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I wasn’t a fan of Hanoi in Vietnam. It was cold, wet and the pavements were so narrow that I was walking in the road amongst a sea of bikes. So I was thankful that I had a gorgeous room at La Belle Vie hotel to go back to.
I booked the accommodation through Wimdu, which is an alternative accommodation site that allows you to rent accommodation from locals to get a unique travel experience. While the sort of accommodation offered is usually private apartments and rooms, this time I found myself in a 40-room boutique hotel called La Belle Vie.
It didn’t feel like staying in a hotel at all. The Premier Westlake View Room occupies the whole top floor, and has views over the city. This quiet room was like having a home away from home, and on those rainy days in Hanoi, it was so nice to be able to curl up in bed and watch a movie on the big TV. After a week of taking night buses up the coast of Vietnam, I arrived in Hanoi feeling tired and exhausted, so this was just what I needed.
The room itself was cosy with dark wood finishes, a desk and a King sized bed. The bathroom had a large corner bath tub with rain shower. The Wireless Internet wasn’t working when I first arrived, but after speaking with the hotel reception staff, I returned later to find they had called someone in to fix it. The staff were incredibly helpful, and even held an umbrella over my head when it was raining outside. In the morning there is a buffet breakfast in the restaurant next door, with a selection of Asian dishes and the usual Western breakfast foods.
Booking with Wimdu- How Does it Work?
This was the first time I had booked with Wimdu. From the homepage I simply typed in my destination (Vietnam) and the dates I wanted to book, then hit “Search”.
It then came up with a list of accommodation options for my dates. Once I had chosen my room, I contacted the host to check the property was definitely available for my dates. To contact the owner you have to register for an account with Wimdu, either by entering an email address and password, or by logging in through Facebook.
The host replied only a few hours later, and I received a notification from Wimdu in my email inbox. Once the availability was confirmed, I clicked on the “Book now” button and followed the steps in the booking process.
The host then accepted the booking request within a few hours- (Note: the booking is only binding once the booking request has been accepted.)
If the host declines your booking request, your money is automatically released within your Paypal or bank account. If the booking is accepted, then the payment is transferred to the host 24 hours after you have successfully checked in to the room. If you have booked a private apartment or room then the host will usually meet you at the accommodation and hand over the keys, but in my case I had booked a small hotel so I simply had to check-in at the desk.
Everything in the Wimdu booking process went smoothly, and I was happy with the experience, so I would definitely use them again.
I received a booking voucher from Wimdu so I could test out the booking process. All opinions are my own.