Today at 11 pm we are locking our doors and the Tide Hotel as it currently exists will be no more. Mai and I have spent 3 years offering travelers the opportunity to experience real Vietnam away from all the lights, chaos, and artificial air of the backpack or tourist areas. It has been an amazing journey and has changed our lives forever. Mai and I have made many friends and learned many things. Following is a brief recap of the past 3 years.
When Mai and I decided to retire to Vietnam, the plan was for me to do some IT work and relax but Mai was not done with working. We knew the owner of this building and she was more than delighted to have us take it over. Business owners and friends thought we were doomed to fail
as in their minds, nobody wanted to be away from the tourist areas. I thought differently and thought there would be a small percentage of tourists that would want to escape the chaos, crime, and inflated prices. We took over the building and renovated it to western standards not knowing the outcome. In the beginning, we were shocked to discover it was a “Boom Boom” hotel with only hourly guests. The transition from this to a viable hotel was a series of adventures having to deal with police, the tax department and other government agencies. We refused to contribute to any corrupt official and suffered the initial fines and harassment until we gained their respect (after all, many foreigners here feed and create the corruption when they need not to.) Luckily, I have been involved with Asian culture for many many years and was able to deal with a lot of situations that might have had another foreigner quit. It took 6 month or so to get rid of the child predators using Facebook to find their victims, the Philippine card scammers who used our rooms to cheat and intimidate foreigners out of their money, and gang bangers that would simply walk in and try to take over. To deal with the situation I hired local mafia, prostitutes, police, and other connected people to educate me in how everything worked….. in the light and in the dark. Unknowing to me is that this process was creating what Owee58 is today.
The customers did come. Only a few in the beginning and then after about 10 months the growth became rapid. This blog and the services offered by our hotel grew with it creating Owee the Hotelier, the Highland Cruiser taking people to places even the local easyriders do not go, and a partner with V’Explore travel offering travel services throughout all Asia. I also became a tour designer, guide, and marketer. (So much for my IT retirement idea) The Tide and our services became so in demand that Mai and I have not had a day off together for almost the full 3 years. The Tide Hotel became one of the most popular hotels on Trip Advisor and other media for Nha Trang and there was no looking back. For years I also offered my knowledge on the Trip Advisor forums with the intent of helping people get real information and not the often misguided or mistaken advice from tourists that only know the backpack areas. Sadly, that too might be at an end but………….all of these past and current events is causing Mai and I to grow even further. Next week Mai and I are headed to my favorite homestay in the Mekong where I and 2 partners will be looking at purchasing our first Sampan boat to continue and expand our off the beaten track adventures….. stay tuned for how that turns out.
Rest in Peace Tide Hotel, but be proud of your offspring……….an Idea that has come into reality
The RIPTide Nha Trang Homestay
We have modified our home only a few blocks from our current location into accommodation that will be the first of its kind in Vietnam (as far as we know). The building is somewhat Spanish in design with the efficiency of a cruise ship. The building is surrounded by terraces, have 3 levels of decks, and a front and rear yard that is accessible to all making it easy to find privacy if desired.
We do not intend to have a reception or walk in traffic. If a person wants to stay, it will be a pre arranged package. Perhaps it is best if I give an example…….. A family wants to come to Nha Trang for 4 days. The husband wants to become a certified Scuba Diver, but his wife and daughter are more interested in cooking and nature. They would inform me of their desire and I would build an all inclusive package for them which would include vehicle transfers, Scuba certification, cooking classes, a countryside tour and comfortable
accommodation all provided by the Riptide assuring quality with no scams or rip offs. Every stay will be custom built to a customer’s desire. All guests will have their own keys to come and go as they please. But perhaps best of all…….. We still will offer accommodation in “Real Vietnam” with a short ride to the tourist area.
So here we are some years after moving here…. What a hoot!!