One of the most memorable AirBnB experiences that Daniel and I ever had in Vietnam was with our quick stay in Hanoi. This was nearing the tail end of our trip, and it felt like the crew was starting to favor comfort over having a crazy experience. This stay was by, in large, the best sleep I’ve ever gotten in Vietnam. If you’re interested in checking it out, follow the link HERE
We hopped out of our car, with our bags that weighed about as heavy as us. Much like most residences in Vietnam, it was tucked behind and alleyway about as narrow as our suitcases, wedged between two businesses. In front, closest to the road was a woman frying bananas, and the smell of hot oil and sticky fruit was a much needed perfume to combat the usual city smell.
The alley was not a good indicator of what was to come. As we walked deeper into the concrete corridor, we saw a nurse, hunched over a bucket of water, washing her linens after a day of work. Next to her, a sign stating ‘optometry’. Just a few more feet down, an elderly woman cutting raw chicken. No cutting board, no equipment other than a big butchers knife, and a basket to hold the cut pieces. It was a good reminder to not eat at the chicken shop right across the street.
As we entered the building, the signs of Vietnam were all there. Cracked tile, flakey paint, ill fitted doors, and of course, a network of telecommunication cables and wires strung across from every which way like a veiny latticework of some gargantuan beast. The stairs leading up to the second floor, where our room was, had sags and cracks in it so large that a portion of Daniel’s suitcase almost fell straight through. Our concerns were growing larger.
I love efficient spaces. Big, gigantic rooms almost barren feel so lifeless to me. But cozy, yet uncluttered spaces are my jam. And this space had all the right Viet feng shui. Opening the door to this place was like opening the door to a movie set. It was so seemingly out of place, yet so magical to be in.
After settling in, Daniel and I headed to the ‘upstairs’. A very simple nook, of just a mattress on the floor, combined with a shelf full of books, one outlet, and a narrow window. It was heaven. Air conditioning is hit or miss in a lot of places, so realizing the luxury of having a modern AC unit was critical to our enjoyment of this space. Us three laid down, clothes washing, fan running, cell phones charging, to the most restful sleep we had in the entire trip.
Outside the door, our anxiety was through the roof. Sure we had seen pictures from AirBnB, but I can tell when photographers use their tricks and tools to fool the eye, making a place seem bigger or more grand than it really is. It wasn’t until we opened the door…
Beautiful. Small, but beautiful. It was absolutely the most delightful room we had ever seen in our entire trip. A double sized bed sat near the doorway, plush with pillows and blankets. Off further back a narrow staircase, filled with cubbies leading upstairs. Next to it, a peaceful bathroom with dark tile, and a small kitchenette with the greatest luxury of all, a washer and dryer.