Readers are about to read this article that cost me 50USD and the precious 20 hours of my life. I hope you enjoy it.
I haven’t had a good sleep for the past two days so I decided to indulge myself by accommodating at the golf 3 hotel which according to the lonely planet has the best steam bath in town and a rooftop sky view café. At the reception I asked the staff for information regarding the schedule of the Vietnam Airlines shuttle bus from Dalat City to the airport, and she replied “you have to be in the airport one hour before departure”. Obviously there was a misunderstanding, I asked her again this time I spoke slower and she answered “oh, it takes about 40 min from the city to the airport”. I felt frustrated and asked again this time with body language and she finally understood what I was talking about, but she answered “I don’t know!” So I asked her to call Vietnam Airlines office for the information, she agreed and said she would give me the information later. I went to my room, well the room looked elegant like a 4 star hotel, they even had a safety deposit built in the closet and the water in the bathroom was hot and strong, I was so happy to take a hot shower because I was soaked by the pouring afternoon rain.
After the shower, I lay on my bed and turned on the TV. To my surprise, there were only 3 channels in English which are HBO, Star Movies, and CNN. The rest were local TV programs or dubbed in Vietnamese. Usually hotel stars tell you how many foreign channels they get in Vietnam, but obviously this wasn’t the case here in Dalat. Anyhow, I watched a movie on star movie channel and in the middle of the movie the channel switched to a soccer game, the star movie channel disappeared ever since. I gave up searching for a better movie and headed down to the reception for my information. Unbelievable! I had to go through the whole process to let her understand what I was asking for, and she still hadn’t made the phone call! I asked her to call right away and a few min later she told me nobody picked up the phone. I would have to wait till the next day to get that information. I wasn’t pleased with the answer, because there is an airport hotel run by Vietnam Airlines, so they must know the schedule of the shuttle bus. Well, she didn’t know what I was saying and I gave up trying. “Tomorrow it is” I said to her. I was surprised by the ability of English comprehension and speaking of the staff at reception of a 4 star hotel. Actually, I asked a receptionist one day before I made my choice of staying in this hotel about their facilities and he didn’t know what I was asking for. I also asked if a swimming suit is required for taking a steam bath since I didn’t have mine with me. And he answered “no, we don’t have a swimming pool”. I expected that I would have a better understanding with another receptionist when I was checking into the hotel, obviously not.
After, I went to the 7th floor where the steam bath and sky view café located. I felt disappointed when I saw the sign: 20000VND for Steam bath/ 20min; 30000VND for Sauna/20min. I wasn’t expecting costumers of the hotel having to pay to use facilities in the hotel; they didn’t even have any discount for those staying in the hotel overnight. I paid the money and felt like I was being fooled by lonely planet; the steam room was just mediocre and of course there was no Jacuzzi for a relaxing bath after 20 min steaming. Moreover, the sky view café isn’t on the rooftop, the only view from the café is the bustling street that leads to the central market.
I was awakened by the noise of people talking and laughing around 1:00AM. I thought it was just some tourists coming back to their room late and wasn’t paying attention to it but the noise on and off didn’t seem to end shortly. I woke up and knocked at the door of the noise from, nobody answered. I kept banging on the door, still nobody answered the door and I could hear people having a great time in the room. I waited until the noise level went down and banged on the door, this time they finally heard me and 3 guys, naked with only a towel on their waist and a woman opened the door; it looked like I was interrupting their “home party”. After telling them to keep their voices down, I went back to my room and looked at the clock, it was around 2:00AM.
The next morning I went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast (included in the room rate). A housekeeping staff asked me something in Vietnamese when I was waiting for the elevator. I told her I don’t understand Vietnamese. Still, she kept speaking Vietnamese to me. I was grumpy for not having a good sleep for a couple days, I told her: hey, you would have to speak English or I don’t understand a single word you said.” Finally, she said “how long would you stay here?” I told her “I am leaving today.” and went down for my breakfast.
I didn’t trust the schedule that the receptionist gave me, so after breakfast I went to the Vietnam Airlines booking office to get the schedule myself. Back to my room, I found the housekeeping had my room cleaned. I felt no guilt for messing up my room again. I took the elevator to the lobby to check out but the elevator wouldn’t stop on that floor, so I took the stairs from the 2nd floor to the lobby. Just when I thought nothing in this hotel could surprise me in any way, a live band was playing music in the lobby and tables were packed. Occupying the whole lobby, a wedding was being held, in the hotel lobby! I had to squeeze myself through the band and tables to get to the reception. I waited at the reception desk but there was nobody at the counter. About 3min later, a security guard found me standing in front of the counter for checking out and he guided me to a garage on the basement level where receptionists set up a table on which keys were spread as a temporary reception counter. I returned my key and paid 50USD for my room, however my passport was still in the lobby witnessing the wedding ceremony. I waited another 5 min to get my passport back and fled from this madness.