Due to the rapid development of the Vietnamese hospitality industry, a unique situation has arisen here. The cost of hotels is incredibly low relative to the quality. The housing market in Vietnam is booming. Prices of property continue to rise steadily in the city centers. Because of competition amongst hotels, you can find tons of 4 star resorts and hotels within the $25-40 per night range (breakfast included).
This post is about how we get cheap hotels at the best prices. Applying various churning aka travel hacking tactics to get even cheaper deals. And lastly, opinions covering the pros of living out of hotels/resorts in Vietnam over traditional apartment and property rentals.
Below are some of the photos from hotels and resorts we’ve stayed at in the past.
I’m sitting under this covered area just outside the dining hall of our hotel. It’s another rainy day here in Hoi An, but this should pass. The rainy season is typically between October through December, and peak season for travel here is from March to August. The Indochine, which has now become so familiar that it feels like home is a resort we’ve been staying at for the past few weeks and we just extended our stay and booked for another 10 days.
We have been living out of resorts for the past year and it really fits our lifestyle; being minimalists and working remotely. Not everyone would say that living in a hotel is their idea of fun. I guess it’s the thought that hotels are meant for short stays, they’re quick and temporary getaways, enjoyed for s short time as a base for exploring a new town when traveling. But, there are many advantages to living out of a hotel. Especially, if working remotely.
Comments range from “Google is your friend!” and “Check out AirBnb” or “you can get in touch with realtor X”.
I’ve experienced both. I used to live in Hanoi for a year and rented out an unfurnished apartment on the 29th floor of a place called the MIPEC Riverside. An amazing place that overlooked the Red River and was dubbed by ourselves as “The Sky Castle”. It had everything. An Auchan supermarket just downstairs, a gym with a sauna, a rooftop pool, a cinema, arcade, food court, and it was right next to the historical Long Bien bridge. The Old Quarter was easy to get to, as it was just across the bridge.
It was an 80m2, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment that had a base rent of $440/month. A bit pricey considering you can get a smaller place in Hanoi for around $250-350/month, but we splurged and got the Sky Castle. I still miss the view from the window and the evening sunsets.
The cost and hassle of grocery shopping, setting up the Internet, paying the electricity and water bills, and hitting up the local UMA and Media Mart to get furniture for the place added up. Overall the rent came to about $550/month and the added costs and trouble of day-to-day living eventually drove our monthly expenditure well over $1200 per month. We were living the suite life, the high life, quite literally. After a year of this, we decided to sell off all of our furniture and my Honda Dream motorbike (I still miss you, even though you were a nightmare at times). It was easy to just post ads on FB and have people come snatch up all of our belongings which took so long to acquire. It was a bittersweet goodbye. Marie Kondo-ing our lives. We were on to better things.
We had stayed at many different resorts in Hoi An and discovered that the price was reasonable.
$25-35/night. And the perks that came with this were undeniably appealing, considering my girlfriend and I at the time were hustling in Hanoi. I will list the perks out as best I can in this post. Note: This isn’t a pros versus cons list or knock against apartment or house-life. There is undoubtedly a stable aspect to having your own place, as well as property investment reasons, amongst others. This post is about my opinion about why I prefer this lifestyle and why maybe others may too.
First perk is breakfast, or brekky. Oh man, this is a huge deciding factor when picking our next place to stay. It’s a deal breaker. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so they say, and it’s important that any hotel or resort we stay at has a decent selection of healthy food and of course, coffee. Not that weak stuff, strong Vietnamese coffee. Having a decent breakfast served to you in the morning, free coffee, an assortment of fresh fruits, omelets, toast and jams, noodles, and pho. The list goes on. But not having to clean is a huge factor as well. I love just eating then leaving. It’s not “free”, but a good breakfast when factored into the cost of living and the “rent” really adds value. You do not have to think. Just wake up and eat between 6:30 – 9:30am and your day is already off to a good start.
Secondly, routine. As we eat our room is being cleaned. The maids make our bed, give us fresh towels, and mop our floor. We come back and the place is pristine. No worries or arguments about who’s going to clean the toilet, or take out the trash, etc. It’s already taken care of. Less thinking, more living.
Thirdly, staying in shape. It’s always nice to have a basic gym setup at the hotels we stay at. Most 4 star hotels will have a treadmill, elliptical, some free weights and a bench. That’s all you really need to knock out a quick 30-50 min HIIT workout. Sweating in the morning is a must and has become a daily habit. Get sore? $10 gets you a 60 min full body massage.
Fourthly, cheap laundry. Before, we used to have a washing machine and would have to hang dry our clothes. During the winter this sucked. It would take days to dry and it just became a huge pain in the ass. Here the hotel can provide laundry services but at a markup so we typically just go next door to local convenient stores and the people working there are more than happy to do our laundry and charge by the kilogram. We typically get our clothes washed once a week and at around 6-9kgs at a dollar per its worth it for the convenience and same day turnaround.
Less is more. We travel with what we can carry. Minimalism is a huge added benefit to our lifestyle. More stuff = more worries.
Working from a laptop and having only what is necessary allows for ultimate flexibility and hotel hopping. But, when things are due and we need a place to hunker down and get shit done we need a strong internet connection. Good thing is, most places in Vietnam have good wifi and best of all, it’s free!
No utility bills. Hot baths, long showers, turn that AC on! Now, this is environmentally unfriendly, no doubt. And I don’t usually live that way, but the point is, we don’t have to worry about these added expenses. No surprise when we get an envelope in the mail and we need to pay almost $100 in electricity and water bills.
Overall, there are undoubtedly benefits for living in resorts. And the best part is sitting back after a long day of working on the computer and catching the beautiful sunsets.