WHERE TO STAY
Since its rebirth as a tourist attraction, Sapa has witnessed a boom in its hospitality industry as a variety of accommodations has been built, offering a wide range of services to meet the tourist’s needs. Nowadays, hundreds of hotels, hostels and other accommodations are available in Sapa since the number of tourists visiting Sapa increases significantly year by year. Even though the disparity in service quality in each accommodation category is negligible, it is advisable that you should list out your own criteria (budget, location, service, etc.) to choose the place that you are going to spend a few days in Sapa. For example, if you want to walk to shopping area in a few minutes, hotels/hostels in the center of Sapa should be taken into consideration. If you opt to stay close to locals, to explore and experience their lifestyles, homestay is an impeccable place for you. As a traveler myself, I have been at both thank-god and why-me-god accommodations; hence, I know how essential it is to do homework about the place I am going to eat, shower and sleep in a foreign land. You can easily find the information, including the location, the price and the service package offered by the accommodation providers, on the Internet via some websites that are available in English such as Agoda.com and Tripadvisor.com.
- Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa
Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa is the only 5-star hotel-resort in Sapa. Lying on the top of a tranquil hill, overlooking the center of Sapa, the hotel-resort stands out with its chalet style and picturesque outdoor settings. Since it is a 5-star hotel, the room rate is pricier than any other hotels in Sapa, ranging from 120 USD to 182 USD. The room rate consists of daily breakfast buffet and welcome drink. In addition, the hotel offers a variety of packages with different premium services tailored to meet guests’ requirements. For instance, if you are on a honeymoon with your spouse, you can choose the Romance Getaway package which includes two night’s accommodation, spa and special dinner for two and many other extra benefits related to transportation or entertainment. A minus point is that the hotel reservation policy is quite strict with no refund, no modification and no cancellation.
Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa is a home of 77 rooms which are categorized into 4 types such as Victoria Superior Room, Victoria Deluxe Room, Victoria Family Studio and Victoria Suite. Each room in the hotel is bright with the natural light from the windows and the aesthetic blend of ethnic handicraft décor and wooden furniture. Regardless of room type, high-quality amenities are offered along with the spectacular and breath-taking views of mountain and valley from the balcony. Besides, staying at Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa, you can have a cozy dinner at Ta Van restaurant while enjoying the scenic view of Mountain Fansipan. Furthermore, after a tour around the town, you can treat yourself with a massage or a hot and a steaming bathtub in Victoria Spa. On top of that, you can enjoy indoor activities, for example, swimming in a heated pool if the weather in Sapa turns bad. Along with room service, the hotel provides not only transportation services between Hanoi and Sapa, which are Victoria Express overnight train and Victoria Express Coach, but also excursions from the town center to nearby attractions in Sapa, for example, Mountain Fansipan trekking, Hill tribe market tours to name a few.
Sapa is enclosed by not only incredibly specular natural surroundings but also a plenty of hotels with unique architecture. Here are the 4 hotels, which get high scores in Agoda.com and Tripadvisor as well as receive mostly excellent reviews from tourists.
- U Sapa Hotel, 4-star hotel
U Sapa Hotel is situated right in the center of Sapa, near the shopping area and is easily spotted thanks to its French architectural appearance. If you are interested in staying at a 4-star hotel with premium service, then U Sapa Hotel is one of the best deals on the table. The hotel is composed of 57 rooms which are categorized into 5 types which are superior, deluxe, junior suite and two-bedroom family room. 18 rooms are still in the process of construction and are expected to be available in 2017. The pursuit of customer-oriented service: 24 hours use of room, on-call breakfast, free bikes and free access to gym and library and so on, distinguishes U Sapa Hotel from other hotels in Sapa. High standard amenities and tastefully designed décor create a bright, relaxed and comfortable ambiance, which can boost your mood tremendously after long hour travel or trekking. Furthermore, the hotel also offers 3 different deals such as Your Early Bird Saver, Your Hot Deal, and Book Now Pay Later, with the room rate priced variedly from 79 USD to 130 USD. Beside its outstanding room services, the hotel staff is a plus point. They are not only friendly and professional but also are flexible with reasonable requests from guests. For example, if you arrive at the hotel in the morning while the official check-in schedule is 2 pm, they will let you check in early if the room is available and ready to serve. Similar to Victoria Sapa Resort and Sapa, U Sapa Hotel also offers transportation services such as deluxe express trains and buses from Hanoi to Lao Cai and pick-up vans from Lao Cai to Sapa.
