Last night we spent New Years Eve at a hotel called the Ha Van. It is owned by friends of ours. There is a great rooftop restaurant and bar he has finished renovating, and it is the perfect spot to spend a relaxing evening. They set up an all you can eat BBQ with some great food. We spent most of the evening enjoying the hospitality of Nicolas, and his wife Yen. We also had the pleasure of conversing with his mother Isabelle, a fire pit of a woman. The staff were cheerful and the atmosphere great. I highly recommend the Ha Van hotel to anybody who wishes a good, clean, and affordable place in NhaTrang. It is in the heart of the tourist area and within walking distance of anything you would wish to do. I will take ideas and examples from them to help model my hotel. I have stayed there myself. Yesterday, I entered a light fixture store looking for a motion detector. The shopkeeper and his family were sitting on the floor eating lunch. As I entered, A mother was jokingly telling her daughter what to say to me in English. They had no idea I could understand them. The girl asked me “what do you want to buy” . I said nothing but continued to look at the light fixtures on display. The mother made some comment I did not quite catch, and the Father said maybe I was shopping for girls. I looked again at the family sitting and eating. There were 4 girls, one boy, and a mother and father. To their utter amazement, I replied in Vietnamese that I was not shopping for a girl but I was wanted to buy a light I did not know how to say in Viet. After explaining to him I was married and even though his wife’s sister was very beautiful, but I only wanted one wife, I was told they did not sell what I was looking for. They even gave me the Vietnamese name, but I forgot already. Anyway….. on with the past The staff at the hotel have done nothing! The receptionist just sits on her laptop all day chatting with people on Yahoo messenger. The cleaning lady? Well, I guess she changes the sheets, and maybe some very basic cleanup. There are tire tracks in the lobby…. CLEAN THEM! The storage rooms are chaos, The bathrooms are all rusted and stained, the paint was just slopped on everywhere so it looked like birds had pooped on everything. The paint on the staircase is worn out. All of the faucets, mirrors, and grouting in the bathrooms are damaged, rusted, or moldy. The pillow cases and sheets have holes. Climbing up to the fifth floor is a hazard. Electrical cords are everywhere, being used to dry wet laundry. I have seen enough…. I talk with Mrs. Owee and we agree that unless there are some compromises made, we just could not take over the place. I sat in the lobby one day to do my blog and watched the goings on. Sure enough, a few good looking gals left by themselves maybe only to return another day. Motorcycles would drive into the lobby and bang into the new paint leaving a new rub mark on the wall. We arranged a meeting with the building owner and said point blank what our concerns were and that she would have to spend money to fix the building. We would look after the painting and decorating, but there was no way we would pay for all the mirrors, faucets, or repair of moldy bathrooms. We re-inspected the rooms and saw the beds were OK. The furniture was dated, but easily repaired. All of the bathroom doors have to be replaced, but that is not our responsibility. We will have replaced, but she will be billed. After this second inspection I came to the realization of how cheap labor is here and revised my opinion of how bad the place was. With enough cheap labor, I can repaint, recaulk, retile, and patch up everything at a reasonable cost. Replacing furniture though, may cost a few bucks, but at least we will retain ownership of those items. The deal is back on. We have discovered another problem with the building that must be addressed, a damaged sewer line that causes a bit of a stink. If this one final obstacle is overcome, renovations will start on Jan 3rd. We will let the current people continue to operate it as a short term hotel, but will not allow any of the renovated rooms be used for that purpose. Once the hotel is finished, it is our hope that it will be acceptable to a westerner’s eye. I will not rent a room that I would not want to stay myself. I will also end the short term business. I do not need to be hassled and shook down by the police to look the other way. If any of my customers are interested in that kind of action, I will give them the heads up and advice, but there will be limits as to what will be allowed in my place. No by the hour rooms….No more parking in the lobby. The premises will be clean, no cockroaches. (lizards allowed) This was the past and the plan. I will follow up with two other blogs as time goes on. One about the Hotel itself, where it is, and what it is and what it is near, the other will be The present. A snapshot of the finished and running Hotel. I may add a thing or two along the way.