My wife and I stayed at the Hanoi Larosa (HLR) for a total of five nights in mid-January 2014. I chose the HLR after long searching because based on the map I thought it might be central to all the sites the great city of Hanoi has to offer. The hotel had only just opened 2-3 months prior to our arrival, so it only had 3 reviews, but all of them were very positive. I usually only book newer but more frequently reviewed places, but I took a chance and went for it for the first 2 nights of out stay, thinking that if it was good I would book again after we returned from a two-day tour of Halong Bay.
Upon arrival to HLR, I found that I needn’t have worried about it at all; indeed, while exploring Halong Bay I found myself thinking about how great HLR is, especially because of the management and staff!
First, the location and the property itself . . . as mentioned, I chose HLR because I thought (based on the map) that it might be central to sites in Hanoi. It is! My wife and I tend to avoid staying in major tourist areas, and we like to walk about to get a feel for cities, so the location was especially perfect for us. That said, the walk to both the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and the main restaurant areas is only about 12-15 minutes in their respective directions from the hotel. The Temple of Literature is literally just down the street and the Hoa Lo Prison is about 10 minutes. All can also be accessed by readily available taxi as well, of course.
I’ve saved the BEST for last in writing this review because the management and staff at HLR are the BEST! I travel a lot internationally and stay in a lot of hotels (19 in the last 3 months . . . and counting), and I have never encountered such service as at HLR. The key, perhaps, is that the general manager and the front manager both worked as managers for the Intercontinental Hotel for many years. They bring the level and quality of service expected at an international 5 star to this nice, calm and efficient 3 star in Hanoi. Indeed, it is 5 star service at a 3 star price at a brand new hotel!!
To be honest, the service was far above 5 star . . . it was galactic!! For example, I had a bit of a back and neck issue when I arrived to Hanoi that I just mentioned in passing upon arrival. The general manager not only told me of a famed traditional Vietnamese chiropractic-like doctor in Hanoi, he offered to return that evening with his personal car to take me over to the doctor, wait with me, explain my situation and then bring me back to the hotel. I took him up on it, and it was fantastic . . . and I never would have known about let alone found this doctor without the service ethic of Nam, the manager, who continuously went out of his way to make sure our stay was excellent.
Upon returning from Halong Bay, the general manager (Nam) asked me about my neck and recommended that I go back to the doctor. He was, however, unavailable to take me, so he appointed one of the staff to take me over on her scooter (or in a taxi . . . my choice). Lovely and sweet Hwa was so kind and took me, waited and brought me back. Indeed, all of the staff were so kind and amazingly helpful. Like I said, never have I had such great, personalized service at a hotel.
Another point, Christiana, the front manager, was no less lovely and sweet and kind and helpful. I asked about train tickets, and she took it upon herself to not only look into all of the booking options but also to be sure that the tickets were delivered and that the best available options were given to us at the cheapest price possible. I almost used a travel agency, which would have been a mistake because the tickets she found were without service charge and ended up being over $60 cheaper!! Honestly, I think I could have asked her to do anything, and she would have found a way . . . and gone out of her way!!
And there was such laughter we had. Indeed, the staff was very professional, but they were also very warm and welcoming, again adding to the one of a kind experience the Larosa was. I found myself wanting to go down to hang out at the desk just to talk to Christiana, Hwa, Nam and the rest of the staff. We had great conversations that always ended up with a round of laughter, so light and easy . . . so fun and enjoyable!
Oh, and the breakfast/buffet . . . my wife and I are vegetarians, so we often find it difficult to eat from buffets or order off menus that are very meat heavy (as northern Asia tends to be). Not a worry at the HLR because they (again) went out of their way to make sure we had food we could eat . . . and plenty of it, preparing special salads and other dishes just for us. And on a morning when my wife was not feeling well, they set aside the breakfast for her to eat at her convenience after the breakfast had finished, assuring us that it was not a problem at all. As I say, out of their way . . .
OK, so this review is long overdue, and I apologize to the management and staff at the Hanoi Larosa for not having posted it sooner . . . but I want to assure them (and any of you reading this) that they are not and will not be forgotten. If I ever I have the privilege of coming back to Hanoi (and I certainly will), I very much look forward to staying again at this fantastic hotel, where the facilities are comfortable and well-appointed and the service is well-beyond 5 star . . . it’s galactic!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hanoi Larosa hotel is situated in the heart of Hanoi. It just takes a few steps to Tran Quy Cap railway station, about 5 minutes walk to Temple of Literature, 10 minutes walk to Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi Old Quater , Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and 45 minutes to Noi Bai Airport. ... more less
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