A bed at the Victoria Sapa Hotel. (Photo by Michelle Rae Uy)
From its vibrant cities and tranquil mountain towns to its lush deltas and countryside abound in sweeping rugged landscapes, Vietnam is one coveted destination that must be on everyone’s travel list. But while it already attracts millions of travelers from all over the world, this country that borders the South China Sea on the East still has a lot of growing to do.
Finding the most comfortable accommodations in Vietnam may not be as easy as in the more developed countries. Travelers could, for example, end up in a four-star hotel that uses wheeled beds hard enough they might as well be sleeping on a hardwood floor. While this may be good enough for backpackers and the adventurous set, it could certainly be an issue for those who expect or are used to a certain level of comfort.
Back from a quick tour of the country, I had the pleasure of vetting some hotels in three of Vietnam’s most popular destinations. Here are my recommended picks.
An executive suite at Pullman Hanoi. (Photo courtesy of Pullman Hotels and Resorts)
It’s 20 minutes away from all the bustle of the Old Quarter and it may not be one of the highest rated in the city, but Pullman Hanoi still promises that level of standard that travelers expect from a luxury hotel. Its spacious grand lobby boasts modern aesthetics and plenty of comfortable seating for guests. The staff is friendly and out-of-their-way helpful as well as speaks conversational English so guests can easily communicate their needs. And the breakfast buffet has an excellent variety—from traditional Vietnamese to French and American, which makes it great for the more picky eaters.
The rooms may be Pullman Hanoi’s best features. They come in six categories ranging from standard to executive suite. And all are surprisingly spacious and well appointed with comfortable beds, contemporary sleek bathrooms, lovely amenities and complimentary Wi-Fi. A deluxe king room includes a comfortable couch set next to a wide and airy window, a rainfall shower, and a nice view of the neighborhood. An executive room, on the other hand, includes all these plus a complimentary mini bar. Rooms start at $96 per night during the low season.
Photo by Michelle Rae Uy
From the decor to the atmosphere, it seems that every facet of four-star Victoria Sapa Hotel has been built to reflect the mountain town it resides in, making it an ideal base for globetrotters visiting Sapa. The beautiful hilltop hotel designed in the French chalet, stone-and-wood architectural style is lush with lovely gardens, alive with the most colorful butterflies and moths imaginable, rustic with classic dark wood furniture and trimmings, and inspired with striking panoramas of the town and the neighboring mountains. It’s truly an idyllic hideaway to sleep in and wake up to. And it also comes with a restaurant and bar with a view, an indoor pool, a lovely spa, and a shop selling local handicrafts.
The spacious yet intimate rooms here, which come in four categories, are both luxurious and homey. Each includes its own private balcony flourished with flowering plants, a nice bed, an exquisite bathroom with deluxe toiletries, bottled water for complimentary guest use, plush bathrobes, and turndown service. Rooms start at $155 per night.
Photo courtesy of Chay Lap Farmstay
Known for the beautiful Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and its staggering caves, Quang Binh attracts travelers with a healthy appreciation for the outdoors. Farmstays are, therefore, a hot commodity in this region, and sustainable Chay Lap Farmstay is among the highly rated ones. Located not far from the famous Paradise Cave and the exciting Dark Cave, this beautiful property just off of Ho Chi Minh Tay treats guests to the most basic luxuries like an outdoor pool, a poolside bar and lounging area, a restaurant serving a set menu of traditional Vietnamese dishes, and air conditioned guest rooms and cottages. It also offers extra treats such as mountain bikes for guests’ use to explore the nearby area.
Chay Lap boasts 27 guest rooms in four categories: standard, superior, deluxe cottage and deluxe—each with free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV and complimentary bottled water. A deluxe double room, airy, modest and minimalist, is flourished with several windows with blackout curtains, comfortable beds, lovely-smelling lemongrass in a wall planter, and an ultra spacious bathroom with rainfall shower. Rooms start at $36 per night for double occupancy.