We visited the Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa in July and stayed for one night in a deluxe room. This was part of a short tour of the area which included two nights on the Livitrans train (a journey of 8.5 hours each way) and one night at Topas EcoLodge.
Although guests of the hotel, we had not been able to obtain a berth in one of their sleeping carriages on the hotel’s dedicated Victoria Express train. This was unfortunate as the Victoria Express’ departure and arrival times were more convenient, leaving Hanoi at 9.50pm and arriving at Lao Cai station at 6.15am, than the Livitrans train which we did eventually book, departing at 8.35pm and arriving at 05.05am. Nevertheless, the route was exactly the same and I suspect that we would have experienced the same lack of sleep on both trains.
On arrival at Lao Cai station we were picked up by our pre-booked driver who drove us the 45km along the winding mountain road to Sapa. As darkness gave way to light and we drove closer to Sapa the views became more and more spectacular with stunning mountains and picturesque rice paddy fields. As the single rice harvest of the year is in October after which the terraces are bare, July was a perfect time to view the lush green fields.
On reaching Sapa, the town had the air of a European mountain village and the temperature was considerably cooler than the 38 degrees we had just experienced in Hanoi. The hotel itself, which resembled a mountain chalet, was situated on a hill just above the centre of the town and had wonderful views.
After filling out the necessary paperwork at the hotel we asked whether we could check in to our room as we were totally exhausted but we were told that we would have to wait. We then asked whether it would be possible to have breakfast while we waited, which we would be happy to pay for, but we were told that it was too early. Eventually we were allowed to purchase a coffee in the Ta Van bar while we waited and, after half an hour, we were finally shown to our room. Although this was an inauspicious start, made worse by our lack of sleep the night before, our stay did improve from this point onward.
The room in which we stayed was delightful and had a view over the hotel gardens from the balcony. We had a comfortable but firm queen bed, tea and coffee making facilities, mini-bar and in-room safe. We did not use the television. The en-suite bathroom had a bath and they had thoughtfully provided a step in order to climb into the bath to take a shower as the sides of the bath were rather high for those of us who are vertically challenged. The room was not air conditioned, although it had a ceiling fan, but I suspect that you do not really need it in the cooler climes of Sapa. We greatly appreciated the fact that, even though we had already checked out of the hotel, they allowed us to shower in a courtesy room the following day prior to our return train trip to Hanoi. This was a nice touch.
The Spa was situated about 200 metres up the hill from the hotel and although I was kindly offered a lift in the hotel golf buggy as it was raining I was very happy to grab an umbrella from reception and walk there. I had booked the 90 minute Victoria Massage which was total bliss. I could have stayed there all day as it was, without doubt, one of the best massages I have ever had and it was worth every penny. They do offer cheaper options in town but I seriously doubt whether they would be as good.
The hotel has a small boutique where they permit some of the local Black Hmong and Red Dzao ladies to sell their wares. This is a great idea and as the ladies were so charming and made us laugh I couldn’t resist buying some of their beautiful woven cloth (‘an heirloom from her grandmother’, she said with a wry smile!). In addition, there is also a loom in the reception area where a local lady weaves beautiful scarves each day; it was lovely to watch how skilled she was and to see the finished product. The prices here are higher than in the market but you can browse and haggle in comfort without being surrounded.
The hotel’s Ta Van restaurant offers wonderful views over the town of Sapa. It is here that they serve the extensive breakfast buffet and where we had a wonderful fruit platter and eggs cooked to order. The coffee, which is included in the breakfast price, is filter but there is an option to purchase Lavazza coffee, which we happily did.
In our opinion, this is definitely the best hotel in Sapa, due to its location, its character and the way in which it harmonises with the local area. We wish we had stayed two nights in the Victoria rather than wasting our second night in, in our opinion, inferior accommodation elsewhere.
The only thing I would change, in order to offer clients an even better experience, is to suggest that provision be made for early arrivals. As the majority of visitors travel on one of the overnight trains, arriving exhausted in the early hours of the morning, it is not unreasonable to assume that some people will want to check in to their rooms, freshen up and have something to eat earlier in the day. Other than this small improvement, I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel and would definitely return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa is unique 4 star with international standard, is located in one of the most beautiful and unspoiled locations of Northern Vietnam, (1,600 m), 380 km Northwest of Hanoi, among the highest peak Fan Si Pan (3,143 m), 38 km from Chinese border and 34 km from Lao Cai railway station. The Victoria Sapa Hotel is reachable by Victoria Express Train, which departs 6 times a week from Hanoi to Lao Cai and Laocai to Hanoi. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Victoria Sapa Hotel Sapa
- Victoria Hotel Sapa
- Sapa Victoria Hotel