Review – The Aira Boutique Hotel & Spa
Within the last decade, Sapa has gone through quite a significant change. Now struggling to keep the region’s authenticity, Sapa’s minority and enthnic cultures are quickly being overrun by outside influences and sources of entertainment…
Nightclubs, restaurants and chain cafés have begun to sprout along the main road. Yet, for many of the local villagers, they still rely heavily on water buffalos and manual labour to plow fields and fires to cook their dinners in the far-off mountainside.
For those that are seeking a truer experience of Sapa’s ethnic minority’s way of life, it is best to find a proper Homestay. Plentiful in the region, these hostel-like accommodations are often local families offering their homes to weary travellers.
But for those seeking luxury, you can rest assured (quite literally) that 4 to 5-star hotels have been popping up in recent years. Although they are still a rare commodity for now.
One of the more luxurious options is the Aira Boutique Hotel & Spa, which has staked a prime view on the hills overlooking the surrounding Hoang Lien Son mountains and is only an 8-minute walk to the city centre.
The clean and spacious rooms are decorated in a mix of traditional Asian wooden furniture as well as modern Vietnamese and Hmong art.
Rooms with a fireplace and marble bathrooms are also available.
Gracious staff and modern amenities are all here, WIFI, an outdoor swimming pool, vegan and gluten-free breakfast options are all grand, but the greatest selling point for me was the grand view from the suite balcony.
A king size bed with a balcony was an average of just under 2 million VND ($85USD) a night (breakfast included) on Agoda.com. A steep price considering how inexpensive the many other hotel options are in Sapa.
But with that being said, such luxury is still somewhat rare in Sapa, and a room such as this in Hanoi or Saigon would be at least 3x as expensive.
Although the balcony does not open to a sweeping panoramic view of the valley and rice fields (you still see the entrance and parking lot below) the distant views are still plenty epic, especially as the fog rolls in during the evening.
If you are looking for relaxing, carefree stay in Sapa or perhaps the days of sleeping on straw beds at a homestay is no longer agreeable, I highly recommend the Aira Boutique Hotel as a comfortable option. It is, however not an authentic experience of those seeking more traditional Sapa offerings, but then again…what in Sapa is authentic nowadays anyway?
Address: 30 Hoàng Liên, TT. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Lào Cai
Phone: 0214 3772 268