Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tokyo/Vietnam July 2011 - Orchid Hotel Hue

***This post is part 10 of a full trip report. The index can be found here***

Choosing a hotel in Hue was actually a very simple affair. Despite the few bogus reviews here and there, TripAdvisor remains the go-to site when choosing an independent hotel in an obscure international locale. The key to picking a good hotel on TripAdvisor is straightforward: scan the top 10-20 hotels in a city (preferably the top 5 if the costs are within your range) and be extremely wary of hotels with under 100 reviews. Of course, that doesn't mean hotels that don't meet the above criteria should be ignored, but those that do are almost always good, if not excellent.

I did some quick research on Hue accommodations, and since there were basically no international chains in town, it was just a simple choice between a few local places. I settled on #3 out of 96 hotels in Hue... Orchid Hotel. It was centrally located but on a quiet street, had great reviews, and was ridiculously cheap (at least compared to Western prices). At $35/night, you can't go wrong with the cost!

Pickup from the airport cost a very reasonable $10. When we arrived, the friendly receptionist took our information and guided us to the dining area in the next room. There, we took a seat and were offered delicious welcome drinks, as well as a fruit plate. She then proceeded to give us some important information regarding the hotel and surrounding area, and provided us with numerous options for day tours of the imperial tombs and the citadel. We decided to go ahead and book a day tour since we really only had one full day in Hue, and it would be a great way to see most of the main sites in one swoop.

Street outside the Orchid Hotel

Before we went up to our room, we were informed that they had upgraded us from the Superior Room to a Family Room for the night. Although for the second night, we would have to move back. That wasn't a problem for us at all. The family room was spacious, and included a king bed as well as a small twin bed. All of these rooms faced the front of the hotel and had their own balcony overlooking the street below. The bathroom was not large, but it was very clean and quite modern. My only gripe about the room was that the air conditioning was not strong. And as we found out the next day, it was even less so in the Superior Room.

Perhaps they thought we were on our gay honeymoon?

View from the 2nd floor balcony

Complimentary breakfast the next morning was surprisingly good. Not as great as the Hanoi Elegance Diamond in terms of selection and service, but for the rate they were charging, the Orchid Hotel was definitely an amazing value. They had a good variety of fresh fruit, pastries, and some hot dishes, as well as cook to order omelettes, pancakes, and of course, pho. My friend tried the pho and was quite satisfied with the taste.

Hue-style pho

Everyone who worked at the hotel was friendly and very helpful when asked. Though there was a definite sense of space between the guests and the staff. Perhaps they were just a bit more shy and respectful of personal space. It was quite different from the Hanoi Elegance, where they went out of their way to ask how things were, or to proactively resolve any issues without even being asked. But then again, the service there was just on another level.

On the second night, we moved to the Superior Room, which was quite a bit smaller. The king bed pretty much took up most of the room, but for one night and two people, it was more than comfortable enough. The view from the window consisted of a concrete wall of the building next door. And as I mentioned earlier, the weak air conditioning was a minor issue. Overall, I would recommend this hotel simply on the value alone. The rooms were simple and clean, and the staff was courteous and pleasant.

No comments:

Post a Comment