Here's our story. Remember this is a budget hotel ($20 double/twin incl breakfast).
We arrive (all 11 of us) at the ungodly hour of 5.45 am from the Ho Chi Minh Train. Mr Service, the Manager of the Serenity, Mr Nguyen Vu Son, gets up early and asks his staff to give us a free complimentary and excellent breakfast (as we are booked that night we are not due one till the next morning). He then asks his staff to prepare a room so we can store our luggage for free until our rooms are available. Receptionist Vu Thi Huyen is also all over us with her hospitality.
Rooms - immaculate, comfortable and the triples have a free internet computer. Location - minutes from the centre of the Old Quarter and the lake.
As we have an 80 year old with us, Mr Nguyen personally adopts her as his grandma, helps her in and out of taxis and rearranges the rooms so she is near the bottom. He then upgrades everyone to the brand new and more expensive Rising Dragon III at no extra cost for 3 nights.
Vu Son then offers to organise all tours which I initially don't accept. That is a mistake as when I do accept the tours are consistently excellent, well priced, with professional drivers and guides. This includes Halong Bay where we had a discounted private junk using Serenity's agent, Vietnam Charming Travel, organised by the charming Bui Xuan Phuong of this company [--].
I let Vu Son buy our puppet tickets, train tickets and much more (all at cost of course). This is a find on this trip, the Tripadvisor most highly rated budget hotels hook up with the best travel agents and you can rely on them for organising excellent trips at good prices. They know their reputation depends on it.
We were invited to a free buffet dinner/drinks at the original Rising Dragon. We've had free transfers, free baggage storage multiple times and used a room until we left late for Sapa and Hue at not cost and so it goes on (so much so I can not remember all the helpful/kind deeds). And grandma received a shawl as a present when we left.
I have been to many countries in my time and many hotels but the service is as good as it gets and is equivalent to a five star.
Stay here. Period.
Serenity Hotel (Vu Son's email): [--]
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Closed for renovation as of December 28, 2009. ... more less
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