Conifer Boutique (TripAdvisor Hotel Review)

Reviewed July 4, 2016

Great location, wonderful rooms and amenities, and exceptional service make Conifer Boutique a fantastic hotel

My friend and I stayed at the Conifer Boutique Hotel during our week-long visit to Hanoi in May, and had a truly three-star hotel experience. Before flying to Hanoi, we had stayed at another highly rated hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. That hotel had great amenities and nearly flawless service, but didn’t come close to the quality or level of service provided at Conifer Boutique. This is a hotel that will make you feel right at home, with incredibly courteous, on-point staff and a cozy, relaxed atmosphere that bears comparison to the best hotels in Europe.

The location in the French Quarter (near the opera house) is perfect if you want a mellower Hanoi experience away from the crowds and bustle of the market streets and budget hotels/hostels. It’s not on a major street, and the neighborhood is relatively quiet and atmospheric, with a high tree canopy providing ample shade. The nearby Italian commercial development HQ seems to have attracted some continental businesses to the neighborhood, including a gelato place next door. For a more Vietnamese experience, a nearby eatery (next to the Museum of the Revolution) has a wide selection of phở soups and noodle dishes. Hoan Kiem Lake is a five-minute walk away.

The room itself was small but very clean, tidy and quiet. The bedding was very comfortable, the AC neither intrusively loud nor too cold, and the snack bar selection of higher quality than what you’d get at most hotels in the price range. Laundry service was fast and efficient (Conifer has a large onsite laundry facility) and clothes were often returned same day. Room service did a fantastic job making sure that the room was regularly cleaned and sorted. I also appreciated that the room had a relatively spacious alcove facing a large window that provided an expansive view of the city below. It was a great space to read and think, and also provided just the right amount of natural light into the room. On a hot summer day in Hanoi, you appreciate that.

Conifer also provides their own tour booking. A lot of hotels do of course, but the variation in quality and price is vast with often unpredictable results. The two tours I booked through Conifer Boutique—Perfume Pagoda and Ha Long Bay—were uniformly excellent. The weather cooperating helped of course, but decent well-rounded meals and a surprising degree of autonomy didn’t hurt either. Desk staff were also extremely helpful with trip planning, identifying ideal trips based on my stated preferences. I booked the excursion to the Perfume Pagoda based solely on their recommendation, and it was one of the high points of my Vietnam trip.

While the room and amenities are unimpeachable, it’s the service that really compelled me to write this review. The staff team are a well-oiled machine focused on ensuring the best possible experience for guests. Due to a misunderstanding, the room I booked only had one bed. But the staff anticipated the possibility and already had an “upgrade” with two beds ready to go at a negligible price increase. Naturally this might seem a bit scammy, but I had the option of keeping the room I already had and didn’t feel any pressure whatsoever to commit to it.

Every morning my friend and I would have a complimentary breakfast at the hotel before heading out. This included a decent continental buffet with an additional menu choice of omelets and other egg dishes. As with the rest of the hotel, service was both welcoming (gracious smiles and immediate attention) and unobtrusive (once you’re seated and have what you need they wait staff keep a friendly distance). This is a combination that a lot of hotels and restaurants get wrong, but Conifer gets exactly right. They’re there when you need them, and hands off when you don’t. Anytime you enter the hotel, the doormen/women greet you and desk staff will accompany you to the elevator to ask you how your day has gone and apprise you of any news, like when a tour is leaving the next morning or when you’ll want to leave to get to the airport. They remember all their guests and any relevant information they’ll need. If you make a request to the night manager, the morning staff will be aware of it. Service was integrated, seamless and superb, day or night.

There are a couple of situations that arose where the hotel staff went above and beyond the call of duty. My friend lost his debit card to a hungry ATM, the kind of travel situation that could have been catastrophic. When he informed the desk of his situation, they got to work and called the bank’s ATM service number for him. The initial call didn’t get through, but they kept calling and within 24 hours they had contacted the bank and then worked with my friend to complete the bank’s paperwork, essentially advising him. When my friend was ready to go the bank, staff got him a cab ride to the bank and then provided translation service so he could communicate with the teller. Within about two days, he had his debit card back. When I foolishly left my cell phone on a tour bus a day later, the hotel was just as quick to resolve my situation, getting my phone back within a day’s time. My friend joked that the hotel had essentially assigned a task force to our room. But in fact, that’s exactly what they did.

Service like that, all of which was free of charge, is simply remarkable, and the sign of a truly great hotel, one whose staff earned every single tip by simply doing their jobs to a remarkable degree. Conifer Boutique Hotel clearly values the experience of their guests above all else, and I will definitely be staying their again when I return to Hanoi. A fantastic experience, and highly recommended.

Originally published at TripAdvisor

 

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