That’s an experience I learned very early after coming to Hanoi to live five years ago.
Booking a hotel in Hanoi also presents the same problems. If a guest is willing to pay a few more dollars for the room then they will give a previously booked room to them. I've had this happen to me many times while trying to book hotel rooms for friends from overseas. The last time was two weeks ago when two of my readers from the USA came to Hanoi for their vacation. I booked them in at the Prince Hotel in To Tich Street a month before they arrived and re-confirmed a few times in between then a final confirmation one day before they arrived. The hotel receptionist said everything was fine but the next morning they called me and told me that they didn't have any rooms for my friends.
Even though the flooding in central Vietnam had caused travellers to change their plans to come to Hanoi earlier, I was still very angry that my booking was taken. In the past there has been no reason at all. In the process of trying to find rooms in other hotels, I also realised that the hotels in the old quarter had all raised their prices by 30%-50% to make more money from the sudden crowd of people.
Finally, I found two rooms at the Trang An Hotel but I had to be sure that I really had them. I went to a tour agency and asked them to book me those rooms to be double sure. When the tour company picked up my friends from the airport (they arrived at midnight)and took them to the hotel, their rooms had been given away to other people! I called the hotel many times between 11.50 Pm to 1am to confirm that everything was okay and they kept repeating that my friends hadn't arrived yet. I couldn't believe it the next morning when my friend said that the taxi driver had driven around for an hour trying to find another room. The hotel staff called and found them a room in a guesthouse in the middle of nowhere and forced them pay to $40 in advance before giving my friends the address. Later they found that the guesthouse rooms were only $25!
I couldn't stand to hear anymore and called to give the hotel staff a charge. This was after my friend had returned to the hotel the next morning and was told that the new charge on the room would be $55, $25 more than the price I had been told when I booked. They also cheated her by giving her fake money and old money that isn't used anymore and also put the price up for their airline tickets from 665,000Vnd to 880,000Vnd for Hanoi to Hue. The hotel owner had a really bad attitude as well and she didn't believe that her staff had behaved in such a way.
What can I say? These people are ruining tourism in Vietnam and I hate this kind of cheating. They shouldn't be allowed to operate with such bad service and bad behavior? What I am going to do is name all of these hotels and warn people to avoid them! Be careful with any transactions with hotels in Hanoi!
- Prince Hotels- To Tich street
- Trang An hotel - Hang Gai street
- Lucky Star Hotels
- Morning Star Hotel - Hang Hanh street
- Golden Sun Hotel - Hang Hanh street
- Heart Hotel - Hang Hanh street