Beside U Sapa Hotel, there are many 4-star hotels in Sapa that you may want to check, such as Amazing Sapa Hotel and Chau Long Sapa II Hotel
- Sapa Unique Hotel, 3-star hotel
Nestled only 100 meters far from the town center, Sapa Unique Hotel is built in an ideal location, from which you can easily reach to other must-see attractions in Sapa such as Muong Hoa Village and Ham Rong Mountain. You can also trek to Cat Cat Village, one of the most popular tourist sites in Sapa, in about 40 minutes. This 6-floor hotel is packed with 22 nicely decorated guestrooms, which are fully equipped with basic amenities, including mosquito net and extra blankets for cold nights. Each room offers heart-throbbing mountain and terraced rice field view. The room rate depends on the type of room and the number of guests, ranging from 35 USD to 90 USD, inclusive of breakfast and service charge and exclusive of hotel tax. Moreover, to meet the tourists’ needs, beside free breakfast and daily cooking class offered, the hotel provides a wide range of complimentary services such as pick-up service, bicycle rental and trekking tours with reasonable deals. However, the service would be scored 10 out of 10 if the hotel took a better care of hot water and heater system. Nobody wants to wait for hot water in 30 minutes and the water starts turning cold after only 5 minutes. Other than this, at Sapa Unique Hotel, you will be pleased by the bright characteristics of the hotel owner and his staff till the day you check out. Before your ride back to Hanoi, you will be given a free pack of snack by the hotel staff, which is a nice gesture that is not available in any other hotels in Sapa
Other 3-star hotel suggestions are following: Sapa Elite Hotel, Hmong Sapa Hotel, Boutique Sapa Hotel, Sapa View Hotel, Sapa Paradise Hotel, to name a few
- Sapa Elegance Hotel, 2-star hotel
Sapa Elegance Hotel is situated around the popular sightseeing sights in Sapa, such as Sapa Market and Ham Rong Mountain. Sapa Elegance Hotel impresses its guests with its huge rooms with specular balcony view, its superior service and especially its friendly and helpful employees who speak English fluently. There are four types of room available, which are: Superior Double or Twin Room, Deluxe Double or Twin room and Suite room. The room price varies from 30 USD to 47 USD per room per night, inclusive of breakfast and exclusive of service charge and hotel tax. The superior double or twin room is equipped with two single beds and full basic amenities such as a bathroom, wifi, television and so on. It also has a private balcony with mountain view. The deluxe double or twin room, which offers one super large bed and one single bed, is nicely designed with a spacious balcony and sizable windows. The room is furnished with a mini bar, air conditioning, a wardrobe and so forth, bringing comfort and convenience to guests. The Suite room, the most expensive one, provides with one supersize bed, two single beds and two extra mats as well as ample closet and baronial balcony view. Hence, if you go with your family or a group of 3 to 4 people, suite room seems spacious enough to serve the whole family. On one hand, the hotel stands out with its well -rounded service and considerate staff. On the other hand, limited access to hot water and breakfast choice may affect your overall staying experience.
