Mr. Xe, best tailor in Hoi an

Last time I was in Hoi an, two and a half years ago I got a bunch of clothes made; a couple of suits, a bunch of shirts, some pyjamas and a jacket. Most of it turned out good. I went to 5 different tailors that time. And I did in fact look for most of them this time too, but several of them had changed staff or disappeared.

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Anyway, Mr. Xe is still there, and despite the 2.5 years one of the women there recognised me from last time. This time, I was taking the Xe slogan, “Imagination is the only limit” literally. I was after a couple of special things — a powder blue suit and a suit like Dave Graney’s.

I got on the back of Mr. Xe’s motorbike and we rode all over town looking for a place with powder blue suit material but it was nowhere to be found. Seems it’s a little more rare than I thought. I didn’t see anything approaching pastels either – I guess the eighties really are over.

However, the Graney suit was a go. The funny thing was that I only took a B&W photocopy of this:

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and yet Mr. Xe recommended the same colour.

Here I am getting fitted for it. I wanted it a little loose-fitting, which is exactly how it came out. There are a whole load of shoe shops in Hoi an too but I didn’t get time to try and find a pair that would’ve really matched the suit. I found a some chocolate-brown Vans that work okay, back here in Korea. Together with a couple of shirts I had made by Mr.Xe it works really well. I wore it last a saturday and I felt like, “I’m off to the races!”.

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I also ended up getting another suit, kind of a working blue colour made and one white shirt. I also got a black version of my safari suit to complement the white one I have. Plus Mr Xe threw in a pair of black pin-stripe trousers.

J-e also got a bidness suit which looks very nice. Here she is getting measured for it. A good shot of the loads of different materials they have in the shop.

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Anyway this review’t all over the place but mostly I just wanted to say that anyone who is heading to Hoi an and looking for a good tailor would do well to visit Mr.Xe’s shop. They have reasonable, standard prices so you don’t need to haggle. They have a lot of different material to choose from, and will get something if they don’t have it.

When they do the first fitting, or even the final one, if there is something that you want changed they listen and have no problem with getting it adjusted. They’re not hungry for the $$$ so they won’t e suggesting that you get this extra, or that extra.

Lastly, I am a rube when it comes to this stuff, and Mr.Xe is a cat-like clothes-making genius who really likes what he does. He wants to see you in slick looking clothing at the end, so you’re going to end up with something good.

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Just for reference’s sake, Mr.Xe can be contacted at nguyen_van_xe  at  yahoo  .com     or tel. 0510 3910388.

Review: Boutique Hotel, Hanoi

This is a good one. I stayed here for two nights by myself and then once J-e came we stayed for a couple more nights. We had a room with no balcony, overlooking the back and that was $20 a night as a single, or $25 a night with two people. The room was of an okay size, had good air-conditioning and the water probably would’ve ran hot if I’d waited a bit longer. We were on the 5th floor so it may take a while to get up there, plus in August, there’s really no need for hot water.

There was a whopping huge flat screen tv in the room with cable channels. The breakfast included was kind of small but quite good. The room was cleaned well and it was surprisingly quiet. Hanoi’s a noisy city, what with all the beeping. There was wireless internet that worked pretty well most of the time. I had a little trouble with reception via the iPod on the 5th floor sometimes, but mostly okay. There’s a couple of PCs in the lobby available to use all the time.

The big thing about this hotel, and this really is a big thing, is that all the staff were friendly and honest. They helped us organize air tickets to Hoi an and a taxi to the airport. There were no hidden extras thrown onto the bill, in fact maybe because we stayed for 4 nights, but they didn’t charge for 3 or 4 drinks we got out of the fridge, and a bunch of calls I made to the g-f. I think I spoke to her on her mobile for an hour one night.

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*The Short:* Highly recommended!

Ps. Make sure you’re getting the right ‘Boutique Hotel’ because apparently a couple of others in the old quarter have painted the same phrase over their entrance. The real on is on Bat Su street.

Review: Greenfield Hotel, Hoi an

Here is another point that the wikitravel website let me down with. It said the Greenfield hotel was good but it’s not. Basically, it’s dilapidated and the staff tried to overcharge when we were checking out. Their website is highly ‘creative’ with they way they portray the hotel. The breakfast was abominable and I think one of the cleaners played with my iPod when I was out.

In their favour, they do seem to be trying to update the place, and the staff (well some of them) were a little bit friendly if you were friendly to them first. They kind of reminded me of maltreated children; their first reaction when they saw you coming was that you were going to yell at the complaining about something. I guess they get that a lot.

After I’d been there a couple of days I read <a href=””>this</a> and it’s about 90/10 bad reviews.

A couple of other things to mention are that there was no hot water and the tiles in the room we were in were loose so once water got under them, and you stood on them, like to go to the toilet for a pee, they’d make a squelching sound. I kind of dug it but I think, overwhelmingly, other people wouldn’t. The air-con (a must in August) was noisy and rather ineffective. Also my girlfriend almost drowned in the swimming pool but that’s mostly because she’s got a big head.

*The Short:* Avoid!  I heard good things about Nhi-Nhi hotel.