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“A positive experience”

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So La Trade Union Hotel
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Son La
Reviewed November 19, 2013

We stayed at this hotel during our 20 days tour of Vietnam.
The hotel offers a very interesting experience, for sure not a western style hotel. The hotel has very large restaurant that probably is used for large events/meeting.
The room was well equipped, with air conditioning, mini refrigerator, insect net and spacious. Yes hard bed as we found in similar hotels.
We ate at the hotel restaurant and found the food quite good,breakfast with Vietnamese food, no really "westernised"
We were there as part of group tour so can not comment on price.
We felt comfortable although the hotel is spartaneous and would recommend this hotel, it will enrich your travel experience.

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Fab A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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7 - 13 of 17 reviews

Reviewed September 23, 2013

A lot of the reviewers seem to treat the Trade Union Hotel as a hotel. It should be thought of as an experience—kind of how you would do a homestay in Vietnam. You don’t do a homestay for comfort and great facilities. You do it to have a different kind of experience and learn something else about the culture of the country. For that reason, a stay (most typically of one night while passing through) is a good idea.

The Trade Union is a large, old hotel and a leftover from before the advent of mass tourism and more modern hotels. It is late 1970's Communism relic. Yes, the halls are a bit dingy and nothing in the rooms seems to fit or close quite properly. Yes, the beds are hard (OK, very, very hard). But the AC is cold and the water is hot and the room is clean. My biggest complaint would be the breakfast which, if eating from the side of the buffet oriented to western tastes, is bland.

The front desk tries to please—everyone was very sweet. And it does help to negotiate. We were able to knock off 20%.

If there is any kind of social activity in the dining room in the evening, definitely go. We enjoyed a very odd mix of local dances, karaoke and poetry recitals. The Vietnamese were quite pleased that we stayed for a while and took part.

Since it doesn’t appear that there is anything much better in Son La anyway, it makes good sense to try to Trade Union and think of it as a fascinating cultural experience from the old days.

By the way, the "Professional Photo" on this page is not this hotel. I believe it is one of the other Trade Union Hotels.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Keith B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2013

First of all the idea that Son La is just a 'transport hub' (Lonely Planet) is utter nonsense. Sure if you want your standard tourist town with English menus go elsewhere. But if you want to see a real bustling Vietnamese town full of character in the mountains with some great sights then stop here (we thought this town was better and has way more stuff to do than Dien Bien Phu which appears to us to be much smaller than Son La). I'm not sure the LP writers spent any significant time in Son La. Definitely check out the prison museum and climb up to the view point - but wander round the town as well. The town is surrounded by beautiful limestone rock.

That aside, the Trade Union Hotel (actually called Coan Doan Hotel - as I'm sure anyone who actually spent 1 minute in Son La (cough Lonely Planet cough) would know - you'll need this for your taxi driver) was one of the best we stayed in in Vietnam. We got a double room for $21 a night (our normal budget in Vietnam) - we just turned up without booking. This included breakfast for 2 (only after we haggled them to include this).

The room was spotlessly clean (the hallways are a little dirty, but they don't reflect how clean the rooms are), plenty of piping hot water in the shower, air con worked fine, service was excellent (they gave us a map and helped us find some of the sights), location excellent - right in the centre of Son La and right next to the path/stairs to climb to the view point. If I had one issue it would be the food - this was distinctly average and a tad pricey by Vietnamese standards. However, you don't have to eat there, in fact I'd recommend stepping out and trying out your Vietnamese food words around town!

Room Tip: Haggle the price. If they offer a price including breakfast ask for one without breakfast (is usual...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank michty6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013 via mobile

We stayed one night enroute from Hanoi to Sapa by road A story all on its own. Great location outside local markets. Cheap room cold air con standard Vietnamese leaky showers. Friendly staff. Off the tourist route.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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1  Thank SteveBarnes58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2012

I can't be positive if I look with western tourist eyes searching for comfort.
but still I would recommend this hotel to anyone who want's to experience what old communism is.

the dining HALL, the stairs, the rooms, ... it al looks a bite like a strange movie set.

one night is ok to experience it, but since Son La is that small there aren't much options, so if you're not dying for luxorous breakfast, or need to have silk on your bed. check this hotel out.

at first we we're a bit confused but then you really feel how this state organized hotels are build,
worn out? yes, experience and in a strange way beautiful? yes

check the pictures on the website and you know what I mean. http://www.sonlatradeunion.com.vn/

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank benjaminv816
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2012

Checked this place out because it was in the Lonely Planet guide. Old, unclean looking, run down. Dont bother - there are better alternatives in town.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank tellerto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2012

This was our driver's suggestion since we had not booked anywhere. We are not sure if we were given a suite or standard double but it was very large, in 3 parts, with a floor to ceiling curtain separating sleeping and sitting quarters. The bed had a bridal feel to it with its overhanging canopy of pink netting, which turned out to be a sophisticated form of gliding mozzie net. The best part was the efficient room heater (every floor of the hotel was draughty, with walls missing on some floors) the clean sheets and the comfortable bed.

The bathroom was a large room with a shower over the bath. No one warned us it took 15 minutes or more before the wall heater could get the water hot enough for a shower or that it then very quickly got VERY HOT. So one of us had a cold shower and the other narrowly missed being scalded. The water from the sink simply ran onto the floor as there was no pipe connecting to the outlet - not the first time we'd seen this particular form of plumbing.

Dinner in the restaurant which was a cavernous draughty affair consisted of a choice between fried rice and fried noodles (the rice was better) and the included breakfast was missable. The staff all wore overcoats but were very freindly and did their best to be helpful including the restaurant manger who insisted on plying us with rice wine.

Given the price of US$27 and its location (near the prison and museum, on the road out to DBF) we're not sure that we could have done much better.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank mellowyellow88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about So La Trade Union Hotel

Address: No. 4, Xuan Thuy Street, Son La 27000, Vietnam
Location: Vietnam > Son La Province > Son La
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Son La
Number of rooms: 100

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