Picked solely from online reviews, my wife and I were initially surprised at the Hanoi Meracus' location in the heart of Hanoi's Old Quarter, literally a stone's throw away from picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake and a five-minute walk to the nearest Highlands Coffee joint that has a view of the city's busiest 6-way intersection, perfect to witness the orderly chaos that is Hanoi traffic.
We arrived in the middle of the night. After about an hour's drive from the airport (transfers arranged thru the hotel), we arrived at the Meracus, the only lighted place in a seemingly endless maze of dark alleys. Little did we know that during the day, this street called Hang Dzau is only one of many where vendors line their wares, from the ubiquitous Pho, to shoes, bags, hats, souvenirs, all the way to custom tailors.
It takes a couple of upward steps from the street to reach the hotel lobby, and before these stairs is a conveniently placed Citibank ATM across the umbrella depository. The lobby is conveniently air-conditioned and quiet, with an expansive waiting area at the back end just across the single elevator.
We requested for a queen size bed for our room, and though the sheets look like it was made for that size, we found out that the bed was actually two double beds put together, so the middle part was hard. It didn't bother us much though, as we could both easily fit on either side. The closet is average in size, and the bathroom is decently-sized. The shower is sort of high-tech in that you need to read the instructions at the back of the door to understand how it works. The room also has a complimentary fruit set (that they replenish daily) in addition to the standard two bottles of water. But get this: a laptop is also part of the room. This was one of the reasons why we didn't bring ours, and it is a convenience we both experienced for the first time. Their broadband internet was fast, and the laptop itself wasn't loaded with bloatware.
Breakfast was the biggest and most pleasant surprise. Despite the small dining area which seats no more than 18 people, the food was downright divine. My only requirement--that there be bacon--was met, and in addition to that, their cooking was top notch, with about 5-6 selections on the buffet table, plus salad and dessert. There are three types of juice, and you can ask for coffee--all part of the breakfast with no extra charge. Honestly, the best meals we had in Hanoi weren't even in the homegrown restaurants, but in the Meracus' breakfast room.
The room's main door is a bit difficult to lock, but is secure once it is. There are no door cards but instead a double-sided ornament which you hang on the door handle. If you do not place the do not disturb sign outside the door, definitely expect people to come in unannounced, whether to clean or replenish something in the room.
As for cleanliness, we didn't see anything unsightly throughout the hotel, and our toilet was sanitized every day (they place a strip of paper on it saying it was). Floors are spotless, walls are clean, sheets are odorless and pillows too (I think these were goose down ones).
The reception staff are very helpful, and most importantly, they understand moderate English. We learned the hard way in Hanoi: very few of the natives speak English, even at the basic level. For reference, the staff in a well-known apparel shop located in Hanoi's largest mall do not understand "please get us new stock of this item" or any other simplified version of that phrase.
I was particularly pleased when I had a gout attack which affected my elbow and foot. They directed me to the nearest pharmacy and constantly asked me how I was doing every time I pass by the lobby.
Overall my wife and I think that our decision to stay at the Meracus was a very good one, and when we do return to Hanoi, this would be the only place we would consider. At our budget (we are newlyweds), we believe that this hotel delivers international standards at a very reasonable price.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Hang Dau (Hang Dau) street – the famous shoe-shopping street of Old Quarter Hanoi, Meracus Hotel is at convenient place where you just step out and feel the true life of the over-1000-year-old beautiful city. With graceful design of lobby, lounge, restaurant and rooms, Meracus Hotel is the most right place for your relax after hours of working or traveling. ... more less
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