Hotel Reviews: Vietnam

Hanoi: Horison

Facts: Rated as a 5 star hotel
At the Horison, rooms range from $95-105.
Located downtown Hanoi on a gated lot
Internet available in the rooms via wireless access for free

Review: The Horison is nice’ish. We stayed here twice during our trip, once at the beginning and again at the end. The staff is not that friendly but they’re good at what they do. Each room comes with a buffet-style breakfast that was one of our favorites. In the lobby they offer a cozy little cafe, serving cheap french bread and tarts, but don’t buy water there…You’ll end up paying about $3.25 a bottle. The pool, while on the small side, is perched on the 2nd floor and features the cool run-off-the-side look. All-in-all, I think this hotel was a little stuffy. The beautiful lobby and second floor are slightly deceiving of your whole hotel experience. On Sunday’s they have a kid’s “fair” in the buffet area that has video games on a big screen and a ball pit; it’s great if you’re taking older kids. Now, I’ve been a little contradictory about how I feel this hotel is stuffy and yet they have a kid’s fair, I know and I’ll tell you, it was the only day we stayed there that I saw the hotel have any life.
Matt gives the Horison: 3-stars (of 5)
Nicole gives the Horison: 3-stars (of 5)

DaNang: Palm Garden Resort

Facts: Rated as a 5 star hotel
At the Palm Garden, rooms range from $70-360.
Located on the beach, 20 minutes from DaNang, in the town of HoiAn
Internet available in the rooms via DSL cable for free

Review: From the first time to step into their open-air lobby, you’ll know that you’re in paradise. This place is amazing!! While it’s not actually in DaNang it is just about 20 minutes away in the town of HoiAn. The common area is often over run with dragon-flies (I don’t know about you, but we loved that part if it.) Their pool is very big and features a pool-side bar that’s always stocked with staff to help you with towels or a drink. Just beyond the pool is one of the hotel’s restaurants (they have one open-air and one closed in) and then the white sand beach of the China Sea. The staff is the best; always friendly and personable, it was the best we’d seen in all our stays in Vietnam. The internet is free here and they have 3 computers. During our stay there was always computer space available and there were very few kids staying there. Also of notable significance is their on-site tailor who will custom make almost anything for you in 24 hours. One of our travel companions brought a dress with them that they bought at a high-end American designer for $360, she had it reproduced by the house tailors for $60! And they did a great job. We will be staying here again. The other places I could take ’em or leave ’em, but this hotel is a keeper!
Matt gives the Palm Garden: 5+ stars
Nicole gives the Palm Garden: 5+ stars

HoChiMinh City/Siagon: Hotel Sofitel

Facts: Rated as a 5 star hotel
At the Palm Garden, rooms range from $100- 180.
Located near the embassies in Ho Chi Minh City
Internet available in the rooms via DSL cable for free

This place is also nice. With every guest in your room you receive a free buffet dinner coupon and drink coupon for the lobby bar (and the dinner is good.) You also receive free buffet breakfast every morning that you stay, which isn’t bad. They also have a chocolate “bar” in the lobby that offers really great treats but it’s very spendy. The rooms are alright. The internet is about $4 for 30 minutes, as most of the other hotels are. There’s nothing spectacular about their pool but there is a small one. Really what you’re paying for, and what makes it worth just the “nice” review is the hotel’s proximity to the government buildings. All of the Embassy buildings seem to be in a row and are just a stones-throw from this place.
Matt gives the Palm Garden: 3 stars
Nicole gives the Palm Garden: 3 stars

DaNang: Sandy Beach Resort

Facts: Rated as a 5 star hotel
At the Palm Garden, rooms range from $95- 380 ($55-180 if booked online)
Located on the beach in DaNang
Internet available in the rooms via wireless access for free

On our way back through DaNang one of the families suggested that we change it up a little and try the Sandy Beach…we didn’t want to rock the boat and thought that it might be nice to get another perspective. It was nice because it reminded us of how much we loved the Palm Garden. The Sandy Beach is beautiful but it’s lacking in some of the areas that made the other place special. For example, all the watering here is done with sprinklers, but the Palm has men out hand watering; the Sandy beach has 2 pools (one near the rooms and one beachside) but their both small, where the Palm has one very big pool. The list goes on…. The internet here is also free but this hotel has ALOT of kids staying at it, which means alot of kids paying computer games and instant messaging their friends for hours on end. I got on the computer 2 times the whole time we were there and it was for only 10 minutes each because there was a line of kids behind me waiting. For those of you bringing your own computer, the private internet here is wireless access only. Also, if you get their standard room with a garden view, you’re going to be getting a nice room but their very “dorm style” and lack anything really “special”. There are private beachside villas available for the $180 (online price) if you’re looking for that kind of thing, but the villa area really is lacking basic lawn maintenance and looks more neglected than it does tropical.
Matt gives the Palm Garden: 3 stars
Nicole gives the Palm Garden: 3 stars

Last note: I know that there was only one 5 star and the rest are 3 stars (as rated by me and Matt) but I have to say that the Palm is the only hotel that got a customer for life. When we go back to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, we will be shopping other hotels.

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  1. Nicki

    Wow, this is really informative. Thanks Nicole!

  2. Sara

    Nicole,

    Thanks for such an informative account of your stay in Vietnam. We are just starting to consider Vietnam adoption and I wanted to check out some “real-life” experiences in blog world.

    I was thoroughly engrossed in your diary of your time in Vietnam, and all the packing and hotel tips are invaluable!

    Wishing you continued blessings with your beautiful new daughter and the rest of your family.

    from Houston, TX.

  3. Melanie

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am sure, as I progress through the paperchasing, I will come back to this informative information.

    Thanks

  4. erinlo

    Awesome, Nicole. We are actually staying at the Horison in Hanoi, so I was a little disappointed to read your review. But, I guess it’ll be OK. We’ll only be there a few days. Seriously- my husband and I have both poured over your travel tips several times and have found them to be the most helpful while we pack.

  5. bluefairy

    Nicole,
    Thank you so much for your reviews that are really helpful and they give me an idea of what to look forward to.

    I can’t wait to read the rest of your advice and I hope the transition with your little one goes smoothly.

    Take care.

  6. Ryan and Heather Oldenburg

    Ok WHERE are the pictures of Corden at home with her family!!!!!!!!!!???????????????????????????????????????

  7. Christina

    Great reviews Nicole – lots better than the guidebooks. :-)

    How is Kinhly doing?

  8. Sherri Puckett

    Nicole,

    Thanks for the great packing list and hotel reviews. I am waiting for my referral and I really enjoyed seeing where we’ll be staying.

  9. Anonymous

    Nicole,
    Thanks for the info. about hotels in VN. Have you heard of New World in HCMC? Our dossier is on its way to VN as of yesterday.

    Ann
    (vnmoma)

  10. Leah and Jake

    Very informative. Thank you. It is nice that people that have experience are willing to share.

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