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“Do yourself a favour and avoid this hotel during the rain season (November)”

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Essence Hoi An Hotel & SPA
Ranked #20 of 170 Hotels in Hoi An
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 24, 2013

Our stay at the Essence hotel was a bit chaotic and happened during a flood in November. Because of the circumstances, it's a bit difficult to give a fair assessment. In any case, I strongly advise you NOT to stay in the Essence Hoi An Hotel in November (or any other month with a risk of heavy rain). If you are still hesitant, read the story below, you will know what risks you are facing.

We had booked a normal room in the hotel for 4 nights. We knew November was not the best time to visit Hoi An but we thought that the hotel location was "safe". How wrong we were!
After a flight and a transfer from Danang, we reached the Essence hotel in the middle of the afternoon. We were welcome by a lady at the reception and we were served welcome drinks. She ran the usual introduction, gave us maps, told us about the hotel amenities, etc. We asked about the spa and she told me us it would open the following week. I am not sure we would have gone to the hotel spa - they are usually way more expensive than their equivalent outside - but it was a bummer. If you call yourself Essence Hoi An Hotel & Spa, you should have a spa, shouldn't you? That was not a good start.
When she had finished her explanations, the lady told us she needed a "small favor" from us. It turned out that our room was still occupied by a family whose daughter was sick. At least that was the story we were told. As a result, we needed to spend the first night in a different hotel. We had traveled for several hours and just when we thought we were about to be able to finally relax in our room, we had to take a taxi and leave to some other place. We did not really buy that moving story of a sick child but are you gonna do? We said fine and as a "compensation" she told us we would have a better room for the other 3 days. The better room was supposed to be what we booked, but with a balcony... which is quite useless when it rains so often. The worst thing was that the hotel was obviously half empty and they could have accommodate us easily. We probably should have said something but we did not and we were sent to the Hoi An Hotel, which was not bad. We were supposed to take a taxi back to the Essence hotel the following day as soon as we were ready.
End of chapter 1. No spa, no room.

As planned, the following day around 9 AM, we called a taxi to drive us to the Essence hotel. After a few hundred meters, the taxi had to stop: The road was closed. From the distance, we could see water on the street. There was a flood. At first, we thought it was not a big deal. The Hoi An hotel where we had spent the night was not affected at all, and we had the impression that the Essence hotel was not particularly lower than the rest of the city, nor was it close to the river. Anyway, the taxi drove us back to the Hoi An Hotel. There, the reception called the Essence hotel. We were told to wait in the lobby. We did wait for more than 2 hours and we were starting to get really angry. Finally we talked to the Essence hotel on the phone. The conversation was not easy. They said they had a flood and they sent someone. After more waiting and more talking, the guy from the Essence hotel took us to the Essence Hotel... by boat ! We had completely underestimated the magnitude of the flood. It was not only a little water on the street. Only when the water had completely receded, did we realize that there had been a good meter and a half of water in the street !
The hotel is not on a street level, but the lobby was also under water. In order to get to our room, we had to jump in the water. At this point, we wondered what we should do. Some other guests were leaving, but they had had time to find an alternative solution in the morning. We had already paid our room, the Hoi An hotel seemed to be fully booked and we were not feeling like taking the boat back to the city center, and go... where? So we stayed and were given a suite.
We spent the rest of the day in our suite, wondering what we should do. The suite was nice for sure, but we were trapped. There was nowhere to go. We could have taken a boat and gone back to the city where the streets were clear of water but it was already too late and we were afraid of what would happen if there were no boat to take us back to the hotel in the evening. That was a long afternoon. In the evening, we asked if there was any food available. The kitchen seemed to be somehow still functioning but the cooks had water up to their knees. They prepared a simple meal (no choice) for everyone and they delivered it to our room. Under the circumstances, that's the best they could possibly do.
That evening, we noticed a note to all guests dated from the previous day in the morning. It said that they were expecting a flood and that there might be inconvenience. So it seems that they knew what was coming when we checked-in and were sent to the other hotel ! This made me quite mad. They should have informed us. We could have organized ourselves, maybe found another place and avoided this whole mess.

