Where to Stay in Sapa – From Eco-Lodges with Mountain Views to Village Homestays
Where to stay in Sapa in Northern Vietnam depends on what kind of trip you want. If you’re mixing it up – a trek, day trip, spa, shopping, eating – then stay in Sapa town or close to it. If your focus is the outdoors and trekking, consider a rustic homestay in a village or on the rice terraces.
When it comes to where to stay in Sapa, the sleepy mountain town up near the Chinese border in Northern Vietnam, our priority is accommodation that’s centrally located – within 500 metres of the main square and French colonial church – offering breathtaking valley or mountain views, preferably from a private balcony.
While gobsmacking valley vistas are still possible from many hotels in Sapa, getting those views could become more challenging in the years to come with all the construction currently underway, as I discovered a couple of weeks ago on my recent trip hosting our Vietnam Culinary Tour – which is why you need to get to Sapa now.
For those who enjoy a bit of pampering, it’s worth noting that as Sapa was established as a French hill station – a cool retreat from the heat – almost every hotel has ‘spa’ in its name and a wellness centre of some sort, whether it’s a professional operation with numerous massage rooms and a full menu of treatments and therapies, or simply a sauna and hot tub.
Where to Stay in Sapa – From Eco-Lodges With Views to Village Homestays on the Rice Terraces
Where to Stay in Sapa – Luxury Hotels in Sapa
Aira Boutique Sapa Hotel and Spa
Located on the edge of a hillside overlooking the Muong Hoa valley, the new Aira Boutique Sapa Hotel and Spa is one of the most luxurious hotels in Sapa, if not the most central – it’s a 10-minute walk the main square. The yellow chalet-like exterior belies a rather stylish interior with a design marked by curves, geometric shapes and patterns, and bold splashes of colour. Easily the most comfortable of Sapa’s hotels, the Aira has a sense of style not seen before in the traditional hill town. The beautifully lit rooms have parquet floors, wood panelling, and striking images of women from different ethnic communities hang on the walls. In the public spaces there are plenty of comfy sitting areas with high backed seats. The Vietnamese restaurant features two striking-looking round wood-burning fireplaces and there are more fire pits, along with sweeping valley views, at the rooftop bar. There’s also an alluring outdoor swimming pool.
30 Hoang Lien Street, Sapa, Vietnam
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Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa
Once Sapa’s only high-end hotel, the Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa, pictured above, feels like a European mountain chalet, with its roaring fireplace in the lobby, white granite features and plenty of polished timber. The rooms are spacious yet cosy, with a window seat scattered with cushions featuring local textiles and quilts on the bed. The suites are beautiful, furnished with four poster Chinese-style beds with filmy mosquito nets and textile throws, and terraces with views over Sapa town. Be careful when booking as not all rooms have mountain vistas; most look onto the central garden and then only from the public balcony, not the room itself. The Alpine lodge theme continues through to the bar with its stone walls and pool table. The breakfast buffet is expansive. Bonus: a large, indoor, heated swimming pool and spa with hot tubs with views. There a stairs down to town that bring you out across for the church and main square and if you can’t face the hike back up (then you probably shouldn’t do a trek!) there are always a few taxis parked near the square.
Hoang Dieu Street, Sapa, Vietnam
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Sapa Legend Hotel and Spa
Also feeling more like a city hotel than the chalet-like properties that comprise most of Sapa’s accommodations, the Sapa Legend Hotel and Spa is a rather grand and elegant property. The public spaces are practically sumptuous with their polished marble floors, crystal chandeliers, and fresh flower arrangements. The design is a bit of a mishmash, however, with some beautiful, contemporary, mid-century inspired chairs in the restaurant and some rooms, yet very strange sofas in the lobby that look like pool-side furniture. The spacious rooms have polished timber floors, quality bedding, more of those cool-looking chairs from the restaurant, and private balconies.
1 Thu Dau Mot Street, Sapa, Vietnam
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Where to Stay in Sapa – Boutique Hotels in Sapa
The Hill Station Boutique Hotel
The closest thing Sapa has to a boutique hotel is The Hill Station Boutique Hotel in the heart of Sapa town. Despite the fact that with just three rooms above its superb Hill Station Signature restaurant, and no facilities to speak of, it isn’t actually a hotel, but is more of a bed and breakfast. Nevertheless, it feels like one of those tiny boutique hotels you find in Munich, Zurich or Copenhagen, with its snug, light-filled, contemporary-styled rooms, decorated in a minimalist style with art on the walls and vintage touches with the retro wallpaper, glass lamps, and groovy purple rugs. The rooms are comfy, with quality bedding, and they boast floor-to-ceiling mountain and valley vistas. There are bikes for hire, but Sapa is very hilly. Having the restaurant downstairs, which in our opinion is Sapa’s best, is a bonus.
