Choosing where to stay in Sapa as well as the best type of accommodation certainly depends on your tastes and what you plan to do. Whether you prefer city breaks in a modern hotel or would rather answer the “call of the wild” by staying in a local homestay on the edge of a far-flung mountain, there truly is something for every traveler’s budget and style.
As the name suggests, a homestay is when you share a room within the real homeowner’s house as an opportunity to stay with a local family for a small fee, usually including meals.
Anyone seeking a real and genuine Sapa travel experience within a community will definitely enjoy this unique way of learning about the lifestyle of the area, all while seeing the destination from the eyes of the family they stay with.
Sapa homestays in the city center will look more like basic guesthouses while true homestays can be found in the surrounding ethnic minority villages, such as Ta Van and Ta Phin. Expect to pay around 5 – 20 USD/person for room and board when selecting this option.
This type of accommodation can vary in size from small boutique properties with less than 30 rooms to giant convention sized hotels with over 1,000 rooms, but they usually take up less space than a resort and have less outdoor area.
Hotels will normally have services and facilities including at least one restaurant, laundry services, a 24-hour front desk/concierge, a swimming pool, spa, and exercise facilities.
Sapa city center hotels range in price from as little as 15 USD for a basic hotel with room and breakfast to 200 USD/night for a totally outfitted 5 star hotel.
The stereotypical place to go on a vacation, resorts offer the most amenities and are also much more expensive than hotels, as they offer multiple swimming pools and restaurants, kid’s clubs, fitness rooms, complimentary bicycles, spas, and perhaps shops on the property.
In areas other than Sapa, they may have sports activities like golf courses and tennis courts, too. Sapa resorts are typically spread out over a lot of land and are built in a way that guests do not need to leave the property grounds if they don’t want to.
Like hotels, they have front desk staff and a concierge service, but they will likely be pricier (at least 200 USD/night) due to everything they offer.
Historically, the term “lodge” has been used to describe properties that are outdoorsy in nature or in some way affiliated with National parks and/or natural settings. This type of accommodation is especially popular in North America as well as Europe and can be found in either mountain, desert, or forest settings.
Like hotels and resorts, lodges can also be 5-star properties with restaurants, swimming pools, and spas, however, there is much more emphasis on the adventurous activities which you can enjoy outside of the property. There is also more emphasis on a “homey” vibe rather than commercial branding, meaning there is a lodge manager and small team to take care of you while staying there.
Depending on the remoteness of the lodge and the facilities offered, the price can be just as expensive as a resort or even more expensive than a city hotel with easier access to materials and products.
This “eco-luxury resort” has been nominated as one of the top places to stay at if you care about the environment. Just a quick 45-minute drive outside of Sapa, this lodge is reminiscent of popular Scandinavian locales with private bungalows coiling around a mountain, two saltwater infinity pools overlooking the rice terraces below, traditional spa treatments, and two restaurants.
All staff are hired from the surrounding ethnic minority villages and trained in hospitality as well as the English language. While the property has many facilities as explained in a resort, it is truly more like a lodge due to its proximity to local culture and eagerness to share the surrounding areas by hiking and biking with guests who come to visit.
Topas Riverside Lodge is housed over two floors and two buildings alongside a picturesque river, only accessible by crossing a wooden suspension bridge that connects the property to quiet Nam Cang Village, a 90-minute drive away from Sapa and a 45’ drive away from Topas Ecolodge.
Topas Riverside Lodge aims to provide a unique experience to guests, allowing them to settle in to a typical Red Dzao village environment, inspired by native traditions and lifestyle, while providing a comfortable and modernized accommodation with ensuite bathrooms and a local-styled bath house.