Guesthouse Name: Hotel Bel Ami Hanoi
Address: 244 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam.
I stayed at the Hotel Bel Ami Hanoi in Hanoi, Vietnam. I walked in off the street and booked a room without a reservation. The hotel I was due to stay at nearby was closed, so I walked to the nearest alternative. I was quoted a rate of 400,000 VND, which was higher than you normally pay online for such a hotel (400,000 Dong is about $17.20 USD). I wasn’t in the mood to haggle or look elsewhere at this point so I took the room.
I checked with Agoda later, and sure enough the room was around 250,000 VND. When you see hotel booking sites with copy that says “Up to 50% off hotel rooms!”, they are taking 50% off an inflated rack rate (the rate for walk ins). If I was more organised I could have checked online first, but I just wanted the room so I could get on with business. The extra $7 I paid is a reminder to check the online rate next time I am in this situation.
The Hotel Bel Ami is near the railway crossing end of Hang Bong street in the old city area. It’s a 7-minute walk from the main train station, and I picked this area to be near the station. There is a metro line being built next to the station and I was doing a report on the Hanoi metro. From the hotel it’s easy to walk to other parts of the old city as well.
I booked a double room with a private bathroom. At first glance the room seemed nice enough. The bed was comfortable, and the air conditioner was in working order (an important feature in the hot Hanoi summer months).
After unpacking I realised there was nowhere to place my clothes. There was no hangers, and the ledge on the side of the room was only useful for small things. There was a little table above the fridge, but it was not useful as a desk (and there were no chairs either).
I made sure I got a window room, as these skinny buildings in Vietnam have rooms without windows.
The bathroom was one of those glass box rooms that have become popular in recent years. These are good if you are a solo traveller as it lets more light into the bathroom. If you are travelling with someone though you will be subjecting the other person to watching you go to the toilet.
The bathroom space was cramped, with the sink and toilet pressed right up next to the shower cubicle.
There is free wifi in the hotel and I had a good connection in my room. The hotel has a lift, so no worries about lugging bags up stairs.