I made a huge mistake in booking Hanoi Meracus Hotel 2.
It was such a wonderful boutique hotel and our room was so nice and cozy, that we had trouble leaving it!
Hotels are literally everywhere in Hanoi. The problem is not finding one but choosing one, especially since there are so many lovely and incredibly affordable accommodations around. After looking through so many options, we were happy to have found THE ONE. After reading all the raves about Meracus Hotel 2, we were confident that we chose a hotel that could help make our wedding anniversary trip a remarkable one.
Straight from our midnight flight, Mike and I arrived at the Hanoi Meracus Hotel 2 at 3:00 in the morning, tired and sleep-deprived. As we entered our hotel, I was surprised to see a motorcycle parked in the quaint lobby, just right in front of the reception desk. Well, the sight of this brought me back to the waking world!
In 2015’s TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards, Meracus Hotel 2 ranked at #21 of the 25 Best Service Hotels all over the world! Not just in Vietnam, but the world! In 2016, they ranked at #14 of 25 for the Best Service Hotels in Vietnam.
Throughout our stay, and even from the moment we arrived, we saw for ourselves how deserving they are of that title. When we got to the hotel, Ivan, one of the hotel staff, assisted us with the check-in, and reconfirmed with us all the details of our booking first. He gave us a hot towel to wipe our hands with. Then, he handed us a voucher for a 10% discount at their partner spa. He also gave us a city map with their recommendations for various establishments and explained the walked us through the hotel’s location and surroundings. This map was extremely helpful to us! Attached to the map is a handy pamphlet with tips and tricks on how to travel safely in Hanoi (including “How to cross roads” and “How to get away from pushy vendors.” Definitely lots of helpful advice there!).
When I booked the hotel via e-mail, I mentioned that Mike and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary, and hence, I requested for a nice room. We were assigned to Room 702, which was in the 7th floor or the “Quiet Zone.” The hotel has an elevator that goes up only until the 6th floor. To reach the rooms in the Quiet Zone, guests have to take the stairs, which are not really steep at all.
As we reached our room, Ivan greeted us “Happy Anniversary!” and we were presented with this lovely surprise:
Candles! Balloons! Kissing swan towels! Roses! Roses petals! Best of all… a cake with the words “Happy Anniversary!” How sweet! I have stayed in plenty of hotels before, and even worked in hotels myself. I can say that in terms of giving guests a welcome surprise, Hanoi Meracus Hotel 2 really takes the cake!
And speaking of cake (you noticed how I said “cake” three times already?), were we glad to see that mocha cake on our bed! Mike and I were starving, so we were fortunate to have this cake as our midnight snack.
We couldn’t finish all of it in one sitting, so we put the rest in the fridge. The next day, when the staff cleaned our room, there were fresh plates and utensils waiting for us because they knew that we still had some cake to finish. How attentive of them!
The decorations prepared by the staff really set the mood for a night of romance! Some people have playfully asked me after seeing the anniversary setup on my Facebook page: “So… will there be a baby on the way?” Unfortunately, because we were so exhausted, there was really no time for romance that night and we just went straight to sleep. The only thing I did with the balloons and rose petals were these:
Meracus Hotel 2 really showered us (not literally) with roses! Even our bathroom sink was decorated with rose petals as part of the anniversary surprise.
Not only did they put beautiful and vibrant fresh roses all over our room, but they even put some in the bathroom! It’s little details like these that made us feel they were really trying to make our stay not just pleasant but extraordinary. No wonder they were also named as TripAdvisor’s #1 of the 25 Romance Hotels of Vietnam in 2015!
I like big rooms and I cannot lie! Guest rooms in boutique hotels in Hanoi are generally on the small side (around 18 to 22 sq. m for the lowest room category). What grabbed my attention when I checked out Meracus Hotel 2 online was how big the rooms are. Our deluxe room was around 38 to 40 sq. m., which is considered huge in Hanoi standards.
Here is our beautifully-appointed, clean, and spacious room! Look at all that space!
When I saw our room, I thought, “No way! This is a budget 3-star hotel?!” We had the most comfortable bed that made it harder for us to get up in the morning. It’s so easy to just sleep on it all day! Their sheets and pillows are comparable to those you can find in 4- or 5-star hotels.
Our room had everything we needed and more: a nice queen-size bed, a long and spacious work desk, welcome fruits (with a rose, of course!), coffee and tea amenities, a fridge and minibar, a tea table, a seating area, and a flat-screen TV. One more amenity that impressed me was that each room came with a laptop with Wi-Fi that guests are free to use! Some of the luxury hotels I’ve stayed at did not even have this, so I was surprised to see this in a small hotel. The Wi-Fi in the hotel was fast! Not once did we encounter any connection problems.
We booked the room directly with the hotel using the Early Bird Discount of just USD 59/night, inclusive of daily a la carte breakfast! What a steal, huh? I could stay here for two weeks and not break the bank. No wait… can I stay here for a month?
The elegant bathroom of Meracus Hotel 2 made me forget that we were staying in a budget lodging. Nothing about it even suggests the word “budget.” Look, our bathroom is GOLD! I guess you could say that we really struck gold with this hotel!
