stayed at the 85 ma may st branch of the "elegance hotel" in december 2006 and what a pleasant experience it turned out to be..arrived at 11.pm and was in room,showered and in bed by 11.30.liked the wall tv and free in room internet and especially the ever so clean bathroom..room sizes do vary at this hotel.breakfast,including scrambled eggs,was good and the availability of the local english newspaper a plus
personalised service was impressive and nothing to large or small to be quickly attended to.after a brief conversation with the duty manager i walked out the front door to find "handspan" tourist agency opposite.this is probably the prefered agency for your upmarket tour of halong bay on the " dragon pearl" chinese junk (take the kayak option for an unforgetable day in the bay. you pass through the "tamarind" cafe to get to handspan office and this should be your preference for food while in hanoi..hygiene is impressive and you pass the open kitchen to get to the toilets.
a short walk brings you to the lake and the "thang long"water puppet show,great for children from 2 to 102!! dont forget to take your video camera as for an extra $4 you can video the whole show ($3 admission). on your obligatory walk around lake stop off at "fannies" gelato bar to satisfy your inner cravings..also check out the many $1 dvd shops but be careful of mislabelling and faulty copies.my policy was to ask,politely, for the shop to play start of item to check soundtrack was in english..
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