- Sapa Garden Bed and Breakfast, 2-star hotel
If you opt to stay at a comfortable and home-like hotel with affordable price, then Sapa Garden Bed Breakfast definitely should be on your consideration list. You can easily find the information on its official website and directly contact the hotel owner via email or phone to book a room or even a tour. Sapa Garden Bed Breakfast, run by a Vietnamese owner and his parents, is 2.5 kilometers far from central Sapa. You can catch a taxi or a motorbike-taxi to get there. The hotel is actually a renovated villa with 4 double bedrooms and 2 family suites. The hotel is also equipped with 9 private bathrooms, a tastefully decorated living room and a modernly furnished kitchen, and especially a beautiful outdoor setting combo consisting of fish pond, gazebo and garden. The room rate, included breakfast, service charge and tax, is charged differently based on the type of room (double room or family suite) and the type of day (weekend or weekday), ranging from 39 USD to 105 USD. Furthermore, staying at the hotel, you will have a chance to enjoy authentic and tasty Vietnamese food cooked by the hotel owner’s mother. However, you may find it difficult to communicate with his parents in English when the owner is not around. Plus, the hotel is located uphill and a bit far from the town center, so without transport, walking to the town center may be quite exhausting. Last but not least, the extra services such as laundry, transportation to town and so on can be a bit overpriced. Nonetheless, overall, Sapa Garden Bed and Breakfast, a decent home-like hotel, is absolutely worthy of its price, which reflects through its great service, accommodating and attentive hosts and stunning surroundings.
If these two aforementioned 2-star hotels don’t fit your criteria, you can take a look at other 2-star hotels that are currently available in Sapa, which are: Cat Cat View Hotel, Phuong Nam Hotel, Sapa Lakeview Hotel, Sapa Sky Hotel, Sapa Luxury Hotel, and so on.
For backpackers who have a tight travel budget, a nice hostel with clean rooms equipped with basic amenities can be considered a decent accommodation. The three following hostels are among the best, well-located hostels in Sapa as they receive high scores and mainly excellent reviews in Agoda.com and Tripadvisor.
Near Sapa Stone Church and just 5- minute walking from the bus station, GoSapa Hotel is located on the way to Thac Bac Waterfall. The hostel is recommended for solo traveler or backpacker. The hostel offers a wide range of types of room, priced at an incredible inexpensive rate, which is from 5 USD to 24 USD in low season. In high season, the room rate can go up unpredictably. Hence, it is advisable to book your room early. Regardless of the room you choose, you will have access to free Wifi, linens and other facilities in the hostel such as shared kitchen, garden, and entertainment center. Since the room rate doesn’t cover breakfast, you can buy breakfast at the hostel for around 3 USD or you can eat out at some nearby restaurants. In addition, you can rent a bike from the hostel to go around Sapa. The dorm room is clean and neat, but some bed mattresses are a bit stiff.
In addition, hot water is running unstably, which is not very convenient especially in the winter.
Except for these, GoSapa Hostel is considered a decent budget hotel thanks to its tidy and cozy rooms, fully equipped facilities, warm common area and helpful, attentive hotel staff.
Sapa Hostel, a 2-floor hostel, is easily spotted in central Sapa town, thus very close to Sapa Stone Church and Ham Rong Mountain. There are three types of room offered, which are shared room, single room and family room, with the rate ranging from 5 USD to 40 USD. The room rate does not cover breakfast, but you can buy breakfast at the hostel. It is advisable to book a room early as the room rate can go up unpredictably and significantly. The rooms are decently clean; heater blankets and Wifi are available in every room. , the friendliness and kindness of the staff are the highlights of Sapa Hostel. However, bathrooms need to be maintained and cleaned more often. Plus, the hostel doesn’t provide lockers, but you can leave your valuable possessions to the hostel receptionists. Nevertheless, what Sapa Hostel offers, objectively evaluated, is equivalent to its pricing deal.
In addition to these hostels, there are a lot more budget hotels in Sapa as the followings: Pumpkin Sapa Hotel, Sapa Backpackers Hotel, Sapa Cheap Room, Sapa Rose Hotel and so forth.
If you opt to trek to popular attractions or even some “off-the-beaten-track” sites in Sapa and explore in hill tribes’ exotic culture, stop searching around and book a homestay tour. There are various homestay providers in Sapa, whose services are distinguishable. Reasonable prices and unique services are two key elements contributing to the popularity of homestay in Sapa.
