Sapa may not be the remote hilltop idyll it was when the French arrived in Vietnam in the mid-19th century, but beyond the ever-expanding ramshackle town centre, the terraced rice paddies and ancient villages remain. Whether you’re here to hike through the Muong Hoa Valley or visit local hill tribes, you’ll need a base for all that adventuring.
There’s definitely a hotel for every type of traveller, hitting everything from five-star luxury to a hilltop ecolodge. With such an abundance of places to stay, we’ve picked out the ones in Sapa that have consistently satisfied their guests, bookable on Culture Trip.
Sapa Clay House is an innovative example of when traditional ethnic housing combines with modern architecture – producing a unique, environmentally friendly structure. This mountain retreat ticks every box – clean and comfortable with good food, an excellent location and a fantastic team. The staff even personalise each booking, giving you little trinkets and quotes to start your day. Long- and short-term rentals are possible.
Topas Ecolodge is an eco-friendly hotel situated atop a majestic hill with breathtaking views on all sides. In an area that is historically known for its non-sustainable business practices, the Topas Ecolodge is one of the only sustainable and well-intentioned establishments in the region. Not only do they keep electricity usage to a minimum, use leftover food to feed livestock and recycle and reuse old materials, the hotel also provides employment and education opportunities for the ethnic minorities in the region. There are 41 bungalows available, all furnished up to a four-star standard – booking in advance is recommended.
Pao’s is nestled on the side of a hill, overlooking the spectacular Muong Hoa Valley – a mountain range painted with rice terraces and dotted with tribal villages. All 223 rooms here evoke the cultural identity of Sapa; book a suite for wall-to-wall windows and balconies. The spa is no less spectacular, home to a heated pool overlooking forested peaks through a full-wall window.
While the huge marble entrance and gently curving facade might not scream boutique, Sapa Highland has rooms that look more like a cosy, mountain lodge than a large resort. Large windows framing mountain views add to the away-from-it-all vibe, while tours into the local hill villages and markets will help you embrace a more tranquil style of living.
Victoria Sapa wows with traditionally styled rooms, excellent on-site dining and friendly hospitality. The spa occupies two floors and offers a range of relaxation packages, perfect after a hard day of trekking through the surrounding verdant mountains. Other services here range from traveller-friendly transportation and tours, to family-friendly babysitting and the Victoria Kids’ Club.
A new addition to the ever-growing list of accommodation choices in Sapa, the Sapa Jade Hill Resort is a unique option that combines all the premium qualities of a four-star resort with going the extra mile. What’s special about this resort is that every villa has a chimney, and you are handed a bag of sweet potatoes to grill. The location, despite being a 20-minute walk from town, is also a plus and you’re able to get away from the endless construction. The views of the countryside from the villas are pure and undisturbed.
Opened in September 2017, Eden Boutique Hotel has 25 spacious rooms that are tastefully decorated, containing all your wanted amenities and more such as a mini-bar, safety deposit box and even bathrobes. Ideally situated on the way to Cat Cat village, it is a great central base from which to explore the rest of the town. Worth the price you pay, Eden makes for a comfortable place to stay, especially for recovering after a rainy-day trek on muddy routes.
Offering fantastic value for money, and just the right distance from the busy town centre, Aira Boutique is a stylish hotel designed with comfort in mind. Atmospheric rooms come in moody browns with dark wood parquet flooring; some even have views of the Fansipan mountain and Muong Hoa Valley. To further connect with the locale, head to the spa where local rituals and indigenous ingredients combine for a sumptuous afternoon that edges towards the cultural.
Due to unfavorable reviews of a hotel with a similar name, the Sapa Paradise View Hotel is now called Sapa Horizon Hotel. Rooms are newly renovated and have everything you need, but it is the team that makes your stay that much better. A bottle of wine, tea, juice, sweet cakes, even a sandwich for the bus back to Hanoi – you will receive many complimentary treats during your stay. Breakfast here is impressive with a huge spread for the buffet, and there’s even a menu of eggs, pancakes, sausages and phở cooked to order. The fantastic all-round experience will leave you wishing every hotel stay going forward will be personalised like this.
Emma Sparks contributed additional reporting to this article.