I spent a great amount of time in this bathroom, not just because that’s what girls do, but because I just loved it here! Every night after touring the city, I always looked forward to soaking in the large and immaculate bath tub, which was always clean and working well. It was heaven for me!
I forgot to ask the Meracus Hotel 2 staff a very important question: “What shampoo brand do you have in the bathroom?” I’m not exaggerating here: after using their shampoo, my hair was so soft and bouncy! I didn’t even have to use their hair dryer because my hair just fell into place! Even Mike was amazed and said “My hair feels so silky!” (Hey, friends from Meracus Hotel 2! If you’re reading this, please tell me your secret!)
If Meracus Hotel 2 had its own restaurant which they open to the public, I bet it will be packed!
When in Vietnam, one of the top things to do is to try as much food as you can because there’s really so much good food everywhere you go! Hence, it really doesn’t matter if your hotel doesn’t come with free breakfast, or if the free breakfast offered by your hotel isn’t something to write home about. But the food at Meracus Hotel 2 was actually one of the things we were excited about every morning when we woke up during our trip!
For a small and bargain hotel, I wasn’t expecting much from the breakfast menu. In fact, I’m just thankful that we even have free breakfast, because some of the small hotels I’ve stayed at before did not include it in the rate. When the staff served the food to us, I was impressed that everything was creatively plated! The chef took the time to make our food look pretty!
Here are the dishes that we had for breakfast.
Don’t know which one to try? Try them all… because you can! The free hotel breakfast is served a la carte, but the good news is that you can order anything, as much as you want! I wish we spent at least a week there just so we could try everything! I never had a bad meal at Meracus Hotel 2. Everything was really delicious! The only thing I really didn’t enjoy was the Creme Caramel. I’m probably the biggest caramel lover in the world so I’m very particular about my caramel. I want it sweet (as in diabetes levels sweet) and the dessert in the hotel was too bland for my taste. But I guess that’s how the Vietnamese do it. Filipinos just go crazy with the sugar. (Sweet spaghetti? Only in the Philippines!)
The breakfast area is a little small, though it was never really a problem. Considering that the hotel was fully booked during our stay, we never had to wait for a table to free up. I do suggest having breakfast early, though, especially when you are leaving early for a Halong Bay cruise. That way, you have more time to pace yourself and try as much of the food as possible.
Breakfast is served from 6:30 to 10:30 AM. The restaurant is only open for breakfast. A breakfast menu is also set in each guestroom’s workdesk so you can already choose your food in advance (if you’re that excited for breakfast! We were!)
I love Hanoi but it is pretty noisy and chaotic, with all the cars and motorcycles speeding by and drivers honking their horns like it’s a honking contest. The location of Meracus Hotel 2 is optimal because it is just a few steps away from the heart of the city, but not right smack in the heart of the city, so it’s still in a more peaceful area.
While I could still hear some noise from our room, like the bells from St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the sounds were very, very faint, and we were never disturbed by the negligible noise.
The hotel is close to the major attractions like the Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter, the French Quarter, and other points of interest. You can explore most places on foot! There are also plenty of shops and restaurants nearby.
More Love For Meracus Hotel 2
I’ve already raved about how much we love Meracus Hotel 2, but there’s still more to love about them!
We love… how they welcomed us back to the hotel and sent us off warmly.
After our overnight Halong Bay trip, we returned to the hotel and stayed there for one more night until our flight the next day. When we returned, we were given a cup of delicious ginger tea and hot towels.
We were given the same room and when we opened the door to our room, we saw that on our bed were — you guessed it!– rose petals and a thoughtful handwritten thank you note by Hermes, the manager!
The only thing I wish they did was to address us as “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” In the card, they wrote “Mr. Lazatin” (Mike’s Filipino last name. Yes, he has two last names. Long story.) and “Ms. Madarang” (my maiden name). It’s totally not their fault though, because the passports we presented to them had “Lazatin” and “Madarang” so it is a tad confusing! Anyway, this is really such a minor thing, and it wasn’t a big deal, really!
When we got back from our cruise, the welcome fruits in our room were replenished and fresh flowers were waiting for us! We were really being given the special treatment here!
We love… the daily weather reports.
Everyday, we would get a weather update in our room for the next day.
This was quite useful in planning our outfits and plans for the next day!
We love… that they let us do a late check-out.
Our flight back to Manila was scheduled at 1:15 in the morning, and we were meant to leave the hotel by 10:00 in the evening. Standard check-out time was 12:00 NN, which meant that 10 hours to kill before our departure!
Without us even having to ask, Hermes told us that we can check out at 2:00 PM instead of 12:00 NN, since the next guests that will be occupying our room will be arriving in the afternoon anyway. We really appreciated this consideration! We got to snooze again, which is a wonderful thing to do after having a heavy and hearty breakfast. An extra two hours of rest made such a huge difference! Checking out at 12:00 NN meant that we would have been rushed, but with the late check-out, we felt much more refreshed.
