4 Feb 2008
Hong Thien Loc Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Hotel
A$39.50/£17.50 night
10°46'3.89"N 106°41'28.52"E
1 room
Including Breakfast

 

The bus from Cambodia very conveniently dropped us on the main street of HCMC which is full of hotels and there are dozens of side streets where every other building seems to be a guesthouse. We decided to go with our new tactic and look for a brand new hotel - trust me, there are plenty of them. The first hotel we checked out was US$88 - far too much for the area. The second one, literally 100 metres away was much better. It was cheap enough for us to have a look see at the rooms - they were very clean and there was free WiFi - what more could you want?

The room was comfortable but basic - there was a ceiling fan as well as an air conditioner, a fridge and for some odd reason twin beds again. There were about 50 channels on the satellite TV, mostly sport, movies and South Korean soap channels but surprisingly no English language news channel.

We stayed a second night to catch your breath as we'd had a long journey and didn't arrive in HCMC until 9.30 pm and didn't want to rush into moving into a poor quality place. Don't believe the guide books when they tell you that you have to book months in advance for accommodation when it's Chinese New Year in HCMC - there are a lot more hotels than customers.

The brochure mentioned a bathtub, which would have been nice for Peter get a good a soak after sitting on a bus for several hours, but it was nonexistent - probably only in the more expensive rooms.

Breakfast was advertised as a buffet, but it was ordered from a quite limited menu and the food was a bit ordinary.

The beds and pillows were very comfortable, and there was decent water pressure in shower. It was a little noisy, but it was Chinese New Year so you wouldn't have found a quiet corner anywhere in the country. The second night was quiet enough.

The staff were a little disappointing totally without enthusiasm and giving the impression that they didn't want to be bothered. I asked for an extra pillow for each of us - always do, as if we're lying on the bed watching TV, reading or on the computer two pillows are far more comfortable than one. It seems we inconvenienced the man by asking - he said if he could find some we could have them. That was quite unnecessary as the hotel was far from full and there would have been pillows galore. Perhaps he'd been speaking to the porter (see below) but we did get them.

There is a wet market a couple of minutes walk away and several very small mini marts and a convenience store on the way. The bus station is less than two minutes walk, and in getting there you pass literally dozens of local and western bars and eateries. The area itself is backpackerville, which means plenty of low priced food stalls and cheap grog. The downtown area is about a 45 minute walk - you could probably do it in about half that time, but the traffic and very odd people around doing very odd things kept slowing us down to watch the showsl

While we couldn't find fault with the hotel itself, there is better value out there, so I can see no reason for us to return.

We could however find fault with the staff - especially the porter who accompanied us to our room (our bags are on wheels, and we never let anyone else wheel them) then proceeded to hang around for a full 5 minuets for his tip before giving up. As I've mentioned before, tipping is an insidious American habit who have left peoples which have no culture of tipping getting into a strop if they don't get one. We're English. English don't tip. We lived in Australia for 20 years. Australians doubly don't tip. Please stop tipping. You're encouraging them to expect it from everyone.