Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hotels in HCM City

I tried to book a hotel via a travel agency in Taiwan but the agent told me that the hotels they are affiliated with were all fully booked. I didn’t believe what the agent had told me because most of the time that was a polite way to say that the commission wasn’t high enough to do the booking service for you. So I looked it up online and tried to find a hotel that has internet access in the rooms and free access to gym and swimming pool. Hotels around the Dong Khoi Area were my first choices and of course price was a key for decision making. I was scheduled to stay in HCMC for 2 weeks and all hotels were not available for one or two days during my stay, then I wrote an email to the Kim Do Royal Hotel to request a single room and here I am in this 4 stars hotel about 150 meters down from the Hotel de Ville (People committee Building).

I was trying to book a hotel via an online booking agency 'Hotels in Vietnam dotcom' which provides detailed information on hotels in Vietnam and a better rate than booking directly through hotel websites. However, the agency didn’t process the booking within 24-48 hours as they had declared in their confirmation letter. Even 2 emails and one international phone call after 48 hours of my first request; I still didn’t get a response before my check in date, pity.

I had trouble checking in at the Kim DO Royal Hotel because whoever is responsible for online email requests didn’t print out my confirmation letter and I couldn’t login to my NHRI web-mail server to prove that I had the reservation. It took 20 minutes for the reception to contact the staff for email booking then checked me into a room. The air conditioned room looks great, a giant bed, bath-tub, refrigerator, TV with international programs including the Star World Channel, a safe box, ADSL internet access, free local city phone calls, complimentary English newspaper, 2 bottles of water daily and buffet breakfast-- no complaints here.

I checked the gym and the swimming pool enthusiastically and soon the excitement was dampened by the reality. There is one cycler, one treadmill, one rolling machine and a set of weight training set in a 4 meter squares gym room. The staff told me that only the treadmill didn't work, but the reality was that the rollers of the rolling machine were crooked not to mention the paddles of the cycler were both facing down! The width of the pool is a standard racing trial size and the length is about 10 meters. There is only a changing room with a shower built in located in the center of the entrance. I have been staying here for one week and I haven’t seen anyone in the gym or the baby swimming pool. The idea of changing hotels soon was expelled from my mind after checking out the gym at the Oscar Hotel (3 stars) and the facilities of Rex Hotel (4 stars). I guess facilities like gyms and swimming pools are not a factor for tourists in choosing a hotel in HCMC or am I spoiled by the amenities of star hotels in Taiwan?

Hotels around D Dong Khoi area on Google Maps


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Anonymous said...

I usually use this: when I have to make a visa run to HCMC