When we arrived at our hotel in Hanoi we were in for quite a surprise. We had reserved a guesthouse online that came highly recommended from other travelers and had an email confirmation. They arranged a taxi to pick us up at the airport and to our amazement it was actually there waiting for us when we cleared customs. The taxi dropped us off and a representative from the hotel was there to escort us and help us with our luggage. It was after 11 pm and most of the city was closed down at this time of night. After the taxi pulled away we were informed that our hotel had given up our room but booked us in another guesthouse down the road for the same rate. We were disturbed by this practice, especially since we had a reservation, but at this time of night there was nothing we could do. As it turned out the new hotel was completely undesirable. We were extremely unhappy with the new guesthouse they booked us in. It was not nearly as nice as the one we reserved AND we were being charged the same rate!
That said, as we spent more time in Hanoi we learned that this is standard practice. Guesthouses all through the Old Quarter will give up your room to a walk-in, despite your reservation, because they would rather ensure that the room is booked for the night than risk you not showing up. The guesthouse owners all network so if they give up your room they will find you another room for the night, so you won’t be homeless, you just won’t be staying where you planned. It’s not a practice that I am fond of, but after learning this custom I am not as angry as I was that first night. What did make me upset was the inferior quality of the replacement room the procured for us.
15 Ngo Quyen St, Hanoi
No. 3 Yen Thai, Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Dist., Hanoi
106 Hang Bong Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
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Address: 13 Tam Thuong Alley Way, between 38-40 Hang Bong Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, 10000, Vietnam