn't have a driver, I am not sure we would have ever found the property.  Our friends had arrived in Hanoi the night before and were waiting for us as we approached the hotel.  We were greeted by 4-5 hotel employees, all of whom looked to be about 15 years old.  We handed our passports over for check-in and we were immediately given the best mango juice I've ever had. It was a wonderfully refreshing mango puree - I would go back to Hanoi right now just for the mango juice.

We were given a room on the second floor with two twin beds.  We opted to get two beds mostly because of some of the stories we'd heard about how the Vietnamese treat gay visitors.  We ran into no issues whatsoever and our friends had a room with a king bed - again no issues.

The reviews of the hotel indicated the street noise was a bit too much from the lower floors. I heard nothing and slept very well each night.

Our room had two beds, with rose pedals welcoming us as we entered. We also had a small desk, with a laptop provided by the hotel, WiFi was included in the room rate and surprisingly the signal was quite strong.  There was also a TV above the foot of the bed which played an interesting mix of Vietnamese and foreign programming.

Twin beds with roses
Bare wall with TV
Unlike some hotels we came across (but luckily never stayed in one) we had a private bath attached to our room. The bath was quite spacious. One of my biggest pet peeves in a hotel is the lack of water pressure and inconsistently hot water - this hotel was great, these issues were non-existent.

Bathroom
Our $50/night room rate included a breakfast in the restaurant on the first floor.  The menu had about 10 items - eggs, fruit, pancakes, French toast, etc.  Each morning I had either a pancake or a crepe and several glasses of fresh mango juice.

Each time we'd return from exploring Hanoi, the folks at the reception area would stop us and ask us all about our day. What did we see? Where did we eat? Where are we going later in the day? Do we need help with reservations or taxis?  The staff at this hotel was beyond top notch. I really enjoyed every interaction with these folks.  The one issue I had with the staff was really relating to our mutual language skills.  They would say something that really seemed odd and out of place, then the whole staff would just stare at me -- then they'd burst out laughing.  The issue was really mine. I knew what they were saying but their turn of phrase made me unsure if they were making a joke or if they were just stumbling over the language.  Rest assured - they are making a joke.

Would I stay at this hotel again? Without a doubt.  While you won't earn any points at this hotel, nor is it one of the super cheap hotels you often associate with Vietnam, but in my mind you cannot find a better hotel for the value.

The folks at the hotel will also help you book a cruise on Halong Bay or a day trip away from Hanoi -- both of which they did help us with.

As I write this trip report I crave fresh mango juice.  If you are going to Hanoi - do yourself a favor and book the Hanoi Elegance Ruby Hotel. I am sure you will not be disappointed.

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