37 Fansipan Street, Sapa, Vietnam
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Where to Stay in Sapa – Bed and Breakfasts in Sapa
Sapa Garden Bed and Breakfast
The family owned and operated Sapa Garden Bed and Breakfast is special – an array of beautiful, individually decorated rooms, some with balconies, in a handsome dusky-pink villa (once the family home) and a renovated four-storey extension. With just four rooms and two family suites with two bedrooms each, the property is often booked out, so reserve ahead. There’s a cosy living area with fireplace, a quieter reading room, and there are luxuriant gardens with a gazebo, barbecue area, fish pond, and a friendly dog. Gardeners will enjoy staying in spring and summer when the grounds are in full bloom. The home-cooked Vietnamese food and generous European-style breakfasts are a real highlight. The property is a 20-30 minute walk from Sapa although taxis are also available for around US$3 each way.
102 Dien Bien Phu Road, Sapa, Vietnam
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Where to Stay in Sapa – Mid-Range Hotels in Sapa
Most of Sapa’s hotels are mid-range and budget due to the town mainly attracting hikers and backpackers until recent years. The mid-range properties are often available at budget prices, making Sapa a great value destination.
Sapa Elegance Hotel
Centrally located, just a few minutes walk up the hill from Sapa’s main square and church, the 3-star Sapa Elite Hotel is situated halfway up the road to the Victoria hotel and is a fine mid-range choice. Typical of the Alpine chalet style that’s popular in Sapa, the hotel makes use of the local stone and has small balcony with flower-filled window boxes. The renovated rooms won’t win any design awards but they are spacious, clean and comfortable. Book a room with balcony on the highest floor. There’s also a public terrace with tables and chairs, which is a lovely spot to read a book on a sunny day. Breakfast in the snug room on the ground floor is very good.
3 Hoang Dieu Street, Sapa, Vietnam
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Sapa Elite Hotel
Just a two minute-hike up past the Sapa Elegance Hotel, the Sapa Elite Hotel is another 3-star hotel offering a similar level of comfort. The large light-filled rooms are furnished with timber furniture, big beds, and ethnic minority textiles and throws. As the hotel is built on the side of the hill, some of the rooms are actually below the road level and look onto other hotels. Book a room on the top floor; the best room has a balcony with spectacular views of the main square and church. Buy a bottle of Dalat wine to sip here in the evening before you go out to dinner. The reception staff can be very helpful with organising things and booking restaurants.
12 Hoang Dieu, Sapa, Vietnam
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Where to Stay in Sapa – Eco-Lodges and Rustic Homestays
For those who don’t mind being out of Sapa and like the idea of staying in more rustic accommodation overlooking the rice terraces, Sapa has some unique sleeps, from a stylish mountain-top eco-lodge to more rustic homestays. Note that with homestays, some feel more like European-style pensiones while with others you really are staying in people’s homes. Rooms are often shared and the bed is little more than a mattress on the floor.
Beautifully designed, with one of the most spectacularly-sited infinity pools we’ve seen, overlooking a valley and rice terraces, the rustic-chic Topas Ecolodge is dramatically set on the top of a mountain in Hoang Lien National Park. Twenty-five stylish bungalows, built from the local white granite stone from Hoang Lien Mountains, are scattered around a hilltop. Each bungalow has terracotta tiles and bare stone walls, comfy beds with mosquito nets, handmade wooden chairs, and verandas with breathtaking views of the mountain peaks and rice fields. The main buildings, set across two traditional Tay stilt houses, moved piece by piece from their original site and reassembled at the lodge, are home to a restaurant serving Vietnamese food, a bar, and lounge with fireplace library. While some guests come simply to relax (note that the spa offers traditional treatments, such as a Red Dao herbal bath), there are plenty of activities, including guided tours and treks, mountain biking, and cooking classes. Some 95% of staff members are from local ethnic minorities and the eco-lodge prides itself on its sustainable practices that ensure a minimum impact on the local environment. The swimming pool is a saltwater pool and it’s heated. The lodge is a 45-minute drive from Sapa, however, there are two free shuttle buses daily to Sapa, and the hotel can arrange transfers from Sapa and Hanoi.
18kms from Sapa in Hoang Lien National Park
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The Eco Palms House
The rustic Eco Palms House is probably the most idiosyncratic of all the quirky accommodation in Sapa and has one of the most breathtaking locations. For those seeking privacy, there are bungalows made of mud, timber and brick with a thatched roof and veranda offering magic views of the rice fields and mountains. They also have what’s probably the most unique dormitory around, with a similar style of decor, in a traditional long house.
Lao Chai Village, Sapa, Vietnam
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Of the dozens of homestays with local families in and around Sapa, Sali House in Ta Van Village is one of the most popular with travellers. It’s basic but has a bohemian vibe with batik wall hangings, tablecloths and bedspreads, a communal kitchen, and shared bathrooms. The views of the rice terraces are what most people are here for.
Ta Van Day 1, Ta Van Village, Sapa, Vietnam
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Have you been to Sapa? What’s your pick when it comes to where to stay in Sapa? Please feel free to share your tips in the comments below.
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