When looking for a hotel to stay at in a city you’ve never been to, it’s difficult to really gauge what you’ll be getting and what you’ll be paying for if you go by the information posted online. Photos can be deceiving and the star rating can be off from what you are used to elsewhere. Before you book, I highly recommend asking around for first hand referrals to minimize the surprises when you arrive. In our case, Ms. Lyman, our old college counselor, had just gone to Vietnam a few weeks ago and she had stayed at La Siesta Hotel and Spa in Hoi An. Neither my sister nor I had ever been to Hoi An so we quickly jumped on her suggestion and booked it through Booking.com.
On their website, La Siesta Hotel and Spa, previously known as Essence Hotel and Spa, has a 4 star rating. But don’t be fooled by the number of stars because I can tell you for a fact that in Southeast Asia, they don’t always mean much when the hotel rating system is not globally standardised. The hotel is also described as a boutique hotel, but then a lot of hotels that are small can call themselves that. It has a spa, hence the name. Sounds luxurious and resort-like when you have the word “spa” in the hotel name. But what’s stopping them from slapping in a room and a masseuse and calling it a spa? But this hotel was a recommendation from Ms. Lyman who had personally stayed there and a personal recommendation is worth more than any trip advisor review or ranking you might read online.
Thanks to Ms. Lyman, La Siesta Hotel and Spa completely lived up to its description online and exceeded our expectations. Upon arrival outside, we were already impressed with the entrance. A fence of large banana leaves created privacy from the street so that as you enter the property you feel like you are entering a sanctuary. And that is what La Siesta felt like. With high ceilings in the lobby and fans spinning on top, French colonial accents in the furniture and tropical design elements, we felt like we had stepped into a space of calm and relaxation, away from the heat and away from the crazy bikers zipping away outside.
We did our entire check in process while sitting down on one of the sofas. One of the hotel staff came up to us with a tray of cool towels, tropical fruit skewers, and made us a welcome drink of passion fruit and peach juice with his martini shaker right in front of us. This set the tone for the rest of our stay. Every detail was well thought out and we were so impressed with the staff’s warmth and attentiveness. If we were heading into an elevator and a hotel staff was on his way out, we would discover upon stepping in that he had already pressed our floor number. And if we spoke to anyone about our activities that day, the next day someone was sure to ask us how it went. We felt like everyone knew who we were and sincerely wanted us to have a good time in Hoi An. We felt like we were in a home away from home and that we had the whole hotel staff to take care of us.
If you ask anyone in the concierge for food recommendations and tell them that you want to go where the locals go, they are happy to share with you their favourites. Even if it means sending you into an alley where the seats are plastic stools and the kitchen is a mobile cart for their favourite bowl of Cao lầu. And when you’re enjoying a bowl of Bún bò and Pho at their breakfast buffet and they overhear you discussing what the difference might be, someone might just come up to you and happily educate you on the history and full encyclopedia explanation on the difference of the two. And if you have a problem, such as the car service that they arranged to pick you up at the airport being late because of the holiday traffic on the road, they will gladly take responsibility and immediately waive the charges no questions asked. This sort of hospitality and customer service is a traveler’s dream and we are so lucky to have found it in Hoi An.
There are a lot of wonderful things about the hotel to swoon about. Yes, the pools are amazing (there are two). Yes, they have a spa with an amazing Happy Hour that’s 40% off your treatment if you do it between 9am-1pm. Yes, our bed was the comfiest bed we’ve slept on in ages, possibly ever. We enjoyed delicious Pho and Bún Bò with our breakfast buffet as well as the famous, delicious Mì Quảng and Bánh Xèo in the hotel restaurant. But it was the service, the staff’s genuine hospitality, thoughtfulness and extreme attention to detail that really sealed the deal for us. I know a lot of people purely rely on online reviews but be aware that they are often from a mixed bag of people who don’t always have the same standards as yours. Support your findings with first hand reviews and I guarantee you’ll be better off.
La Siesta Hotel and Spa, we are most definitely coming back!
La Siesta Hotel and Spa
No 132 Hung Vuong Street, Thanh Ha, Hoi An City, Vietnam
Tel: +84 235 3915915
Fax: +84 235 3915910
P.S. La Siesta is located just outside the Ancient Town. It is a 10 minute walk but they also provide a shuttle service periodically throughout the day to take you to the Ancient Town and An Bang Beach. Of course they would never leave a stone unturned.