From Hanoi, we flew south to Da Nang, located in central Vietnam for our visit to UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Hoi An and My Son.
Essence Hoi An Hotel and Spa is part of the Essence group and the hotel opened in August 2013. Two months after the opening, there was a flood in Hoi An, which is a regular occurrence, but usually with warning. This time, there was no warning and water started seeping into the hotel, up to 1 meter. Guests were stranded as boats were deployed for emergency in other areas and flights were missed, and there was much unhappiness.
When we arrived, the pool was still under service from the flood. We could see the water mark left behind on furniture, and shelves in the gift shops were damaged. Still, if we weren’t told about it, we wouldn’t have noticed. The hospitality welcome drink of passion fruit was so delicious I could overlook the lack of swimming pool.
Inside, the decor was local and simple. Check-in was done with guests seated on sofa at the lobby. Above, fabric umbrellas and lanterns provided colourful contrast to the wooden interior.
Our room consisted of two double beds.
The aircon malfunctioned for one night and throughout the next day, but it didn’t affect our comfort. Breakfast was provided and unlike the sister hotel in Hanoi, this was served buffet style in a large dining hall. The spread was sumptuous, serving both local and western dishes. I love the fruit platter as the array of local fruits served to allay my guilt from feasting on the good food during our stay in Vietnam.
The hotel provides free bicycles for guest to ride to Hoi An old town, one km away from our hotel. It was thus very convenient for shopping and food.
On our last evening at the hotel, Mike and I decided to explore a seaside village near the hotel. We walked along the dirt road, peering into people’s houses, and venturing into another village next to a rice field.
For a city dweller, the walk was a tour on its own as these villages, once found in Singapore during our parents’ childhood period, have totally disappeared now.
Unlike the sister hotel in Hanoi (https://vickychong.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/vietnam-elite-hotel-review/), which is a boutique hotel, this hotel is a larger scale hotel, but the warm hospitality from the staff is still felt as we were greeted every time we left or arrived.
One minor complaint I had for this otherwise splendid hotel is the tap adjustment in the shower. With two separate hot and cold taps, we had a difficult time trying to adjust them to our optimum temperature. A slight twist would make the water either burning hot or freezing cold. Thus with much guilt, I had to leave the tap on while I shampooed and soaped, something every Singaporean had been drilled into that it is a ‘no-no’.