In the heart of the historic town
Tourists flock to Hoi An for its UNESCO World Heritage old town but it may come as a surprise to some that accommodation is all outside the old town -- with a few exceptions.
Vinh Hung 1 Heritage Hotel is one of them. Located smack dab in the heart of the pedestrian zone, this hotel gives guests a chance to live a bit of history.
You might recognise this beautiful wooden Chinese trading house from the iconic film-based-on-novel The Quiet American, starring Michael Caine (Suite 208 served as the star’s dressing room during filming). Walk past it on Tran Phu and you may assume it’s one of the sights on your UNESCO ticket. We were told the building is 200 years old, and after being bought from a Chinese merchant in 1992, it was one of the very first hotels to open its doors to tourism. Step into the atmospheric reception, full of dark lacquer furniture and antiques, and it’s like stepping back in time.
Though it has gone through a few renovations, its most recent upgrade has lifted it into a creaky but classy six-room hotel that oozes mystery and old world charm. There are six rooms, the Chinese-style balcony suites on the upstairs floor being the best. Imagine being able to sit up there with a glass of chilled wine watching the tourists scurry below. From the small inner sanctum, intriguing shadowy wooden hallways lead to wood rooms furnished with traditional furniture, but are otherwise equipped with modern amenities. These comforts include minibar, air-con, flatscreen TV, safety box, kettle, WiFi and a completely modern bathroom with contemporary fixtures, hair dryer and large bathtub. It won’t be perfect -- it’s an old building after all -- but it does make for a memorable experience that is incomparable to anything else in Hoi An. You either understand the intangible value or you don’t.
The hotel is hauntingly beautiful, though there is the slight air of the ramshackled and unrefined-- the receptionist was abrupt and we noticed odds and ends haphazardly stacked up on chairs in the lobby. You can get a lot more for half the price at any number of resorts just outside the old town. Here you’ll get no breakfast buffet, spa, garden, lively service or pool, though you are allowed to use the pool at their sister property Vinh Hung Riverside Resort. If you need to be sold on this property or the room rate, it’s probably not for you. This is for those who want a place that tells a story.
It is popular. Book in advance.
Address: 143 Tran Phu St, Hoi An
T: (235) 386 1621; F: (235) 392 1757
Coordinates (for GPS): 108º19'36.79" E, 15º52'37.53" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: US$50 to 100
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
Heritage suite: $76/$100
Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you'll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
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