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“Enjoyable stay at a great location”
Review of Topas Ecolodge

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Topas Ecolodge
Ranked #11 of 68 Hotels in Sapa
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Enjoyable stay at a great location”
Reviewed April 30, 2011

Topas ecolodge is in a remote location but its worth the trip. The rustic rooms are clean and have everything you need. We had plenty of hot water and did not have any problems with rodents of any kind. The food was lovely and plenty of it. You do need to have lunch at the lodge but at $7 US for three courses was very reasonable. Dinner for us was included but if you had to buy it was only $12 US. The bar area was good to go to at the end of the day as just about everyone ended up there and the drinks were very cheap. We went on a 2 hour treck which was very muddy but fun.You do get the local women following you around the treck but this is all part of the experience. We did buy some things off them but make sure you put them in a plastic bag before you put them in your luggage as the dyes they use are not set properly so the colour will rub off on other things. The weather is unpredictable it changed constantly one minute you could see the view the next it was gone. I would definately go back there next time.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Alsione
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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730 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (125)
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English first
Chicago, IL
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2011

We stayed at the Topas Ecolodge for three days/two nights. Some thoughts:

- The area is stunningly beautiful, but the weather is highly variable. We arrived in a cold rain, then had fog, followed by the sun burning through for a picturesque day. If you are looking for guaranteed good weather, I would not go to the whole Sapa area ... but if you are willing to roll the dice and adjust to constantly changing weather ... it is well worth it.

- The rooms at Topas are beautiful, with an interesting blend of rustic feel and very modern conveniences. The challenge, though, is that the hotel often loses power, which means no heat or hot water. On our first night, our room was in the high 50s/low 60s for much of the night because the power had been out most of the day. Also, given how they heat hot water, it is not possible to take a hot shower lasting more than 4-5 minutes, which is a challenge with two people. We ended up taking showers in shifts, which was only a problem after our full day hike in which we were both quite dirty. (As a side note, you can forget using the rain shower head, as it reduces your shower time to 3 minutes!)

- The food at the hotel is really boring and expensive. My reco would be to skip lunch there and walk into one of the towns, or stock up at the free breakfast with enough to get you through lunch. We spent more on food at Topas than during the rest of our trip combined!

- The treks were fantastic, and so beautiful and thought provoking. Be sure to bring good hiking shoes/boots, as the area is really muddy, but well worth it (the mud was actually fun to hike through if you don't mind getting a tad dirty!). One quirk of the hikes is that local towns people will follow you for much of the trek, with the goal of selling you things at the end. We made clear from the start we would not buy anything, and really were not bothered by them at all, but it's something to know.

All in all, we loved the area and are so glad we went. I just wished I knew some of the points above so as to have better managed expectations. Hope this was helpful...

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank Chicago1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phillip Island, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2011

My husband and I had a very short stay at Topas Ecolodge and found the experience excellent. We are not into trecking, so spent our time enjoying the excellent service and food while we sat outside in the sunshine drinking in the wonderful views.
Our cabin was clean and comfortable and I couldn't find anything to complain about.
The staff were friendly and helpful and obviously being trained well in hospitality.
The location is remote and even though the drive from Sapa was scary at times, the driver looked after our safety well.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Blue030
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
montreal,
Level 6 Contributor
85 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2011

Many things have been written regarding this place. It does have an incredible remote location with beautiful views on rice terrasses. In january, february and march, the fog, mist and humidity greatly hide those views. Be aware that it is nothing like the pictures on the hotel site! We had plenty of hot water, one just has to be patient. However there is a rodent problem. Management gave us a letter upon our arrival to inform us that rodent are a 'normal' nuisance in this type of environment. When we were in the lounge (main building) we would here them in the ceiling above our heads (which is the floor of the dining room). I saw one coming down the wall near the internet station. And one morning we saw some mice droppings on several chairs of the lounge. I am sorry, but given the price of the lodge, this is unnaceptable! If there are droppings there, what about the dining room (buffet style), kitchen etc,... Acceptance is not a solution, get a cat!!!

The Red Dao women have been described as persistent and agressive. We absolutely fell in love with them!! They wait for you once you exit the complex to try to sell you their ware. They may be a bit pushy but once they know you will buy something (it can be just a little thing) they become the warmest most gentle people I have ever had the chance to meet. My husband and I took a walk with them each day. First there was a group of 12 following us but after a while they understood that we would buy from only 2 of them. So after 10 minutes the group scattered and our two "friends" remained. We tried to communicate with them and had a lot of fun doing so. We walked together throught rice fields and villages for the next 2 hours. One of the ladies was wearing plastic sandals. She grabbed my hand and led me to a dry path while she took the MUDDY path!! My heart went to them. They are not aggressive. They are somewhat desperate, trying to earn a living in very difficult surroundings. Please be patient with them, they are hard-working and are not asking for charity. They are lovely people!!

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view away from the quarry
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank greatravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2011

We only stayed one night here but wished we could have stayed longer. It was so great to find a comfortable, quiet base in the hills near Sapa. The views are amazing, the staff were delightful and we loved the thoughtful additions like the boot cleaning area, the free Internet, and the guest lounge. Our group of 5 loved the place. I will certainly be back!