We love… the efficient airport transfer service.
No delays, no hurdles. We were picked up and brought to the hotel safely and on time. The car was clean and spacious. The driver was polite and helpful.
We love… the friendly staff.
I’m TERRIBLE with names but I will remember how Hermes, Ivan, Trang, Nhu, Daisy, Darren, and everyone at the Meracus Hotel 2 made our anniversary trip really special and exceptional. Whenever they saw us, they would always greet us by name and smile at us, or ask us how our day / night / cruise went, but without overdoing it and still maintaining professionalism.
Even my e-mail correspondences with them prior to our stay were smooth and prompt. All my questions were answered, and answered well. Their English was good so no communication headache there.
They are always happy to recommend restaurants, shops, and other services, and whenever we needed directions to a certain place, they were always ready to help. They even let me use their computer and printer to print out our boarding passes, and didn’t charge me for it.
I can also say that the people working for the hotel are honest, a trait that is very valuable especially in a place like Hanoi, where you hear of scams happening left and right. As we were about to get on our shuttle for Halong Bay, one of the staff chased me and handed me a shirt that I left in the room. It was neatly packed in a plastic bag when he gave it to me. Also, since we had no Vietnamese Dong with us when we arrived, we asked if they can change our USD to VND, and they said yes, but told us truthfully that their exchange rate is lower than that of the banks and money changers. It was nice of them to give us this piece of information first! Another thing I liked was when I paid for our room rate using my credit card and cash in USD, they carefully explained to us the breakdown of costs, including the exchange rate for the day.
From the great service to their integrity, we were assured that this is a hotel that we can trust.
A Day For A Life Time
Meracus Hotel 2’s tagline is “A Day for a Life Time” and after our short but sweet stay, now I know why. You spend a few days or even just a day at the hotel, but they make your stay so unforgettable and special, that the memories last with you for a life time.
It’s true that the accommodations in Hanoi are countless, and many are dirt cheap, so it won’t be hard to look for a place to stay. Though Meracus Hotel 2 is already low-priced, it is slightly more expensive than other boutique hotels in Hanoi. You’ll be shocked to find out that some small hotels in Hanoi will only cost you as low as USD 20 a night! However, Meracus Hotel 2 is the perfect choice if:
a) You are celebrating a special occasion. You know by now that Meracus Hotel 2 takes birthdays, anniversaries, and honeymoons seriously! Besides, if you’re celebrating a milestone, why would you choose a substandard hotel?
b) You want a smooth stay – over a thousand positive reviews and very, very little negative reviews? That says a lot! I have heard horror stories from travelers who stayed in other hotels in Hanoi. They were sent to a sister hotel (not the original hotel they booked) because the hotel they did book was overbooked. Some found rats and roaches in the room. Others were disappointed to see that the room they booked looked totally different from the ones they saw in photos. If you don’t want any major hiccups in your stay, go with the tried and tested hotels like Meracus Hotel 2.
c) You are a light sleeper or you want some peace and quiet – like I said, the location of the hotel is perfect because it’s just a street or two away from the action, but still located in a quieter street. On top of that, all rooms have soundproof windows or double glazed doors.
Overall, Meracus Hotel 2 was a nice place to come home to after a day of exploring the charming city, and we would love to come back one day.
Some tips when booking Meracus Hotel 2:
- Try to book early so you can get the early bird discount! Best to book directly through the website.
- The difference between a Superior Room and Deluxe Room, aside from the price, is that the Superior Room has no windows. I like windows in my room, so we went for a Deluxe Room. However, don’t expect a glorious view! Our view was the roofs of the nearby establishments, but it was still nice to have some light shining in from the outside and it felt less claustrophobic.
- The Deluxe Room was good enough for us, but if you can afford to splurge a little, consider booking a Junior Suite, which has a balcony facing the Street. I would have loved a room with a balcony but our budget for a hotel was strictly USD 60 or less!
- If you are arriving and departing at dawn or really late at night, it’s wise to secure airport transfers via the hotel, priced at USD 18/way. It’s much safer than getting a cab. You don’t want to deal with cabbies who try to swindle you on your first day in Hanoi!
- Room service is available until midnight only. I tried calling after midnight, and there was no answer.
- If you’re going on a Halong Bay cruise, you may take some of your important things with you and leave the rest of your luggage with the hotel for safekeeping. When we saw all the other guests’ luggage sitting on their dining area, Mike was worried that it might not be safe to leave our things there, but the area was secure and our things were guarded well.
- The hotel can change your money to VND but only if it’s in USD. It’s practical to have a few dongs with you to last you for a day or half a day, then you can just change the rest of your money in one of the money changers in the Old Quarter.
- Take a map from the hotel lobby and bring it with you wherever you go. You’ll need it!
- If, like us, you are arriving in the hotel very late at night, make sure you have some snacks with you. The shops near the hotel close early and it’s not recommended to walk around after midnight.
- Do not confuse this with Hanoi Meracus Hotel 1, which is their sister hotel.
More stories from our Hanoi trip on: #PuffAndFluffHANOImoon