Once we had made our booking online we emailed the hotel asking for information on the buses and private driver to Saigon, but received no response. Not a good first impression.
We hadn’t been in the hotel for an hour before they thought they would try it on by overcharging us for our transport request.
On arrival we asked the receptionist if she could gather us information on the bus journey and the price for a private driver to Saigon. She tried to sway us to go with the bus rather than the private car as she commented it would be very expensive. We said we would be back down from our room to find out the answers within half an hour.
She didn’t have any answers ready for us when we returned to reception. She again mentioned that the bus would be the better option for us. We were quoted 2.2M dong for the private driver. We have had bad experiences of buses and trains in South East Asia. We have previously used private drivers in Vietnam whose service has been door-to-door, hastle free and our preferred option.
We asked if she could better the price slightly but were told that the company they use have fixed prices. She also informed us that the hotel makes no money on the private driver service so they don’t like to do it. We made the decision to go with a private driver and asked her to book it for us. She said it would be 3.2M dong. We knew there was going to be funny business from then on and asked her to book the trip at her original quotation. She said it was not possible and told us to book on the bus.
We asked to see the ‘fixed price list’ to see for ourselves. We quickly used google translate on our mobile to find out that she was charging us for a return from Saigon. We wanted one-way and made this clear to her. The actual price listed was 2.8M dong. This was the third price within 5 minutes. We realised she was trying it on and told her that we know a scam when we see one, but her answer was ‘this is business, no?’ We commented that maybe customer service would rank highly as well. Another option to us was to use her friend who could do it on the cheap for us but spoke no English.
We decided to shop around after coming to the understanding that the hotel did not value us as paying guests as saw us as a ‘purse’ rather than a ‘person’. Prices fluctuated around the various hotels/booking agents in Dalat but found that 2.8M dong was the going rate and because we wanted an early morning departure – we’d book through Green City Hotel for convenience. On return to our hotel we asked for this to be booked but then she made the phone call and quoted us 3.0M dong as it was ‘this time of season’. We walked out and booked it through another hotel.
On return from our first evening meal in Dalat a different receptionist had received a message from the other hotel and said they had requested for us to go and see them. There were no messages left so we were about to leave to go to the other hotel when the receptionist demanded that we leave our passports with her. We are never happy leaving passports with reception in any hotel as they are often unmanned with the keys to drawers left on the top of the desk. We have been travelling Vietnam for over three weeks and each hotel has given us our passports back on request within the hour. We had already left passports in the hands of the receptionist for an hour on check-in and then requested them back; swapping them for photocopied passport and visa information so they could fill out the necessary procedures.
We informed her that we were unwilling to hand over the passports and she told us that we would have to leave the hotel if we do not hand them over. She wanted to use this as a ransom as she thought we had sorted another hotel to stay at when in actual fact we had no intention of that but had simply used another hotel’s booking service as this Green City Hotel had tried to rip us off. In order for our reservation to be kept we had to pay for the room in full on the first night and told her we would hold our own passports for safe keeping. We did not trust them.
This was the cheapest place we stayed at during our time in Vietnam and we couldn’t wait to leave. We booked here just three nights in advance so didn’t have a lot of options. The rooms appeared to look cosy on the pictures but seeing them in person is different. The hotel itself has a funny smell to it as do the rooms. We had a room with two double beds and the linen/pillows of both had previous guest’s hair on them. The duvet had a stale B.O. smell to it. A lot of dated furniture and a lack of natural light in the room just lead to a grim stay. The bathroom was of equal standard.
I don’t believe our room/bathroom was cleaned during our stay – only our beds were made up. Same wet towels. No re-stock of toilet paper. Bins not emptied.
Breakfast was a feeble effort. First day we had table service. Both omelettes and scrambled eggs were bland, bread, jam and bananas being the other options. Second and third day was a buffet style with pancakes and tomatoes as further selections.
During our second night here there was a late check in of a large group of guests which was very noisy. The bar next door (mentioned on TA by other guests) to the hotel plays loud music until around 11pm. I’m not sure if I could call it shady, but there are a lot of Vietnamese who do their usual thing of staring at you and your belongings as you walk past. There are a number of intimidating places on that street but I would say the location of the hotel is in an OK proximity to the city sights.
Another thing worth mentioning – I’m not sure if it is school holidays for the kids but there are a few that hang around the hotel and use the communal computers – we don’t have any problem at all with this but on our first morning we heard a child crying and being smacked by presumably a staff member outside our room. We left our room moments after and saw the child kneeling; staring at the corner of a wall (we guess punishment). None of our business but hearing and seeing this was distressing and something we shouldn’t be witnessing.
We always like to read the reviews on TA before booking. This was the one of the better rated available hotels to us. We noticed that the owner replies to the non-favourable reviews so we expect a response to our feedback within time. You (the reader) will no doubt be aware that we, along with the tripadvisor community try to give as honest a review as we possibly can and gain nothing from this. So if it does so happen that the manager decides to comment then please feel free to exchange emails with us as TA does not allow us the opportunity to reply to a owner’s response.
Other tips for your stay in Dalat...
If you like your food you will struggle to find a decent restaurant in Dalat. The top reviewed restaurants aren’t actually what you could call restaurants but are more music venue’s that offer cafe style food. We ate at two highly ranked establishments (on TA anyway!). First being V Cafe (linked someway to this hotel as you get a 10% discount voucher) but found it to offer cheap pub grub of a poor standard and on closer inspection of the reviews, most talk about the entertainment rather than the dining options. The other was ‘Art Cafe’, one meal was nice and one was terrible.
Try the ‘windmill’ for a good coffee and a cake – really pleasant/helpful staff.
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