  • Stayed March 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SusanCamperdown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ho Chi Minh
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 22, 2011

There’s nothing at Topas except the view & quiet atmosphere. But highly recommend staying in Sapa downtown where there’s lots of good hotels offered magnificient view.
The booking office will charge you lots of money while they’re not professional. I’m really disappointed. Through some staffs conversation, I realized the management is very bad,so, it’s causes & effects.
1. You should buy train tickets yourself or request another agency. The train ticket price is very public on website. I was told by the booking office that they sold at registered price but when arrived, I know it’s a lie. Official rate is VND460,000 while they sold us at $32 = VND642,000. When being asked why they charged us so much, can u believe what they replied “ We used to charge foreigners customer this price so I apply to you , too, though U’re Vietnamese” .
2. The booking process is very unprofessional. At first I asked them to check availability from 21-24 Mar & NO CONFIRM yet. Later, I confirm to book from 20-23 Mar & it was written on my invoice when making payment. However, the sale staff misreading & booked train ticket on 21 Mar. & told me that ticket was sold out on 20 Mar. When I complained, she said that why didn’t u reconfirm with me before going =>> Speechless !!!!!!
Later I had to agree to go on 19 Mar coz there’s no choice.
On coming back day, though I chose shuttle bus service of Topas which much more expensive than any offered service u can find on Cau May Street. But the staffs who comes along with us not show any respectful attitude. They freely talk about their customers with “no good” words while we’re customers, too.
3. Coz very disappointed with Topas, I request to cancel 1 night staying & they agree to compensate me to another equivalent hotel in Sapa. This one I appreciate.
When coming back, I walked from hotel to Topas office in Sapa to catch shutte bus, The weather is very bad & cold but the staffs there didn’t at least tell us to go inside & have a seat. It seems that they thought we’re not their customers, so no need to take care. Very disappointed.
4. When arriving train station, the sale staff confirm with me that she forgot to give me the return ticket & it takes us some time to wait & explain with the staff in charge in ticket coz she didn’t know us. How bad is the service..
5. I think it’s very hard to reach the management to hear & improve the service. Therefore we advise truthfully that u shouldn choose Topas

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NgocTu_Tran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Århus, Denmark
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 14, 2011

I and a friend had booked a 3D/2N stay at Topas Ecolodge in the beginning of March. My friend had been here once before with her family and wanted to go back. We had booked a Deluxe room, which was very nice with a large, nice bathroom (nothing like the other reviewers' apparently lousy bathrooms). And the view was fantastic when the fog disappeared!

We had also booked a guide for two days trekking. The information from the lodge mentioned that the paths could be slippery in rainy weather, but it was supposed to be easy trekking. It was nothing but easy on the muddy paths! It was very slippery and very difficult to stay on your feet going down the steep slopes. Thankfully we had much help from some local women, who followed us all the way. At first we were very annoyed about being persecuted by them, but later on I was so thankful for their help. The guide didn't care at all about us, but just trudged on. We had to manage on out own and I was quite scared several times. Who wants to end up with a broken leg in the middle og nowhere in Vietnam??

The guide should have given us an opportunity to say no to this trekking because it was much too risky and he should have picked anouther route, especially as it was so foggy that we couldn't see much. The next day we asked him to pick another route as we didn't want another day in the mud (we were covered in mud when we returned to the lodge and our boots were twice as heavy as normal). That was not a problem at all and we had a very pleasant walk that day, although it was very slow. The guide had troubles keeping up with us!! And he didn't tell us much during out walks unless we asked him. We had looking forward hearing about the different minority people, the area etc. We were quite disappointed in the guide, mostly because of the risks we were exposed to on the very slippery, treacherous paths, but also because he didn't inform us much, but mainly showed us the way.

But the most serious problem with our stay at the lodge was the rats!! The main building was crawling with them between the ground floor, where the lounge is situated, and the first floor where the restaurant is. The first night a big fat rat came running across the floor towards us while we were having dinner. Later on in the lounge another rat came down through a hole above the fireplace and you could hear all his mates having a fun time above your head. And he had a lot of mates, scratching, squeeking, running. It's difficult relaxing when you're expecting the ceiling to crash down on you due to hundreds of rats (it sounded like there were hundreds of them). The next night we had the pleasure of seeing a rat's tail sticking down throgh a hole in the ceiling and another one running up the wall behind the fridge. It's not nice to think about the kitchen being in the same building ... Thankfully there were no rats in our cabin, otherwise we would have moved out the same night.

The food was OK, but nothing special. I had much better other places during my stay in Vietnam.

All in all our stay at Topas Ecolodge was OK, but the place can be improved. The manager was also very anonymous, not being very interested in the guests. There's not much to do at the lodge when the day's trekking is finished expect lurking in the lodge and listening to the rats. There could be arranged some activities in the area, especially if the weather is bad and you can't enjoy the view. But the place is perfect if you need a break from noisy, chaotic Sapa or Hanoi.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mocca74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Topas Ecolodge

Property: Topas Ecolodge
Address: 24 Muong Hoa, Sapa 12345, Vietnam
Phone Number:
Location: Vietnam > Lao Cai Province > Sapa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Sapa
#7 Spa Hotel in Sapa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Topas Ecolodge 3*
Number of rooms: 33
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Bungalow stay at Topas Ecolodge is the perfect way to experience the remoteness and quiet of Northern Vietnam, its landscape, fresh air and ethnic minorities. Set deep in the spectacular Sapa valley, Topas Ecolodge has a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and across the scenic valley. As our guest you will enjoy all the comforts of a pleasant stay in an environment that is making a responsible and sustainable commitment to the nature and people of Sapa Valley. We got heated pool, spa, free mountain bikes and great opportunities for relaxation or great active days. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Topas Ecolodge Sapa
Topas Ecolodge Hotel Sapa

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