20 minutes driving by taxi from the center of Sapa, you will reach a boutique-looking house in the midst of peaceful and picturesque landscape, which is Sapa Volunteer Homestay. Situated in Ta Van Village, the house is comprised of 12 rooms priced variably from 5 USD to 17 USD, inclusive of daily breakfast. There are three types of room available such as twin room, economy triple room and 10-bed dorm room; all are equipped free Wifi, clean and soft mattresses, and so on. Moreover, all necessary services such as laundry, currency exchange and so on are provided along with great facilities which are TV, luggage storage to name a few. Staying there, you are given chances to be closer to natural habitats, as well as volunteer teaching experience. If you are native English speaker or good at English, teaching English to the kids there can create a lot of fun and meaningful memories. After all, what is better way to immerse yourself in local culture than staying with local people and learn from them?
Stone Garden Homestay, located in Ta Phin Tourism area, 10 km far from central Sapa, is an ideal place for anyone who wants to have a touch of authentic Vietnam experience. From the town center, you can reach Stone Garden Homestay by taxi or motorbike. Ta Phin Village, a beautiful village which is bestowed upon wonderful natural background, is an impeccable place for you to escape from the hustle and bustle of the town center. If you get off at Lao Cai Station, you can order a pick-up from the house with only 3 USD per person. The house provides with hotel-quality service, yet brings out the home-like atmosphere though its wooden designed rooms as well as its amazing outdoor setting including garden and fish pond. The room rate varies from 12 USD to 20 USD, which is based on the room type (standard or dorm room) and tourism season (low or high). Staying there, you can enjoy the healthy herbal bath to release stress and recharge energy. Nonetheless, Stone Garden fails to make some guests satisfied via some services. For instances, the food is considered a bit overpriced regarding the quality. If you are not cat or dog lover, then you may find it annoying when cats and dogs there keep begging for food around your eating table. In addition, trekking tours are offered, but not at a stable price. Other than that, Stone Garden Homestay is still a decent place to rest and enjoy stunning natural scenery and interesting ethnic lifestyle. An extra point for the house is gained through its owner’s bright personality. He is a very likable and funny man. Since he used to be a tour guide, he is experienced with hosting foreign guests.
A bit out of town, yet in touch with local culture and natural habitat, Sapa Heavenly Homestay is built to bring out the most authentic local experience to its guests. The house is run by a local family; thus, it is filled with simple, home-like furniture. Staying there, you will have a chance to enjoy fresh and delicious local food prepared by the house owner, who used to be a chef, himself. If cooking is your cup of tea, you can ask for a cooking lesson for free. What’s more, opportunities to get in touch with the local community are provided through English class where you can teach English to local kids, trekking tours with a local guide to see stunning and scenic nearby landscapes and meet up with local ethnic people, and motorbike tours to satisfy your adventurous personality.
Sapa Heavenly Homestay is designed for you to be truly a part of local community and to see how beautiful nature surrounding you is.
If you decide to book a homestay, you may want to take a look at other homestays in Sapa, such as Ta Van Homestay, Anh Duc Homestay, Xieng Homestay, Muong Hoa Homestay, etc.
- Topas Ecolodge
Quietly situated uphill, deep in the valley of Hoang Lien Son Mountain, Topas Ecolodge is one-of-a-kind hotel in Sapa and in Vietnam. Since it is 18 km from the center of Sapa, Topas Ecolodge offers free bus for you to commute from there to the town center and back. Pursuing sustainable eco-tourism, Topas Ecolodge owner is a strong advocate for helping the local community without having negative impacts on local nature and environment. The lodge consists of 25 bungalows, along with a restaurant, a souvenir shop and a spa. Unlike other hotels in Sapa, Topas Ecolodge doesn’t provide any entertainment facilities such as TV in each bungalow, but the incredibly spectacular view from the balcony. The lodge designs a variety of package tours, which cover transportation, accommodation and meals. These package tours are tailored in terms of length of tour, kinds of activities included (hiking, biking or both) and accommodation service (homestay with minorities or stay at Topas Ecolodge). If you opt for private tour, you can upgrade your package tour and design it yourself with help from the staff there. Although the road to Topas Ecolodge is not in a good condition, which can make your bus ride become nerve-wracking experience, it is worth to be there. It is where you can feel strongly connected to nature. It is where you explore local lifestyle and custom by working on the farm with local people or buying products at the local market. It is where you realize how easy it is to find peace and happiness.