Hoa Binh resorts find favor as Hanoians' weekend retreats
The Avana Retreat in Hoa Binh’s Mai Chau District, famed for is terraced rice fields, saw its occupancy soar to 90 percent in the first two weekends after the province reopened doors to inter-provincial tourists on September 22.
All its rooms are fully booked for this weekend, the resort said.
The resort’s guests are mainly from Hanoi who usually stay for three days and two nights. Some families have booked longer stays of up to a week though rooms cost VND5 to 20 million ($216.71-866.84) a night.
Nestled deep in the lush forests of Panh Hamlet in Mai Chau Town amidst Hmong, Thai and Dao ethnic communities, the resort’s isolation makes it ideal for those wishing to avoid large crowds amid the pandemic.
Similarly, a representative of Mai Chau Hideaway Resort said its room occupancy rate in the first week of reopening (September 25-30) reached a ‘moderate’ level, but a week ago all rooms were fully booked.
The representative said its occupancy rate on weekends in the coming weeks is forecast to reach over 80 percent.
Eighty percent of tourists to the resort come from Hanoi and they mainly stay from one to two nights and return to the capital as their negative Covid certificate remains effective only for 72 hours.
Located on an isolated peninsula, the resort has 31 stilt-houses that sport a simple and rustic feel with balconies offering beautiful views of the Hoa Binh Lake. Room prices range from VND1.9 to 2.2 million.
The Mai Chau Ecolodge and the Serena Resort Kim Boi, which reopened September 25, have received a large number of bookings as well.
Hoa Binh Province requires people coming or returning from areas under lockdown or social distancing to show Covid negative certificates of RT-PCR tests done within 72 hours before arrival. Those coming from safe Covid areas only need to furnish a negative certificate of rapid antigen test done within the previous 72 hours.
Nguyen Thu Huong of Hanoi stayed with her family at the Serena Resort Kim Boi in the eponymous district on October 4. Before arriving at the resort, Huong and husband had rapid Covid tests done VND150,000 per person while her two children under six were exempt from Covid testing.
"After a long time of strict social distancing measures, my family had a great relaxing time inside the resort," Huong said.
Her family only stayed one night and returned to Hanoi with their testing certificate.
"If the country switches to living with the pandemic, pandemic prevention regulations including testing are unavoidable; so I didn’t feel inconvenienced. We enjoyed our trip. It was comfortable," Huong said.