Stayed 4 nights in 2 hotels and 3 rooms. First night in the 'Boutique' as room in the Grand that had been booked for a number of months, had 'a terrible smell coming from the toilet' - sounds familiar; read earlier TA reviews. The room in the Boutique would be my idea of a room in a brothel, with its purple chaise longe(?) and matching colour walls; a glass divider between bathroom/toilet and sleeping area (there was a blind to be pulled up/down as preferred!) but it was the Honeymoon Suite, ot a room in a house of ill repute! Breakfast room comprised 2 large tables and big chairs, very ornate and matching the style of our bedroom. Food OK.
Due to a curtailed Ha Long Bay trip we were back after one night away, expecting the hotel to know we were coming a day early as the Ha Long Bay cruise company promised to ring the Grand. Another twist - but we accepted a well worn room on the proviso that we could have the room that we booked months past. Well, guess what, we couldn't. Out of the blue, a newly married couple had arrived and guess what, they were put in the room we had reserved - it was, after all, the Honeymoon Suite. For what it was worth, i spoke to the 'main (young) man, Martin, and explained that I didn't appreciate being lied to, I'd rather them tell me the truth, which I am more prepared to accept. He understood, I think. We did move to our third room in 3 nights, which was very good. Usual little things that with a bit of attention could just push the standard up a little.
However, the remaining time at the Grand was great; lots of banter with Martin, excellent breakfasts. Location is fine and close to the cathedral - it looks in poor state from the outside, but inside, especially when a service is on (please don't take photographs during services, it is a place of worship not a tourist site - thank you) the lighting is absolutely fabulous.
The challenges of crossing the roads are great. Unless you are there for months you will never do the whole city it is like Ho Chi Minh, immense. The street food is popular and reinforces those sellers where the food is good.
Martin likes to remind customers to leave good reiews on TA. I would have rated the experience much better had the likely untruths about the rooms' availabilities not been told. if you read this, Martn, PLEASE take note, don't mess your customers around.
We would stay here again PROVIDING we had the rooms that we reserved. Other than that, Martin is the driving force behind the hotel and he is generally well supported by the housekeeping, kitchen staff and general helpers.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Splendid Star Grand Hotel is a new extension of the local family-owned Splendid Star group. It is located near the center of the Old Quarter, with only a 5 minute walk to Hoan Kiem Lake. We are located on a small street next to St. Joseph's Cathedral, away from the busy traffic of Hanoi. There are numerous restaurants and cafes within the hotel's neighborhood to suit any taste. The atmosphere is comfortable, relaxing, and inviting to all travelers whether you are coming to Vietnam for business, leisure, or holiday. The knowledgeable and accommodating hotel staff is available 24 hours a day and it prepared to help you with any request that you may have. We offer both Western and Vietnamese breakfasts every day in our dining room. We also offer convenient laundry service, tour booking, international visa application, and car service.Each room is equipped with a mini refrigerator, complimentary toiletries, cable television on a LCD screen, a private computer, WiFi connection, air conditioning, and noise canceling glass windows. ... more less
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