The miracle happened overnight: The water level had decreased significantly. There was no longer water in the hotel itself and the staff had cleaned almost everything already ! That's pretty remarkable. What we heard later is that they kept monitoring the water level the whole night and started cleaning immediately with extra staff as soon as they could, even if it was in the middle of night. We had left a lobby filled with 40cm of muddy water in the evening and at 8 AM the next day, it was spotless. Very impressive. That day, the breakfast was served in our room, and we could only order from a small selection. That was understandable: Even though the hotel was now mostly dry, the street was still under water and the access to the hotel still difficult.
We went to the city walking. First it was easy (maybe 30/40cm of water in street). As we continued to walk, we reached a part of street that was clear. But a bit further away, it was again flooded, this time a bit too deep to walk easily so we took a boat. Although that was much better than the previous day, it can be actually quite tricky if you need to get to the airport with your luggage. No taxi can reach the hotel. If there is lots of water, you take a boat from the hotel to the city center and take a cab there. But if there is too much water to walk and not enough for a boat to pass, then what do you do?
We spent the day in Hoi An - part of the historic center was underwater but we could visit the rest of the city. Later when we headed back to the hotel, the water had further receded and we could walk to the hotel without needing a boat (there was still water though). In the morning we had asked whether the restaurant would be open in the evening and we got a positive answer. Our plan was to eat in the hotel restaurant. Therefore, it was quite an unpleasant surprise to show up in the restaurant that evening and learn that they had only two set menus to offer. We declined and ate some snacks we had bought at a convenient store (I guess the flood experience made us a bit more cautious). Again, we felt misinformed if not misled.

The following morning, we went down to the dining room for our first real breakfast in the Essence Hotel, only to learn that again they could not serve us the usual breakfast. Like the previous day, we only could order from a limited menu what we wanted! I found this hard to understand: The hotel was clean for 24 hours, we could walk to the city the previous day, and certainly they must have had still food in their stock. After all, the flood situation only lasted for 24 hours. A limited buffet would have been perfectly understandable, and fine with us. But just a few things to choose from? Sorry, but that's not quite what we were expecting, even considering the circumstances.
A large part of the staff was still refining the cleaning of the premises, like the pool area. Their priority seemed to be to make any trace of the flood disappear, rather than take care of their actual guests. Personally, I would have preferred a breakfast buffet over a spotless pool area. I think that could have waited another 2 hours, especially when the weather was rather adverse.

That was the last day when we had to suffer the consequence of the flood. For our last breakfast in the hotel, we could at last experience the Essence hotel in its normal capacity. It was much welcome, and very good ! Unfortunately, we had to leave shortly after.

Unless you want to take the risk of living such an unpleasant experience, you should not stay at the Essence hotel in November. I received an email from the hotel later, explaining that the flood was caused by a water discharge from a hydroelectric plant. Whatever the reason was, the hotel is simply too much exposed to floods. This is likely to happen again, and as a matter of fact, they seem to be quite used to this.
I would also not book any hotel close to the river. I think it's even worse there. Maybe the best is simply to choose another period of the year. In the dry season, I would not have major reservation against the Essence hotel. It's a bit far away from the city center (15/20 minutes), and there is not much to do in the direct neighborhood. Our major issue was the poor information. Otherwise, from what I can tell, it's a very nice hotel.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank DrNeko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hanoielegancehotel, Owner at Essence Hoi An Hotel & SPA, responded to this reviewResponded December 9, 2013

Dear Reader,

We would like to thank you very much for your support to our Essence Hoi an hotel. As you all notice that we have a chain of hotels in Hanoi which provide affordable facilities and warm service to travelers who travel to Vietnam. In a progress of expanding our business, the Essence Hoi an hotel has been opened since August of 2013. Since then, we are continuously trying to improve our facilities and service in order to best serve our honorable customers. Nevertheless, we failed to meet the guest’s expectation in this specified case which we would like to once again offer an apology to the guests.

The reason that we post a management’s respond here is not to offense to what the guests had experienced in our hotel, but to put some clarification so that other readers would understand the situation in full.

The Essence Hoi an hotel is our first one in Hoi an. Obviously, we are quite new to the area. Even though the management board had done many checking through the area before the hotel was opened, there are still existence that we never expect it to be happened. One of them was the recent flood causing by a water discharge from a hydroelectric plant. Talking about this so-called disaster, we was only informed 1 hour before the water level went up significantly. With such a little time, the preparation liked a mess. All we could do by that time was to inform the guests about the situation and prepared some dry hotels in case the hotel would be in flood. We totally agreed with you that we needed to pay more attention to the staying guests rather than anything else at any circumstances. No matter what it is, we have obtained a vital lesson on customer service through this incident.

We also thank you for your kind understanding for our lack of food during these flooded days. Should we have been more informative, it would not mislead you and cause the frustration. It is the first time experience and we had learnt a lot from this.

