The Northern Hotel is lovely - from the street the entrance looks impressive, welcoming and classy, especially as it has a similar looking hotel right next door, both with identical massive potted trees and stairway - with doorman at the ready to open the spotless glass door for arriving visitors. Once inside, the Northern hotel reception area is luxuriously decorated, shiny and pristine. The reception was pleasant and efficient and we were shown to our room promptly. It was a very pleasant corner room, filled with light streaming through corner windows, and although not spacious, it was well furnished and comfortable.
The first warning sign that there was trouble ahead was to find the corridor full of cigarette smoke when we came out of our room on our way out. I saw some business men puffing away whilst sitting in their suite with the door wide open. On our way out I spoke to the receptionist and she assured me that the floor was "non smoking" and they would advise the smoking guests of this fact. When we got back to the hotel later there was no cigarette smell.
But that night at 11:04pm precisely, I was woken from my sleep by a strong pungent odour of cigarette smoke pumping into the room via the air-conditioning vent! I called reception and they sent up a fellow in overalls with a bucket and a can of scented "air freshener"! The lack of English language skills caused confusion and there was nothing to be done except wait for morning...
But there's more! Not only was the room filled with malodorous cigarette smoke, causing my sinuses to swell up, the person upstairs decided to start shifting their furniture about! For hours I heard chairs and whatever being scraped across the wooden floor! Then at 2am I could hear a bath upstairs filling up for a long time. At 3am I could hear splashing in the bath; then I heard it being emptied - and yes, I heard the water gushing down the drain.
But that's not all! I was also being disturbed by noise outside in the street! A person was selling hot buns from a bicycle in the middle of the night, advertising her presence with a very loud, very annoying recorded voice screeching out a jingle very time she rode past. I doubt if she sold anything because she rode past every 8 minutes without stopping; plus there was no one visible in our street. It stopped at around 3am.
Needless to say, with the smoke, the scraping furniture, the bath and the hot bun bicycle I got no sleep that night and I was glad when the sun came up at 6am and I could begin the day by asking the hotel manager to move us to a quieter room on a genuinely non-smoking floor.
He was most concerned for our comfort and promptly organised for us to stay in a suite on a higher floor at the back of the hotel. It was a lovely, much bigger room and quiet to begin with - however, next morning at 6am I was awoken by banging and scraping from the room upstairs - people packing and moving out... and smoke was again coming in through the air conditioning vent! We left Ho Chi Min city that day, so thankfully I did not have to endure another night in that hotel.
It's a shame that the Northern is a lovely hotel but seriously marred by the inconsideration of some guests who will smoke and make a racket just because they are up, with no thought of other guests who may be trying to sleep at night. If the Northern adopted a strict no-smoking policy [because the 'non-smoking' floors idea clearly doesn't work with their poor air-conditioning system] then I would certainly stay there again. However, it's up to them to entice a clientele of guests, not just accommodate noisy, smoking inconsiderate ones.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- ...peaceful in saigon center With 99 rooms fully equipped at 3 star international standard, 100% room with nice view and large window, proposed in Superior, Deluxe and Suite categories, Northern Hotel is designed to provide comfort and style with personalized service and convenient amenities, you can enjoy simple comforts and stellar convenience at the best place in Ho Chi Minh City Located in Saigon’s central business district, we are just a short walk from the major entertainment and shopping districts including Opera House, War Remnants, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office… Take a stroll and explore! ... more less
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