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“Not 4 star standards, very surly staff”

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Van Phat Riverside Hotel
Ranked #18 of 44 Hotels in Can Tho
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Not 4 star standards, very surly staff”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 31, 2014

We stayed one night in this hotel as part of the Sinh Tourist 2 day Mekong tour. We were quite concerned after reading the reviews on here about scams at check out but luckily we didn't have any problems, neither did anyone else on our group.
However, while this may have been classed 4 star on opening, it really has failed to maintain these standards. The staff, both on arrival, and at all times throughout our stay were surly and very unwelcoming. This is not the customer service you expect any any hotel, let alone a 4 star hotel. The staff attitude seemed to be why say 5 words words when you can get away with one word...
We tried to use our safe, following the instructions word for word, and only managed to active an alarm which we could not turn off. The same happened to everyone else in our group, as alarms went off all along the corridor... We tried to ring down to reception for assistance, but the telephone did not work. We tried to find a member of staff for assistance, but could find none. Luckily, the alarms eventually turn themselves off...
The outdoor pool is nice, but there are strongly worded notices in the room instructing you not to remove the towels or anything other items from the room (a notice we heeded after reading the scam reviews), but there were no towels available at the pool - again not something you would expect from a 4 star hotel.
The breakfast is mediocre. The showers were excellent.

Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Lindsey C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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114 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
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English first
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2014 via mobile

I'm a regular Trip Advisor reviewer. Unfortunately this is my first negative review. My wife and I are retired professionals from Canada, returning to our 1970's backpacking roots. We're presently traveling with our son and daughter-in-law and calculate that collectively we share 30 years of international backpacking experience, much of it in the developing world. We are therefore well versed in tourist scams, but didn't expect to be confronted by them at what appeared to be a nicer hotel than our usual $20 per night choice.

Scam #1 - The Mini Bar Scam:
When you arrive in your room at the Van Phat Hotel, the mini bar drinks are sitting warm on a tray and the fridge is turned off. If you turn on the fridge and place the drinks inside, be prepared to pay for them at check-out whether you drink them or not. Cold drinks are collected from the fridge and presented to you at checkout along with the bill. This was a first for us in a lifetime of world travel!

Scam # 2 - The Property Damage Scam:

As described in detail by my daughter-in-law in her own review, this scam involved a false accusation of damage to a house coat. We had actually commented on the beautiful quality of the new house coats in our room on arrival. The damaged housecoat we were presented with as evidence was old and tatty with a long slit down one seam. We believe we were probably targeted for this scam because we were the most senior members of our group by many years, and the last to pay our mini bar bill, immediately prior to bus departure time.

I won't restate all the details of the scam attempt, but want to make the point to our fellow travellers, the Van Phat Hotel management and the tour operators that in the age of Trip Advisor and other social media, it is no longer possible or advisable to scam tourists without serious repercussions to your reputation.

This scam attempt left my daughter-in-law (a highly skilled hospitality industry professional) and the rest of our family group extremely upset on the final day of an otherwise pleasant month long tour of Vietnam.

Stayed March 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Peter B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Can Tho hotels

Hobart, Australia
Level Contributor
42 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2014 via mobile

We stayed at the Van Phat 1 Hotel as part of an organised tour with The Sinh Tourist company and had no complaints until it came time to pay for our mini-bar usage and were charged with a 500 000 VDN fine.

When we checked into the hotel the bar fridge was empty and all the drinks were sitting warm on a tray placed on top. We thought this was a bit odd so we put a couple of beers inside the fridge in case we wanted to enjoy them later that evening. We laughed the next morning when we went to put them back on the tray and they felt a bit frosty. I guess this is why they keep them out of the fridge, we thought.

Our party of four was booked into two rooms and when an older member of our group went to pay for his one beer, the receptionist informed him that he was also liable for the two frosty beers from our room, as they could no longer be sold. The beers weren't marked up too badly and we were fine to take them for the bus ride so we paid without hesitation. Since this was a big establishment we decided to break a 500 000 VDN note on the 66 000 VDN mini bar charge in order to get some smaller change for the market. The receptionist counted out our change but then retained it and informed us that we were also liable for a 500 000 VDN charge for damaging a bathrobe which had alledgedly been left on our bed. We had only used one bathrobe the night before when one of us had gone for a swim. The bathrobe from our room felt very new and after the ten minute swim, three of us returned to our rooms and I placed it on the luggage rack where it remained until we checked out. I was certain that we had not damaged the bathrobe and asked if I could see it. The receptionist (manager?) informed me that it was up on my bed where we had left it (untrue) and he sent a staff member to retrieve it. When the staff member arrived she was carrying a folded older looking bathrobe with a seam that had come unstitched along the side which created a ~25 cm opening. It was very apparent to us that this was not the same bathrobe from our room and we refused to pay for damage that we had not caused. At this point the receptionist became fairly aggressive and rude. Because our bus was almost ready to depart, our guide came in to see what was going on.

After some quick discussion, our guide told the staff members that this was an old bathrobe and suggested that while the price to replace a new bathrobe may be 500 000 VDN, this one was not worth that much. At this point the staff agreed to drop the price down to 250 000 VND.

We were now holding up everyone else from our tour who were waiting on the bus and there was a lot of pressure on us to settle the bill quickly and leave. We feel that the employees who were holding our change ransom were counting on us to succumb to this pressure and pay the fine despite doing nothing wrong in the same way that another Trip Advisor member had done at this same hotel last month when she was fined 200 000 VDN for allegedly stealing a face cloth. In the end, because the change was already sitting down below on the receptionist's side of the desk, I was able to quickly reach over and grab it, and the altercation ended with a lot of angry looking staff watching me storm out the door, my correct change in hand.

