Classic Hoi An charm
You might just recognise this beautiful wooden Chinese trading house from the iconic Michael Caine film, The Quiet American. From the outside, it oozes old world charm, with red silk lanterns adding pops of colour; take a peek into the reception of the Vinh Hung One Hotel in Hoi An and it is indeed like taking a very large step back in time.
Nestled right in the heart of the old town, Vinh Hung One was one of the very first hotels to open its doors to tourism and although there have been one or two others based in the pedestrianised zone, this is the only one remaining. One thing to bear in mind with this hotel is that it is an antique — practically its only facility is WiFi — but they do offer customers free use of the facilities and pool at its sister hotel, the Vinh Hung Resort over on An Hoi Islet and your breakfast is served a short walk down the road at the Vinh Hung restaurant, which is a great spot to watch the world go by.
Rooms are quirky, packed with antiques and have threadbare carpets plus a baffling layout, but somehow it all pulls together and works. Bathrooms are voluptuous and although the most recent upgrade still feels a bit 1980s, a couple have huge wooden baths which with the creaky floorboards I’d find difficult to trust when filled — but if the water pressure coming from the handheld showers is anything to go by, you’d need the best part of a day to fill it.
Of the six rooms, the Chinese-styled balcony rooms are the best in the house, as the rooms at the back are a little dingy, and although all rooms have air-con, it struggles a bit in the cavernous rooms.
With room prices hovering at around the $100 a night mark, Vinh Hung One is still worth a couple of nights’ stay; it truly is a unique hotel and for all its foibles, it makes for a really memorable experience and is pretty incomparable to anything else in Hoi An.
At a push, Longlife Riverside on An Hoi has some authentically Hoi An rooms at similar rates but what you gain in modern facilities you completely lose in the experience of a museum-like stay.
The hotel is popular with couples, and if you have young kids I’d give it a miss, as the thin walls and irreplaceable antiques won’t promote a relaxed environment — small kids swinging from the rafters will make you very unpopular with other guests. Atmosphere is what this hotel is all about, as night falls and the balconied wooden corridors glow hauntingly with the bright red lanterns. If you are lucky enough to have one of the front-facing balcony rooms, it’s a very special place to sip a chilled glass of wine and watch the world go by in the centre of town.
By Caroline Mills
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.