Hanoi: Maison D’Orient

Prior to coming to Vietnam I assumed winter would be low season but alas I was mistaken and it’s the complete opposite meaning a room is slightly more tricky to come by. I sift through the guidebooks and websites looking at possibles and highlight a few. One responds to say they’re full. Another takes forever to get back to me and is for that reason out of the equation and then there is Hien at Maison D’Orient who quickly comes back to me and more importantly is courteous and keeps a room for my impending visit.

When I arrive in the early hours the glass frontage of the building is closed and the way in blocked by a pot plant, the lights however are on and would prove welcoming. I tap on the glass and a young reception hand appears. She is warm and friendly and says I can check in straight away which is a bonus as it’s most common to check in from the afternoon. There are some initial teething problems. I think the room is used as a staff quarter when it’s vacant as the bed is not made and someone’s clothes lay draped on it. They apologise and say I can wait downstairs at reception. She takes the key. In my haste I forget my phone charger and have to return. Remembering she has the key I have to run downstairs to find her and so on. Run of the mill in action.

It is otherwise good timing as breakfast is just beginning. The friendly assistant Michael appears dressed in a traditional Vietnamese loose fitting shirt of faded orange. Despite his easy going demeanour he is razor sharp as he informs me that this mornings breakfast is not free but tomorrow’s will be. For its size the hotel breakfast is pretty impressive with juice, toast, fruit and cake, tea and coffee. You can also order eggs in a number of varieties with or without bacon. Another option is the Vietnamese soup.

My en-suite room is windowless but ok for my needs. There is a table lamp and desk which can be viewed through a glass shower wall. Should the need arise you can take arty photos (see picture) afterwards. The room comes with a kettle and complimentary water, tea and coffee though everything else is at charge. There is also a flatscreen TV. What it doesn’t have however is a well placed plug for said kettle. That was really the only minor problem. Everything else is impeccable and immaculate.

I only have two days’ at the inn before the unfortunate reality that I have to leave this oasis of calm compared to the calamity and chaos outside hits me. The hotel is fully booked, although the friendly Michael doesn’t seem to want to offer an alternative recommendation yet I wouldn’t say he was being malicious just a little cloudy in the same way the Chinese can be. I ask around but it’s clear nowhere else has rooms at the same price for my required dates and I didn’t want to spend the time available looking at hotels. So after much debacle with banks and airlines it was, after one final breakfast, time to depart Hanoi and Vietnam. Not sure I’ll be back but if such a time eventuates I hope the Maison D’Orient awaits.

My stay at Maison D’Orient was at my own expense so my opinions are my own. With thanks to the manager Hien and the staff.


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