AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Hanoi: Helpful Hotel?

As soon as Annemarie had booked this hotel she emailed to enquire about picking us up from the train station (we expected to arrive in Hanoi at 5:15am). They emailed stating they couldn’t but told us what taxi company to look for and how much it should cost. Quite helpful we thought.

Upon arrival (the train was 2 hours late) it was still before 8 am, but we were given a room (not made up) for us to drop our bags, quick shower and get changed. We were also OK to have the breakfast (normal hotels would’ve charged). The breakfast was good and filling. By the time we had eaten our room had been made up. In addition, the guy at reception had asked what we were doing in Hanoi and afterwards, and we said about Halong Bay. The hotel also organises tours, but charged a fair bit more than we had paid. He was very surprised at how little we had paid and asked if he could take our details and ring the ship to confirm our booking was genuine and we hasn’t been scammed. I was skeptical as to his motives, wondering if he was going to tell us it was a fake and we should cancel, get a refund and book with him. Well, he contacted us not long after and told is we were booked, it was genuine and we had got a very good deal. At this point we were very happy with the hotel.

We handed a bag of laundry to be washed. The charge is per kilo and it was weighed at just under 4kg. More than expected. This evening whilst talking to another person behind reception we mentioned it weighing more than expected, he checked and it weighed just under 3kg. The weight the lady had used in the morning was defective he told us, and showed it with no weight and already at 1kg. They had found the scale was defective and had ordered a new scale that day. Was he been helpful (we were on the verge of booking a day tour with him) or was he genuine?

We have three days in Hanoi, but could skip a few less interesting bits and do it in two. With that in mind we looking at tours offered by the hotel. One in particular looked good, to Tam Coc. $45 (each) plus drinks and a few tips. Pushing our budget so we said we’d go and think about it. Later, after considering it we decided no, if we keep spending and doing so many tours we’ll run out of money before getting around Asia. “How about $40, with cycle hire thrown in?”. That’s a good deal, but still pushing our budget. “OK, I can go as low as $35 each, with cycle hire”. Now that is a good deal, cheaper then we have seen online. The amount this guy can slash off hid tour price makes us wonder just how big his mark up is.

He helped us book the train tickets to Hue; listing all train times and durations, showing pictures and recommending which train to get. We were looking at the lower grade train, but he was pretty adamant that we should have the better carriage in the slightly later train. This meant we could leave our bags at the hotel when we travel to Halong Bay, then when we get back he can give us a temporary room so we can shower and change, then eat, he will then organise a taxi (included in price paid for train) and give us the vouchers to collect the train tickets. The price was good, we had already looked online and as after fees were taken into account we couldn’t beat his price. Very helpful or making a decent wad in commission for the train?

We really are struggling to accept that anyone here wants to help without thinking about how much money they can make from us. And we still don’t know how much to trust the staff here, this place feels more like a tour company disguised as a hotel.

Posted from Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Everywhere in China/Thailand works on commission. You should check that email from Tim just before you left as he explained a lot of who not to trust. Things like taxi drivers being paid by clubs to drop people off there…

    The hotels and various tourest based businesses will all work together splitting all the fees between each other, so as long as they get you to sign up to things they’re in profit whatever they discount individually. At the end of the day though, if you have a good time and you’re happy with costs, it probably doesn’t matter who gains from it.

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