Hanoi has an amazing range of hotels, from five-stars like the Sofitel and the Hilton to cheap mini-hotels and backpacker places. There is another kind of hotel - a guesthouse really - that is also very popular. Known as Nha Nghi in Vietnamese, different people come to these guesthouses for different purposes, many of them for their secret happy moments!
These places are common all over the city and the people who work there don't need many qualifications. The most important things they need is to be clever, fast in dealing, understanding and ignoring. You also have to know how to warn clients when the police show up and hide any documents or booking information.
Nowadays, there are many young teenage couples who, instead of being at school, play truant and go to hotels to 'study' being adults :). The number of older people who have secret second lovers also choose these places for their own privacy. The guesthouse staff don't care who they are, how old they are or what time they arrive. They give the room and collect the money, mostly by the hour! Such an easy job.
On the down side, some of these guesthouse rooms for drug use, prostitution and gambling. Many people have been caught by police, publicly embarrassed in magazines and the hotel staff also get in big trouble because this is illegal. It is clear that these guesthouses are providing for a demand but the meaning of the word guesthouse has a different meaning in Vietnam!