14 July 2009
Bao Ngoc Hotel, Danang, Vietnam
Hotel
US$22
16° 4'3.80"N 108°13'12.14"E
1 Room

May 2009 approx A$27

We managed to avoid the swarm of touts that met us off the bus from Hoi An and make our way down to the central area - a fair hike from where the bus dropped us, a good 25 minute walk. We looked at a lot of hotels which were either cheap and grubby or expensive and grubby. Found this pearler and would have stayed much longer apart from one incident.

The Bao Ngoc has 5 floors with 4 rooms on each - no lift - and to say the rooms are huge is something of an understatement. This place was MASSIVE.

As well as a king sized bed, large dressing table, writing table and coffee table there was a 3 piece suite. In Asia they don't do the minimalist Ikea thing - they like their furniture big and solid and heavy - it's almost impossible for one person to lift a chair, and would have to take 3 people to move the sofa. The room was clean and comfortable with a bath and shower.

Terrible photo, I know, using iPhone

We had free Wi-Fi which we couldn't get to work, but there were a couple of fast unsecured connections we could leach on to, there was a small fridge, cable TV and wooden shutters on the outside of the windows - great noise insulator. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend this, but we left after 2 nights - I'd had a pair of trousers made and they hadn't pressed the seams properly. On his way out, Peter asked if we could borrow an iron. The receptionist was going to get it, but he said he was going out, not needed right now and was told I could pick it up whenever I wanted it. Busy, busy, busy - end of financial year in Aus - and a couple of hours later I went down to ask for it. Male behind the desk with an attitude. No. But my husband was told I could borrow it. No. But we were told we could. He phoned someone and told me I couldn't have it. Cost very small, housekeeping can do your laundry. But I don't want laundry. Only need it for 5 minutes. It wasn't so much what he said, but the way he said it. I did very well - just smiled and said "We're out of here". Peter went too travel agent a couple of doors away and booked tickets to Hue. On the way back, he told the man we were checking out the next morning. But why, sir? Because I'm very disappointed. But why? My wife wanted the use of an iron for 5 minutes and you wouldn't allow it. We were going to stay here for at least a week (we really were, great hotel, interesting looking town, lots of day trips). But sir, iron very dangerous. Iron get very hot. I wish he'd said that to me. Would I have had some answers.

Plenty of eating and shopping within a minute or two walk and about 15 minutes walk to a huge modern plaza with a Big C hypermarket and a massive market opposite, where not one trader tried to get us to pay more than we knew we should for fruit. Danang is not a tourist town - we were more of a novelty than anything.

As I said, nice hotel but we won't be going back. I encourage every staying here to ask to use the iron whether you need it or not.

Go off the bus from Nha Trang very early morning, dodged our way past the touts and started walking. The intention was, as usual, one of us to sit somewhere with the bags while the other walks around looking - if you have your bags with you you seem more desperate, whereas if you're just wandering on in making enquiries, you get a much better deal offered. We didn't have to do this though, saw the hotel as we escaped the touts and thought it looked OK. It was better than OK and we checked in straight away.

We got a lovely big room at the back which is quieter and had wall to wall floor to ceiling windows looking out over palm trees and paddy fields, which are just the right shade of emerald at the time. The bed was comfortable, as were the chairs and we had about 80 cable channels - about 15 in English, but the chairs on the balcony weren't very comfortable.

As well as free Wi-Fi there was a bank of 6 computers for guests without laptops to use free of charge. We intended staying in Hoi An for a couple of days and ended up staying almost 2 weeks. My only whine is that once it became obvious we were staying a long time, the cleaning standards in the room went down quite a lot, but it was the end of the financial year, I had too much to do and couldn't be bothered complaining.

Lots of local shops around for basics - the majority of them seem to have invented price gouging. A 1.5 litre bottle of water I was buying for 4,000 dong was quoted to me anywhere from 7,000 to 21,000. Same with cigarettes - if you didn't know the prices, almost without exception the traders tried to fleece you, some of them outrageously, which was rather annoying. No supermarkets in town, one place did have the appearance of a large mini mart with price stickers on but was no cheaper than those trying to fleece you outside.

The swimming pool had plenty of comfy sun beds around it and thankfully was shaded.

Wouldn't hesitate to return, but warn everyone to try and find the prices of basics before buying anything.

Free Wifi, satellite TV, fridge, fan AND air conditioning, balcony, swimming pool

thiennga_hotel@pmain.vnn.vn

+84 510 916 330