Not all first impressions last…

Meracus Hotel 2 in Hanoi is a 3-star, 4-storey hotel with only 13 rooms. It is located in Hang Trong street, perfect for tourists because it is within the Old Quarter area. It is just a few blocks away from Hoan Kiem Lake. At the end of the street, you’ll see Saint Joseph Cathedral; it is also within walking distance to restaurants and Hanoi’s shopping area. As of today, this hotel is #1 in Expedia, #4 in, #8 in and #9 in Tripadvisor. Room rate ranges from S$58/night with breakfast.

At first, there was a slight confusion with my booking. I usually request for a room with a good view when making a reservation. So I expected that our room would have a view and obviously, a window, like what I’ve seen in Expedia where I booked the hotel. Expedia didn’t mention that the room I booked has no window so I was dismayed when the receptionist told us that our room has no window. I felt that our stay would go downhill from then on…

As a good gesture, the staff upgraded us to a Family Suite just for one night because the hotel was fully booked from the next day onwards. When we checked in, I was impressed with the room. It is huge and has balcony. They also provided complimentary fruits. Fresh rose petals were scattered in the bathroom and tea table. The beds were clean and comfortable. The bathroom is gold; they used tiles with gold color. You’d feel like a queen or a king. The shampoo and body wash were in ceramic containers. It was really like a boutique hotel. The balcony was adorned with spring flowers which I love! The room was squeaky clean. This was confirmed by Albert, who likes to inspect every inch of the room, a trait that he acquired from watching Anthony Melchiorri in ‘Hotel Impossible’.

Family Room

Family Room

The breakfast was not a buffet type but the breads were. There were waiters to serve us. We could select a la carte from an excellent section of Vietnamese and Western dishes, which included appetizers, several entree and desserts. While waiting for our orders, the waiters served us fruits and drinks. Coffee was served on a cup with a candle underneath to keep it hot. Great, isn’t it?

When our breakfast was served, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it would be served like a normal dish but to my amazement, it was served with elaborate plating, and I could feel the passion of the chef who prepared the dish. Who doesn’t love buffet breakfast? But if my food is served this way, I’d  choose a la carte any time. What’s more, we’ve seen guests next to us order more than one entree. Of course, Albert can eat a lot so he ordered two main dishes. I was so happy with my breakfast! I really loved eating in a well plated dish which I always do, but today at least someone else plated for my breakfast. I felt the passion of the people behind it.

20160317_101021 Meracus

Mini Quiche

After our breakfast, we left our key with the receptionist. I told him that our luggage bags were packed and they could move them to another room. Hermes, the hotel manager, came and approached me to personally apologize for the confusion in the room booking.  I told him it was alright, and the service and experience that we had so far was more than enough to make up for the confusion. But I suggested to him just to update their Expedia listing to avoid confusion in the future. At the same time, I requested him to help me to reserve a dinner for 3 at Gia Ngu Restaurant.

After our day trip, we went back to hotel to freshen up for our dinner. When we arrived at the lobby, the receptionist asked us to wait for a while and gave us tea. After a few minutes, he gave me the key cards and we went into our room. When we entered our room, we were all astonished with the hotel’s surprise for Alvin’s birthday. They lit candles all over the room and bathroom, and decorated it with balloons and red rose petals. And on our bed, a cake with elephant-shaped towels on the side. Who would expect this from a small hotel? We once stayed in Shangri-la Boracay during our anniversary and we didn’t even get a single petal of rose! I really applauded this kind of service. This Hotel is successful because of the people behind it. They are so passionate and really went an extra mile to make us feel special.

Before heading to the restaurant which the hotel helped to book for us, we thanked the staff for their wonderful effort. We went to our dinner, and again, we had good food and amazing service. I’ll write a separate post for that.

I am writing this article(my first blog about the hotel) because I was really impressed with the excellent service by Meracus Hotel 2. The night before our check out date, we received a handwritten thank you note. Once again, I felt moved! When we checked out, I paid our shuttle fee to the airport  to Hermes.

About 10-15 minutes later on the way, our driver answered a phone call. He couldn’t speak English so he just pointed at our luggage. From that, we understood that he was was telling us that we forgot some luggage in the hotel. Alvin told him we didn’t forget anything but since he couldn’t understand us, he just drove back towards the hotel. After a few minutes, he received another call, and he passed the call to me. It was Hermes on the line, and he told me I left my credit card. At that moment, our driver started driving like Jason Bourne, honking at everybody (at this moment Albert was enjoying the ride, he felt action inside the car though I was not scared because the other drivers gave way). He didn’t drive all the way back to the hotel. Instead, one of the hotel staffs actually drove a motorbike to meet us halfway, and he returned my credit card when we met him. Again, I didn’t expect I could get this kind of service from a highly affordable 3-star hotel. The cleanliness and service is beyond a 5-star hotel.

This hotel deserves to be #1 in all websites! I’m truly grateful knowing these beautiful people of the hotel.  This is hotel is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Nevermind of the first impression. It will be the subsequent experience that I will always remember and cherish!  This hotel will stay forever etched in my mind!

If I go back to Hanoi, I’ll pick this hotel in a heartbeat .

This is our breakfast during our stay:

The hotel’s pictures

Alvin’s birthday surprise: