The hotel's driver picked us up at Halong Bay port and drove us to the hotel. The price was competitive with other offers ($5 USD more, I think), and I felt best having the hotel take care of everything. The drive was very enjoyable. The driver was very quiet, and safe. We stopped halfway at a store, that is a bit of a tourist trap, but we learned that the government requires (or something) this type of stop when transferring, because we had a similar stop from Saigon to Phu My. Regardless, we purchased a tea set and a laquerware bowl... they were probably more expensive than we could have gotten elsewhere, but far less expensive than New York prices.
When we arrived at the hotel, we received a warm welcome. We were asked to sit and given delicious ginger tea. We loved it, and ordered it from the menu a couple of times before leaving the hotel. We were promptly checked in. The receptionist asked if we wanted to upgrade our room, which we didn't. Our room was wonderful. We loved the flowers and fruit, and welcome note. The room was clean and extremely well equipped with a lovely bathroom and toiletries.
The location was great in the old part of town, within walking distance to most things... and taxis are so inexpensive that it is $2 USD to get to the French Quarter or fancy international area.
We asked for a restaurant recommendation and we were very pleased with the New Day Restaurant they sent us to. There were lots of hotel staff and locals there as well as tourists. The food was very good and very reasonable in price. We were so pleased that we went back the next day.
The breakfast was delicious, and the omelet made to order was better prepared than most you find in New York. It was perfectly cooked - with a baby drool center like it should be (I am a trained chef).
We had a little hiccup on the way out. The hotel handled it better than I could have asked for - and in a better way than I have ever seen. We arranged a transfer with the hotel to take us to the Hanoi airport. When we left the hotel, my boyfriend and I had a misunderstanding about who had his wallet. We became convinced we left it at the hotel, so we looped back in the taxi. The hotel manager went to the room with him to search for the wallet, but it couldn't be found. The hotel manager continued searching and called us twice before we boarded the plane. He was so apologetic and kind. The next day we received an email from him again apologizing, following up, and asking if we had any luck locating it. We felt SO bad because we did find the wallet 5 days later when we returned to the cruise ship and learned it was in the safe the whole time.
This hotel cannot be beat.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Essence Hanoi Hotel & Spa ensures you an unrivalled luxury boutique experience just steps away from the Lake of the Restored Sword, nestled in the vibrancy, excitement and captivation of Hanoi's most historic location - the Old Quarter. Rooms have open windows, very quiet yet in the center of Old Quarter. Inter-connecting room for families available. Private laptop in each room with free wifi internet, Essence restaurant opens daily from 6.30AM until 10.30PM ... more less
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