When we arrived at this hotel, we were positively surprised by the spacious room we were shown, and unfortunately we did not check the room thoroughly. The towels were dirty, damp and small, for some reason there was always someone screaming and yelling in the hallway and the TV didn’t work properly.
But the worst part of our stay in this hotel was the fact, that we booked our boat trip in Halong Bay through the hotels so called “booking manager”. The woman at the reception, whose English definitely could be better, told us that we should book our trip with him. He showed us pictures of boats and told us about three different types of tours, each with its own price – standard, superior and luxury. We chose to do something nice for ourselves, having lived quite cheap the past few months, and booked the superior tour for 110 US$ each. We knew this was pricey, but the pictures of the boat, food and the description of the tour sounded like it was worth the money. He told us we would go with a boat from “Dunong Sails”, a company we had checked and thought sounded good.
The next day, when we boarded the boat, we immediately knew that we had been scammed. The food was awful, and there was not enough food for everyone on the boat. The staff was unfriendly and sometimes obnoxious (one example is that they turned their fans towards themselves so they could cool off while watching they incredibly loud TV shows. We were promised to visit the “surprising cave” and instead visited the “amazing cave” which was very touristic. We arrived at a fishing village, where we were told we would kayak, after we had checked into our rooms on the boat. The room we got was horrible and not at all the rooms he showed us. They were small, had horrible and dirty bathrooms with bad water pressure and a toilet that sometimes wouldn’t flush, the room had twin beds instead of the double bed we were promised and the booking manager had neglected to tell us, that the aircon wouldn’t be turned on until 8 pm, and that it would be turned off again around 6 am. In the room was a picture of the actual boat company this boat was a part of. It was not “Dunongs Sails”, but “Dragon Pearl Sails” (avoid this company, as it seems only three people out of 15 on the boat actually got what they paid for).
We had payed 110 US$ for 2 days 1 night. Most people on the boat had paid around 80 US$ for 3 days 2 nights, including a visit to Cat Ba Island. The ones who hadn’t booked 3 days 2 nights, but 1 night like us, only payed 45 US$ pr. Person.
All in all it was a horrible experience, and when we went back to the hotel to complain, the woman in the reception, the same one who had adviced us to book through this booking manager, now told us he didn’t work for the hotel, but was a freelance booking manager (which was definitely not the impression she had given us when we wanted to book the tour). She refused to refund our money, and suddenly couldn’t understand any English.
Our advice is to avoid this hotel, and if you decide to book through any other hotel, make sure you actually see the boat you book, before paying.
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