Sea Pearl Hotel in Catba
Let this be a lesson learned (or re-learned): Money is not always an indicator of quality. Unfortunately, Cat Ba isn’t exactly an island like you might think. While the bay is pretty, the island town is not. It could be, but for now it seems more forgotten than a place that receives a ton of tourists a year. I remember trying to find downtown only to be told I was in downtown. Anyhow, I wasn’t too surprised, then, by how unimpressed I was by Sea Pearl Hotel. It wasn’t bad, but it is definitely last place in my Vietnam hotel experiences, and that’s a distant last place.
If I could sum up my experience it was just bleh. Right? Not horrible, no cockroaches popping up or plumbing problems, but it was a far cry from luxurious or even nice. It just was. For $40/night (which was actually a deal) compared to the $10-$20 a night I spent elsewhere, that’s just not going to cut it. I will say for the hotel and island, I was there in February, which is their off season, but I can’t imagine it improving much with more people. It’d just be more crowded. Save your money and stay elsewhere (I really wanted to try the Cat Ba Sandy Beach Resort, so if you get to try that, let me know!) especially in the off season. Otherwise you’ll get a dead hotel (the lights seemed off half the time) without nearly any of the services normally offered, and lackluster hosts.
The beds were okay. In our room we had a double bed and a single bed. The single bed was actually sunken in whenever you sat up the wrong way. They were comfortable enough, and the sheets were clean enough. They just seemed kind of old. Like no matter how many times they were washed, they weren’t going to feel fresh ever again.
The bathroom was also okay. It’s a shower stall, a toilet, and a sink area. Be careful with the door; we struggled opening and closing it. Michelle was stuck in there for a second if I remember correctly. Also the shower gets cold really quickly, so prepare to be cold for a bit while it heats back up. I heard this was generally an issue in Vietnam, so I wouldn’t blame it on the hotel. However, I will say not a single shower I took there was relaxing… And since it was February, it was actually quite cold out.
There is an AC/Heating Unit in the room, and we had to get a guy to come change it to heating for us. There was a TV, towels, toiletries, snacks for purchase, and WI-FI, though even that was spotty. They did have a really nice breakfast area. We went up to the breakfast floor and had a menu to order from. My last day or two they actually brought out a buffet.
What host? No seriously. I don’t know who the main host was because sometimes no one was even at the desk. Furthermore, no one actually helped us with anything. Michelle talked to a woman in Vietnamese who was helpful. However most of our interactions were with male hosts who seemed bored, were off chatting with friends, and generally, WHOLLY unhelpful. I had to call twice to figure out how to get more toilet paper. There’s a giant sign outside of Sea Pearl Hotel with Halong Bay tours and the likes, and when I asked the guy about it, he just shrugged… If you’ve read any of my other reviews, the host usually makes or breaks it for me, and this definitely did nothing to repair my opinion of the whole hotel.
Its location was perfect. It was right where HoangLongAsia dropped us off, a few steps away from a tour office, and the view of the harbor was lovely. I will say this, though. If your hotel is empty enough that you’re not serving the buffet breakfast, but rather breakfast to order, you really couldn’t put us in one of the many rooms that faced the harbor? Instead we were staring at some buildings….
$40/night (I believe it’s much higher normally, though).
WHERE TO BOOK SEA PEARL HOTEL
for more vietnam travel
I’ve been able to explore a lot of this country, so here are all my other guides:
- 50 Vietnam Travel Tips
- How to Plan a Trip to Vietnam
- 22 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Vietnam
- How to Plan the Ultimate Leaving Vietnam Trip
- The Best Things to Do in Hanoi
- Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to Get There
- A Day Cruise Along Halong Bay
- Mu Cang Chai Travel Tips
- A Secluded Sapa Itinerary
- Hiking & Herbal Baths with the Red Dzao in Sapa
- Historical Things to Do in Hue: Ultimate Guide
- Hue in One Day: A Speedy Itinerary
- Azerai La Residence Hue Review: A Luxury Stay
- Marble Mountains in Da Nang
- A Semi-Relaxing Phong Nha Travel Itinerary
- Quirkiest Things to Do in Dalat
- How to Visit Yok Don National Park
- Top Things to Do in Hoi An
- How to Spend 3 Days in Hoi An
- Hoi An Tailors: Tips for What to Get Made
- The Vietage: A Luxury Train in Vietnam
- Anantara Quy Nhon Villas: A Luxury Review
- Best Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City: A Bucket List
- Coolest Things to Do in District 1, HCMC
- A Guide to District 5 & Cho Lon, HCMC
- Hem 15B Le Than Thon: Guide to Little Japan Saigon
- What to Do in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet
- Anantara Mui Ne: Best Resort for a Girls’ Getaway
- Mekong Delta Day Trip: What to Expect
- A Guide to Vinh Long in the Mekong
- Con Dao: An Island Travel Guide
- Azerai Can Tho: A Luxury Stay in the Mekong
- Odys Boutique Hotel Review: A Chic Mid-Range Stay in HCMC
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Interesting review on the hotel. You’re right that money is not always an indication of quality. It’s too bad that this was your least favourite place, thanks for sharing your experience!
Eden | Mint Notion
Right? We were looking to treat ourselves a little, and one of the reasons we chose the Sea Pearl was because they had spa services. Low and behold, we discovered the spa services were closed for the season… Ah well, lesson learned! At least it was just a bleh experience instead of a nightmare!