Good stay in the National Park, literally at the foot of the trekking trail. A really calm location, if you don't mind the frogs that live in the artificial lake (which is not the same as a swimming pool, keep in mind) and some ants. You can experience a nice swim in its cool waters after a trek, surrounded by a gorgeous scenery.
The staff is nice and helpful, the food good.
Never had a night in my whole journey at a place where the review at Google or TripAdvisor was that far away from reality.
To make it clear I would not expect a high class hotel room at that place, for sure not!
The hootches are that simple and of a poor construction, no window fits in the outer wall. Each window had gaps between the frame and the wall mounting. So there's always the option that you have little critters in the room and as you are in the middle of the jungle it's totally clear that there are a lot of bugs and critters.
But at least you what to have the impression that they stay outside when the windows are closed.
Bathroom has no separate shower cabin, it's just within the bathroom next to the toilet. So the whole floor and toilet is wet after one had a shower. In addition you will have only one towel per person, not even one for your hands on the sink.
The whole place is wet and damp as the humidity is getting in everything. Therefore the bed had a bit of a smell and you had the impression that the blankets are wet. But don't get me wrong ....think it is impossible to get the things dry out there.
Unfortunately the staff speaks very little English or even no English.
Nevertheless the staff was very friendly and helpful.
Dinning is probably a bit special portions are small and ordering is difficult as the staff speaks no English. Prices are a bit to high for the level of dinning. Breakfast is very slim on options and is more rudimentary.
But you have no other options at the place!
The suppose to be lake is actually only a concrete pool is with no water in it.
Only nice thing is you are close to the viewing point and really in the middle of nowhere.
The farmstay is in the national park, which is outside of Cat Ba town. This is exactly what we were looking for coming from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. There's a lot of space on the property and it was nice to have cocktails here, then dinner there, and play some pool later in the evening. Also, the staff at Hoi Lake Farmstay were incredibly helpful!! We arrived in Cat Ba without much of a plan, and the staff were able to book us a private boat tour, bus back to Hanoi, and suggest some local hikes (definitely recommend the lookout hike near the farmstay). The room itself was fine, no problems, and everything worked as needed. Last but not least, the complimentary breakfast was amazing!!! By far the best complimentary breakfast I've had, with eggs, sausage, fruit, mushrooms, and a few sweet things too. A great start before our boat tour. I definitely recommend this place to get away from the noise and enjoy nature!
We opted to stay at Hoi Lake Farmstay after spending a day on a boat out of the city on the southern tip of the island. No regrets at all. It was a cool experience and one of the highlights of our trip. Our group consisted of three mid-30s friends from the United States and we visited in early March, 2018.
Expecting uncrowded roads, we rented scooters to get to the farmstay from the city, and that worked out great. It was way better than dealing with the insanity in the larger cities. We had a little trouble finding the place, but once we realized you had to go INTO the national park, we got right to it.
The staff greeted us by name as we rolled up and someone showed us to our room, then asked if we'd like to eat, and what we'd like for dinner. We said we were happy to eat whatever they recommended, and were suggested to try the hot pot. We were joined at dinner by one other couple staying on the property, and by the staff, for a family style affair. It was very cool. It was nice to spend some time with locals and really learn about their lives, and honestly it was nice to have someone show us the right way to tackle a hot pot.
We then had a few more beers and played a game of pool before retiring to our three-person suite.
The bed was very hard, though every bed we had in the northern half of the country was as hard or harder, so that's not something I can blame Hoi Lake for, but rather just a cultural difference compared to the US.
We woke up in the morning, had a nice but fairly basic breakfast and went for a good hike into the national park, out of a trailhead in the back of the property. It was a very cool trail with great views in the few places where the trail poked out of the jungle on the top of several nearby peaks. We got pretty sweaty, but it wasn't an overly difficult hike.
The property is still a work in progress. The rooms are done and in good shape, and the kitchen and dining room area is nice and finished, as well. We were told they'll be constructing an office/reception desk building next.
Anyway, we enjoyed it. Nice place. Super nice, friendly and professional staff. The best days are always away from the crowds and in the places where you feel you can connect with the people who live wherever you're visiting. We definitely got that experience at Hoi Lake Farmstay.