In our opinion this was a well orchestrated scam designed to cheat unsuspecting tourists with high pressure false allegations which are difficult to disprove (a variation of the damaged sea-doo, motor scooter, or surf board rental scams prevalent on tourist beaches around the region). In retrospect, I believe the only thing we could have done differently would have been to pay our mini bar tab in exact change, though a confrontation may have occured regardless.

We have written to the management of The Sinh Tourist to alert them to this dishonest behaviour. We are all seasoned travelers accustomed to vigilance towards hustlers on the street but were upset to have this treatment in a supposed 4 star hotel.

Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
4 Thank laurayjosue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Level Contributor
116 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 13, 2014

A bit far from city downtown but its location itself offer a cozy ambiance. Spacious room, new facilities, average breakfast and good value of money. They also have a restaurant which locates along the river, offer a wide range of local culinary. Nice choice of accommodation in Can Tho City.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank pinky2510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VanPhatHotelsGroup, Manager at Van Phat Riverside Hotel, responded to this review, March 26, 2014
Dear Pinky 2510,

Thank you for taking the time to give us and others in the Tripadvisor community your valuable feedback. We're delighted to hear that you enjoyed your time at the resort.
Do you have any favorite photos to share? We'd love to see them! We hope to welcome you back again soon.

With my warm regards,

Tien Le (Mr.)

(tienle@vanphathotels.com)
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin TX
Level Contributor
140 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 166 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 16, 2014

Stayed at Van Phat 1 Hotel as part of our 3 days/2 nights Mekong Delta tour with Sinh.

Pros:
- Rooms are spacious, clean and nice.
- Bathroom was clean and well equipped, great shower
- Decent Breakfast

Cons:
- The food at the Cafe is hopeless, overpriced and not so good.
- The cafe staff speaks NO English at all.
- The Hotel staff is indifferent, and not very welcoming
- If not for the Tour agencies stopping here, don't think it is a very popular place.
- Location is a big drawback, far away from the city center.

Room Tip: Don't recommend staying here as independent traveler.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank GotSumS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VanPhatHotelsGroup, Manager at Van Phat Riverside Hotel, responded to this review, March 26, 2014
Dear GotSumS,

Thank you for taking your time to have shared your stay experience at Van Phat 1 Hotel. Please rest assured that your note has been seriously address to all heads of departments for necessary plan to refresh training to the team on service delivery to maintain hotel standard. I do apology for any inconvenience caused due to our service did not meet your expectation.

We look forward to welcoming you back soon!

Best Regards,

Tien Le (Mr.)
(tienle@vanphathotels.com)
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 6, 2014

I stayed here during a 2D1N Mekong River Delta Tour with The Sinh Tourist. The location is not ideal, and while facilities were adequate, it was by no means 4 star, more like 2.5 star. For a stop-over during a tour, this hotel would be fine, but if you are staying in town to sightsee I suggest you look elsewhere.

Furnishings in the room were dated, and I spotted a gecko. Other than that it was clean, beds were fine, the toilets worked, the hot shower worked, and the buffet breakfast was above average.

We were given two coupons for free massage, which we did not use. Our local friends' advice is that if you do avail yourself of the massage, remember to check if the couple massage is carried out in the same room, or separate rooms.

Lastly, this is important. The booklet in the room includes a list of items provided for you (towels, slippers, etc.). Upon getting the room, please check this list, and if you are staying here for more than one night, check it every day after housekeeping. You will be asked to reimburse for lost items when you check out. Now, I admit I am an inexperienced traveller, so I was not aware of this list and thus did not check (all hotels I've stayed at before overseas did not feature such lists, or no similar incident took place). The receptionist did not tell us there was such a list that we had to check either. When I checked out she told me two face towels were missing, and asked us to pay VND200000. I spoke to the manager, who stood by his staff, who he insisted had checked the room thoroughly before we checked in. Now that I think about it, I should have talked to The Sinh Tourist tourguide assigned to us, because that is quite a reputable tour agency (this hotel, not so much), but I didn't. Next time, if you are on this tour, check if you'll stay at this hotel. If you must, check the list. If you get into the same trouble, talk to the tour guide, and hopefully he'll settle it for you. Otherwise, do the stupid thing like I did because I was in a hurry, and cough up that amount of money for two measly face towels that probably cost less than $1. The service industry is normally ruled by soft touches, not hard laws, and such business conduct to me is immensely strange. Why treat your guests that way?

Whew, the incident left a bad taste! That thing they always say about Southern Vietnamese friendliness and hospitality, it's not true anymore, at least not here. How regrettable.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank annechan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 30, 2014 via mobile

We booked the Mekong Delta tour with Sinh Tourist and this hotel was part of the package. Spacious room, great shower, good bed, enough power sockets, so that was all good. The place is far out of the center and a bit impersonal, but then again, most 4+ star hotels tend to be like that. We enjoyed our stay here.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Geertrui P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Van Phat Riverside Hotel

Property: Van Phat Riverside Hotel
Address: 02 Nguyen Van Cu street | Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho 900000, Vietnam (Formerly Van Phat Hotel)
Location: Vietnam > Mekong Delta > Can Tho
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge 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 #18 of 44 Hotels in Can Tho
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Van Phat Riverside Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 89
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