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“Not a positive experience”
Review of Topas Ecolodge

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Topas Ecolodge
Ranked #13 of 68 Hotels in Sapa
Certificate of Excellence
White Lake, Michigan
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Not a positive experience”
Reviewed November 8, 2012

We stayed at the Ecolodge about a year ago and have been meaning to write a review. I thought I should warn some other travelers regarding our experience there. Not sure if things have changed since then, but after looking at other recent reviews-- it doesn't look like anything has changed.
Beware of a female by the name of Huong from the main office in Hanoi. She blatantly overcharged us for several hikes/tours that we requested (found out later that she screwed us after researching). The food there was awful-- especially for the price. It is a buffet style, and if you arrive a little later in the night, you get cold, overpriced bland food. The resort is about 45 minutes from Sapa. So if you are interested in going to the Bac Ha market (which is recommended) it takes several hours to get there.

The only pros I have to say about the place are the views and the bungalow. I thought the bungalow was spacious and quaint.

So to sum it up, I would highly recommend staying somewhere else in Sapa. It would be a lot cheaper, you would have access to much, much better food, hikes/tours and things to do.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank sarahjane1012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (124)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Korean first
  • Slovak first
  • Spanish first
  • Thai first
  • Vietnamese first
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English first
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
261 reviews
146 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 246 helpful votes
Reviewed November 2, 2012

We stayed at the Eco Lodge for 3 nights in a standard room.
Our friends stayed in an Exec room, so we got a chance to see both room types.

The resort is solidly built to high standards of design.
Our cottage was spacious and built with natural building materials.
All cottages have a really nice balcony.

Features
- Kettle with coffee/tea
- Room safe
- 2 different seating areas
- Mosquito net
- Very very quiet

During our stay, there was a sewer gas smell emitting from the bathroom drains. Staff on (3) occaisions poured some disenfectent in the drains, which improved but did not eliminate the problem.

We would have had an awesome view out our balcony, however we were shrouded in fog and cloud for the entire stay.

The main lodge has a bar/lounge on the bottom and a dining room on top.
The lodge is the only place to catch WiFi.

We liked the meals and found the prices of the extras (like wine) to be reasonable, considering the location.

What we liked:
+ The serenity of the lodge and location - great for reading and relaxing
+ Staff were very friendly and engaging when we initiated with a smile.
+ Design, style and decor.
+ Cleanliness

To improve:
- Sewer gas smell from bathroom drains (our friend's cottage didn't seem to have the problem)
- Kettle in room leaked at the base
- Room safe didn't work
- The bar/lounge area was very smoky due to a fireplace problem.
- The water temperature for the shower is extremely hot - I'm sure it would scald or burn.
- The de-humifier in the room, a small portable unit. The instruction sheet encourages guests to turn on the unit when you're not in the room. However, ours seemed to not function.

Conclusion:
- Beautiful design in a lush setting, somewhat let down by some mainteance and operation issues, however, on balance, we had a postitive experience.

Room Tip: If I was returning, I would splurge on the executive room, which is quite a nice upgrade
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank deathracer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 28, 2012

We stayed here for one night after coming from a night's stay in Sapa- we weren't really sure what to expect and when we arrived at the "reception area" which was a very basic timber log building in the middle of no where we felt a little dubious as to what was in store for us, however as we walked down the path towards the Ecolodge, the feeling of serenity and beauty was very powerful. The view was unbelievable. The rooms were simple cabin style but tastefully so - no problems with the rooms but I did actually wonder whether the linen was fresh as it was somewhat crumpled and the pillow case discoloured. The bar area was rather quaint and a nice place to be with books, board games and relaxing music playing, HOWEVER, as others have said, the only problem being the food! Very un inspiring and didn't go with the eco theme at all and rather expensive for what was offered. As they were growing alot of there own vegetables and also advised that they sourced other supplies from local villages, one would expect some simple fresh vietnamese food, but it was bland and uninspiring and it seems planned so as to feed the masses ( when we were there there were 2 large groups of tourists)The language barrier with the staff was also a problem and whilst the staff while very polite, they appeared to have very little training. I feel this place has so much potential if they could initiate some training for staff in the kitchen and elsewhere. It could be a wonderful place to stay for probably two nights and just "be" but when on holiday food is an important part and "one breakfast, lunch and dinner" there was more than we could handle.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Susan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed October 22, 2012

We first arrived off of the night train and took the 45 minute ride into Sapa to what we had expected was the lodge. However, the address we were given turned out to be only the travel agency, and not anywhere near the lodge itself. In fact, we had to take another 45 minute ride to get to the accommodations! Although the drive was beautiful, it was slightly annoying to have been not informed by the staff we had booked with that it was so far out of town.
When we arrived the front desk staff was very friendly. However, that was as good as it got. We decided to have breakfast, as there was literally no other restaurant/business for that matter within the vicinity. It was VERY lackluster, and it was painful trying to communicate with the rest of the staff. English was, well...nonexistent. We were so frustrated just asking for simple things that we ended up giving up and going to the room.
The room itself was lovely, if you dont mind the "camping" life. There were great views from the rooms, which were actually villas set on their own which was nice. However the rooms themselves were very dirty, sheets and such were soiled, and bugs everywhere. However, we had known that it was a sort of "outdoorsy" setting, so this didnt really bother us, however we could see how for some it would.
Its really unfortunate that it is SO secluded, as we found ourselves itching to get out of the place by the next day. We took a hike with the Dao Ladies who were camped out front (I'd suggest taking a walk with them as opposed to booking through the lodge, as they absolutely rip you on the price). It was really enjoyable walking with them through their village...although beware...they WILL however around until you buy some of their goods.
We took note that it was an "eco-friendly" lodge, however they could do MUCH better on a handful of things. Food was awful, staff needs better training, electricity was constantly going on and off (which on a warm evening was NOT ideal), and because there is no competition with nearby restaurant and such, it is EXTREMELY overpriced!
The views are stunning, however I would opt to stay inside Sapa town next time. The views are just as beautiful, and there is so much more to do in town.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank EBacher712
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hanoi, Vietnam
Level Contributor
48 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed September 26, 2012

A very nice location. Views to die for. The staff were very friendly and nice but the food though plentiful was very disappointing. Given the amount of fresh produce and the wonderful taste and low price of Vietnamese food I could not understand why we were dished up lukewarm camp style food. It was the only bad food we had in Vietnam
I also do not understand why ecotourism has to mean you get cheap itchy sheets and rock hard pillows. After trekking I'm sure people enjoy a bit of comfort
Otherwise it was quiet and enjoyable.

Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Cathy9521
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quito, Ecuador
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed September 22, 2012

On our recent honeymoon in Asia, this was one of our most memorable stays. This was a little bit of a splurge for us, but I will always pay more to have an ecolodge type experience with an amazing view and was certainly not disappointed with this place. We were only in northern Vietnam for a week and were trying to fit in Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Sapa, which in retrospect was the perfect choice. If we had more time, I think 2 nights would be the ideal stay here, but we only had one and made the most of it. Upon arrival, we immediately got set up with a hike for the day. It seemed like a lot of the excursions could be pretty great, but we opted for the most challenging one, which as someone else mentioned is NO JOKE, but if you can handle it, you should because it was absolutely amazing. You should absolutely get the breakfast both on arrival and leaving because it was so delicious (coffee/tea, juice, granola; milk, fresh fruit plate, bread w/meat; cheeses, omelets, and crepes with mango jelly (me) or local honey). The dinner was also great, but I felt like breakfast should not be missed.

The hike was an experience that we will never forget. A group of about 10 Red Dao ladies followed us for the entire 6 hours. At first we thought this would be annoying, but I am convinced they are some of the nicest people on the planet. They cleared a path for us, cut down walking sticks, carried our water bottles so we could better hold on and climb, dug out foot holds in steep sections of the path, kept an eye out for leeches, and gave us their umbrellas when it rained, and most importantly, kept up the chatter which eased our worries about snakes coming out of the bushes. And they were just really delightful. We were astounded that they would do all of this with the small hope that we might buy some of their crafts at the end of the day, which we did, we owed them so much. There are also much less strenuous hikes, but it was nice to have this option.

Ok I'll wrap this up, but the lodge was great. The bungalows were a great private space, with wonderful little balconies looking out on the views. The meeting space/bar was a nice place to go and get internet, play games, have drinks, etc. The views are unmatched- they absolutely deserve the title "probably the best view in the world" (from their website). I also found the staff very helpful and sincere, and appreciate that the lodge tries to hire locally (I believe this is correct).

If anyone I know goes to Vietnam, I will tell them to go to Sapa, and stay at Topas, whether they like adventure or not.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank eukahle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed September 19, 2012

First of all, make suer you let the lodge know when you get into Sapa. We were under the impression that the lodge was actually in Sapa, as it turns out its about 35 mins drive on a mountain road. We were luck that there was a bus going to the lodge when we arrived otherwize it would have been a long wait which wouldn't have been ideal after a 8 hour over night train ride! The biggest problem is communication. Most of the staff don't speak very good english at all which make everything a challenge. The breakfast was bellow average when you look at what you would normally get for $100+ a night hotel. All the crockery laid out was chipped in some way and wasn't very clean. We only stayed for one night which was enough, the rooms are decent although they could do with a proper clean. Having moaned about most things i have to say the views and the setting is outstanding, you can forgive and overlook a lot of the shortcomings of the resort because of this. its truly stunning. Its such a shame it isnt better managed, it could be amazing but lets its self down badly in some areas.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank loveeatingout35
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
#8 Spa Hotel in Sapa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Topas Ecolodge 3*
Number of rooms: 25
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. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Topas Ecolodge Sapa
Topas Ecolodge Hotel Sapa

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