Regarding to the Spa, we are delightful to inform you all that our Spa has been opened from 26 Nov. 2013. Our local experienced therapists and management will continue to try our best to ensure that you receive the most relaxation of your spa experience. It is our commitment to every visit to the La Siesta that we give you, our treasured client, the most professional service and enjoyment. And, all services are done with the very purest, natural and finest quality products and to the highest hygiene standards. With our appreciation for your kind support, we are continuously running many promotion programs. We hope to welcome you all at our Spa.

To DrNeko, we owe you a sincerest apology. We are of course deeply concerned about your observations on your recent visit. It is essential for us to receive such feedback in order to be able to address service lapses as soon as they occur. Consistency is the only guaranty for continued success and I therefore appreciate you pointing out to us the issues needed to be improved.

We can assure you that we will immediately look at those issues and rectify them. We are hopeful that your next stay with us will be a pleasant one and we are always grateful for any feedback, whether positive or negative as this is the only way we can improve.

Sincerely yours,

Hanoi Elegance Management

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2,419 - 2,425 of 2,972 reviews

Reviewed November 24, 2013

It's a shame about the negative reviews as this is a very nice hotel. The staff are very friendly for example it was my husband's birthday and the staff presented him with a lovely birthday cake (with sing-along!) at breakfast, they had got the details from his passport as I hadn't advised them! what a lovely gesture! The location is OK but a bit of a walk from the old quarter, taxi fares are cheap enough though. Breakfast was good plenty of choice although I was disappointed that there was an extra charge for green tea! The road side room was very nice but noisy at times and the walls are thin so I would recommend a requesting a pool view. There is a good pool table and free bicycle hire- didn't have time to use the pool and gym but it looked nice.

Room Tip: Pool view rooms are quieter
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank montywood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 22, 2013 via mobile

Just excellent. Take the window room (no balcony) unless you want to look at the pool and plan to spend a lot of time in the room. Eat the banana flower salad. Order the 'welcome drink'. Use the free bicycles and the gym. And try the restaurant across the street for low priced, simple, good Vietnamese food - let them do your laundry as well, as all hand washed by the mom. Money well spent. And be sure to tip!

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
2  Thank blittle20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2013 via mobile

My boyfriend and I arrived at hoi an a day earlier than expected, due to some change in travel plans. This was no problem for the essence!! They were very kind to move our stay forward at no extra charge, as well as upgrade us to a deluxe suite due to having no superior rooms available. Throughout our 3 nights we were greeted with friendly service. This hotel is only a short bike ride (2min) to the ancient town, which the hotel supply at no cost. I very much enjoyed my stay at this hotel and if I return to hoi an I will not hesitate to stay here again. Thanks again to all the friendly staff for a wonderful stay!! Best hotel experience I have had so far on my vietnam travels.

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Alex M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2013

We visited this hotel on the 15-17 Nov13 floods. The second day of our visit, the river dam was opened, and the street leading to the hotel was flooded with 1,5 m water. The hotel is raised from street level by some stairs, but it was not enough and the lobby was also overflooded with knee-high water.

First of all, the Essence team made an incredible effort during this time. Electricity, warm water and wifi were always available, as well as food (obviously a limited selection only). As soon as the water in the lobby had receded, they worked full time and managed to have the hotel looking like nothing had happened in less than 24 hours. Really impressive.

But sadly, it is still a fact that the hotel is placed in the flooding plain. Apparentely Hoi An is flooded around 4 times / year, and the road leading to the hotel will normally be affected. With lower floods, this can be even worse, as there would not be enough depth for boats to access the hotel and the only way to move in and out is to get into waist-deep water.

Another issue we experiened was the miscommunication during this period. The day we arrived, we were asked to go one night to another hotel in exchange to an upgrade to a Suite. The reason given was that there were no rooms available, but at that time it was already known that the hotel might be flooded (announcemets had been placed in the stairs at 11:00, we checked in at 15:00). Nothing of this was mentioned to us. The next day, when we tried to return and after paying a taxi to try to take us to the Essence (he couldn't, as the road was blocked), we were told the hotel was flooded. After some discussions, they could either not secure another hotel in the dry area as all affected hotels had already relocated their guests, or they could not agree on the conditions, and we returned to the partially undewater Essence. The staff was really helpful and accomodating, taking our luggage into boats, but had we known this earlier we would have planned things differently, e.g visiting the lower part of the city on the day it was still dry, do our (very needed) laundry in the higher part of town, change our schedule, etc...
I consider in special circumstances, both hotel and guests need to make some compromises and react accordingly, but we couldn't adjust due to the lack of information provided the day before.

