Little Hanoi Hostel 2 is probably the most tucked away hotel in Hanoi I’ve reviewed. Never mind the narrow alley along which Camellia Hotel 6 is located — for this one you almost need a torch, or at least to take off your sunglasses. Not that it’s too difficult to find; it’s located down a lane off Le Thai Tho Street, which runs along the western edge of Hoan Kiem Lake, and a sign on the wall by the entrance to the alley indicates the way. If you get to the new MAC shop (which used to be Fanny’s Ice Cream) you’ve gone too far, so backtrack 100 metres (by foot as it’s a one-way street) and there it is. Walk down the alley and at the end turn right — you don’t have a lot of choice — and the hotel is on the left.
Two basic types of accommodation are on offer: private rooms and dorm beds. The dorm beds are a bit pricier than dorms elsewhere, at US$8 a bed, but there are only four beds in a room and each room has its own bathroom, so they’re a good option if you’re travelling in a group or if you prefer not to share your snoring or morning habits with too many strangers. They also have air-con, a TV and fridge — unusual but often welcome additions to a dorm room.
As for the private rooms, there are double, twin and triple bed options available ($25 for the doubles and twins, $27 for the triple, with air-con). The decor in the private rooms is of the very traditional, dark carved-wood variety. The double room we saw even had a Vietnamese-style bed in it — the sort that doubles up as a table during the day. And it looked like the cleaner was having a nap — we didn’t like to disturb her.
Although small, the rooms are well equipped with chairs, a desk, a fridge and a solid wardrobe. There are no LCD flatscreen TVs to be seen, but they do come with a small old-style TV. Choose between fan or air-con, which is useful when it’s warm rather than hot. Bathrooms are basic but clean.
Finally, there’s Wifi throughout, three internet stations in reception (free), tea and coffee is available all day and breakfast is included in the price (the usual bread, eggs and noodles).
I first heard about this place when friends stayed there a year or so ago while looking for a place to live. They raved about it, and particularly about its owner, who helped them find their apartment. Having now met Mr Chin I can see the appeal — he is super friendly and helpful and even remembered my friends. “I try to remember everyone who stays here and keep them close to my heart,” he told me.
While not the best value place around — better value in terms of size of room can be found at places like Camellia or Stars Hotel on Bat Su — it’s still a good choice in the price range. The only downside is that parking is limited, so it’s not the ideal place if you’ve turned up with a group on Minsks, but for most this won’t be a problem.
On our visit the dorms were all full, so it’s best to book in advance, particularly as there aren’t any alternative hotels nearby if you get there and there’s no room. Note that their website is not very accurate in terms of the room descriptions, although prices match those we were quoted.