I guess I asked for it... David, or Duc de Hanoi, does not have a good reputation among the French community in Hanoi. Despite this, and the fact that his restaurant is not very clean (never had the courage to eat there), we decided to trust the guy and take the BaVi trip overnight. David's price was much, much higher than the other organic/farm/resorts outside Hanoi. But it was a holiday weekend, not so far a drive from hanoi, and he sold well ( soon to be understood as way oversold) the amazing organic farm resort, animals, food, itinerary, fois gras, gourmet organic food, pool, tennis, etc, etc, etc....
When we arrived at the farm we soon realized we had made a big mistake. It was an old, dirty government/military 'hotel' not a resort. The pool and tennis court promised were public facilities a couple of kilometers down the road. The sheets were dirty, no towels, soap or any basic comforts in the room. We had to ask for a fan to be put in the room. The worse part was that the rooms were very dirty and full of bugs, wasps and spiders. Electricity went off several times and there was no place to sit outside, relax and enjoy the country side.
Every aspect of food and service was completely lacking for an overnight price of $400 (which the owner claimed as hugely discounted since I drove our car and we had kids). We dont mind 'roughing it' and very much enjoyed our previous home stay trips in sapa, but this was ridiculously over sold! There was such a gap between what we were told/promised and what was offered.
Instead of fresh coffee with fresh milk we were served instant sweetened coffee. Kids' lunch was fries, rice and at, my insistence for some protein, 'fivi mart's best hotdogs'. Lunch was served on the floor and we all had to drink out of plastic la vie bottles since they only had 2 cups. Food was ok-- vietnamese morning glory, tofu, nems and salad-- but a far cry from the gourmet meal promised.
We visited the goat/sheep farm which the kids liked. We were surprised to see the lack of basic sanitation in the goal cheese production room as well as the cans of powdered milk laying about that we assumed were mixed into the goat milk....unfortunately the ostrich farm was under investigation for a possible bird flu case so the visit there was off. Despite the bird flu threat, David suggested we stop there and buy ostrich meat on sale outside of the farm. We politely declined and were quite puzzled by what seemed to be a lack of good judgement on his behalf.
Much to our surprise dinner included lunch leftovers, a bowl of caramelized onions, tough duck breast and tiny pieces of fois gras that were cold in the middle. Kids were offered rice and left over French fries. I was the only one that ate anything. It was a huge disappointment.
Dreading the thought of sleeping in the filthy hotel, more black- outs, and not looking forward to the following day's visit to the local public pool, we decided to leave and go back home.
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