It’s hot. Like over 100-degrees, 90% humidity kind of hot. We’ve just stepped off a 14-hour bus ride into the sun. Exhausted and woozy, the idea of walking seems arduous. We manage to wave down a taxi to take us to Charming Homestay, where we will spend our four nights in Hoi An.
In a short time, we’ve learned the difference between a hotel and a homestay. A hotel typically has a front desk, receptionist, bath products, laundry service, a concierge desk and breakfast. If you choose a homestay, you often sacrifice some of the hotel amenities for the opportunity to stay in a Vietnamese home and interact with your host, which includes advice on what to do/see/eat/drink, etc. Charming Homestay is the first place we’ve stayed that has it all.
Not even a year old, the three rooms are located behind the main house; two at the edge of the garden, one up exposed brick stairs. Plans to add three more rooms are also in the works. After a long journey, we feel overjoyed to step through the French doors into our room. Surrounded by plants, nature and light fills the windows. Tall ceilings, a large bathroom with rainfall shower, strong air conditioner, and beautiful minimalist design feel like we had walked out of Vietnam and into an English garden apartment. Immediately, we feel relaxed.
After a lengthy nap on the cozy king bed, we wander out to the kitchen/dining area. We meet Nhi, our host, and her mother, Mrs. Thu. Their warmth and genuine hospitality is immediate. Nhi talks to us about Hoi An, her hometown pride evident as she lists out the ‘must do’s.’ We quickly become friends and, later that week, meet for an after dinner drink where we learn about growing up, living, business and dating in Vietnam.
There are some places that have it all. The breakfast, the bikes, the beautiful rooms nestled in an English garden setting, and the people, eager to share and learn, genuine in their hospitality. We will never forget our time at Charming and would recommend it to any traveler passing through Hoi An.