A similar issue happened the last day, when we saw the menus being placed, and were told that the kitchen was working normally again. We planned to have something at the hotel that night, only to find they still had only 2 sets available. Had we known this, we would have had dinner in the city.

Other than that, the hotel is really nicely decorated, rooms are clean, breakfast good and varied and staff very helpful and friendly. I can imagine it is a nice place to stay in the dry season, but careful if they change your plans...

The Spa was also not opened when we visited, although they told us it should be opened in the next days.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Fledermaus g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 18, 2013

We were moved here due to the impending visit of Typhoon Haiyan which subsequently headed further north so fortunatley it missed us. The hotel is fairly new and only opened 8 months ago. The room was an excellent standard with view over the paddy fields and mountains in the distance. It is only a short walk from the river about 10-15 mins. The staff at the hotel are excellent they are pleasant and nothing is too much trouble for them. There is a small pool that is more than adequate if you wish to laze around however as there is more than enough to do in Hoi An we only spent a couple of hours around the pool. Breakfast offers a range to suit all tastes including freshly cooked omlets or pancakes.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank soupbandit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2013 via mobile

The hotel is all right, the room is an adequate size and so is the bathroom and it's super clean. The pool area is gorgeous. Breakfast is ok, not great but acceptable, though I must say the coffee is the worst I've ever had in my whole life. The common areas are nice though if it is raining there's nothing to do as, though it has the word "Spa" on its name, there isn't actually a spa in the hotel, at least not yet. Now, on to the reasons of my poor rating to this hotel. First of all, the walls are paper thin. We had a first floor bedroom on block a and could hear absolutely everything. We woke up one morning because the person in the room next to ours was having a shower!! That alone would not be so much of a big deal if it wasn't for the fact that one gets the feeling of being a walking ATM. It started when we checked in, at 11pm. The reception person checking us in asked for our passport and immediately after asked where we were going next and when we said Hue, he wanted us to book a car there. Give me a break, I'd just arrived and it was 11pm! Then, the next morning I enquired about a tour to My Son. The girl at the tour desk was vehement in saying the group tour was no good and it was much better to take the private tour (that sets you back usd 95 for two people). Luckily I was put off by the "services" offered by the hotel by then, and ended up booking both the car to Hue as well as the trip to My Son with an agent in town. On our second evening there I lost the card key to my room. Since they put a sticker in the card with the room number, we thought it wise, for safety reasons, to get a new card done. I was in dismay when told they would charge USD 5 for a new card!!!!!!!! I have never ever seen something like that before and told the staff I found that insulting! Ha? Magically the card that I'd lost appeared! Someone had found it in the pool area! Finally, upon checking out, I was counting the dollars to pay for our stay (they add a credit card fee if you pay by card, which is understandable but would be more elegant if such fee would be already included in the rate) when the girl at reception just grabbed the partial payment of me!!!! Without even giving me the chance to lay all the cash on the table. So rude, lacking manners! We were just super put off by then, we just had the feeling that hotel staff were (in this case, quite literally) money grabbers, with little regards to guests satisfaction. I was glad to leave.

The hotel itself is not bad, apart from the noise issue. However, since it is quite a fair walk to town (about 20 minutes if you are young and fit) and service is not good, I would consider other options.

Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
3  Thank Sissi2702
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Essence Hoi An Hotel & SPA

Address: 132 Hung Vuong Street | Thanh Ha Ward, Hoi An, Vietnam
Phone Number:
Location: Vietnam > Quang Nam Province > Hoi An
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 170 Hotels in Hoi An
Price Range: $95 - $305 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 38
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on Hung Vuong Street, on the edge of Hoi An’s old town and not far from the Japanese Covered Bridge, this brand new 4 star boutique hotel nestles on the edge of quiet lush green paddy fields away from the crowds of the old town. Set in a tropical garden, the style embodies authentic, ancient Hoi An charm mixed with modern influences. Our guest rooms have either balconies or large windows bringing you close to nature in a Vietnamese comfort of modern settings. A couple can enjoy their stay in a Deluxe room or a Suite while a family of 4 - 5 people can share a large Family balcony room or take a luxurious Pool view Connecting room. We provide private transfers from Da Nang airport or rail station, daily buffet breakfast, afternoon tea and sunset cocktails as well as many other complimentary services and amenities. The hotel is operated and managed by renowned Hanoi Elegance & Essence Group. Our team of professionals brings a fresh breeze with a new trend of simply comfort and highest quality of customer service to Hoi An. ... more   less 
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