Looking for a cool place to stay? Check into See You at Lily’s in Hanoi Vietnam, a den of creativity with an in-house tourism agency service.
“When you are lost in the world, travel! You will find a place and there your soul will be.”
As I made my way through the rowdy labyrinth that is Hanoi’s Old Quarter, escape from the constant barrage of noise felt futile. Then, I turned onto Ngõ Huyện Street and the commotion vanished. Save for a glass door scribbled with doodles, See You At Lily’s (16 Ngõ Huyện Street, Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam) does little to draw attention to the average bypasser. But that’s what makes this young and budding hostel the haven to backpackers that it is. What began as a hotel quickly morphed into a hostel and now has been operating as a backpacker’s retreat for 14 consecutive months, welcoming guests with a chill, friendly, and bohemian atmosphere.
Just a heads up: This is not a party hostel. This is a budget travel hostel that promises tranquility and comfort and is open to all ages. From exceptional travel assistance (in affiliation with the pre-existing ‘Lily’s Travel Agency‘) to an even more exceptional staff who are on-duty 24/7, chances are you won’t find anything that makes you feel more at home than ‘See You At Lily’s.’
- Free breakfast a la carte for all guests
- Towels and security lockers available upon request (dorms only)
- Toiletries in all private rooms — Dorm room guests, bring your own soap/shampoo/conditioner!
- Towels and complimentary tea/coffee/water in all private rooms
- Wheelchair friendly (there is an elevator)
- Laundry: 23,000 VND per kg and will only be weighed AFTER it’s been washed
- Tours/Travel Services: Offering help to places such as Halong Bay, Sapa, Ninh Binh, Mai Chau, Ha Giang. You can also book train, bus, and flight tickets directly at reception. Also will arrange motorbike rentals.
The five-floor property at max can host a total of 46 people. The types of rooms available are:
-  Eight-bed mixed dorms,
-  Six-bed female dorm
-  Double balcony rooms
-  Family rooms (with one double and a twin)
-  Twin room
-  double bedroom (can sleep four people)
The private rooms come with a private bathroom fully stocked with towels and toiletries such toothbrushes and combs. Dorm room guests are advised to bring toiletries such as soap/shampoo/conditioner. All dorms have a shared bathroom. There are also shoe shelves, bag racks, lockers for a valuables (you must put a deposit on the key,) and every bunk is equipped with personal outlets in each dormitory.
Availability: Walk-ins are accepted but it varies depending on season. As it grows in popularity, rooms are quicker to get booked so act fast!
NOTE FOR FAMILIES TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN
While it is welcome to all ages, See You At Lily’s is more of a backpacker haunt. A general rule is that children are not accepted in dormitories because a) it wouldn’t be fair to the children and b) to the other guests. Luckily, there are family rooms! Please email the hostel in advance if you are bringing children. No guests under the age of 16 are allowed in the hostel without a guardian.
Looking for clinical white walls? You won’t find it here. Almost every wall is decorated in the handiwork of artists from all over the world, with some left bare only because the right artist has yet to come along. The kitchen walls are painted black and scribbled from ceiling to floor with inspiring quotes like the one that began this post. With a soft spot for creative types, See You At Lily’s team is deeply proud of their fair trade relationships with creatives. Upon entry, you’ll be greeted by a common room lined with beanbags and amorphous sofas draped in tapestries. The walls are vibrant and fun and full of good energy. I immediately LOVED the common area because of the technicolor lion artwork (GO LEOS!) If you are curious about what the art means, ask hostel cofounder Stu to give you an art tour. He knows the backstory and artist of EVERY mural.
A handful of See You At Lily’s murals
Breakfast comes included with every room and is served from 7:15 to 9:15 a.m. every day. You may order one item off the menu, which features a select number of predominantly Western-style offerings. Choose between tea, water, or coffee to get your morning started. The menu is constantly rotated depending on seasonal availability of ingredients. The kitchen closes for the rest of the day and is off-limit to guests unless you need a drink. But there is always fruit lying around and at the disposal of any hungry guest.
Cofounded by friends Stu, Rezma, and Lily, the trio of entrepreneurs owe their success to their complete, well-rounded approach to running a business. When the hostel was first founded, Rezma managed marketing while Stu focused on the business side of organizing rooms and running the booking systems. Lily, a travel agent by trade, handled all Vietnamese-related affairs. Just recently, another Vietnamese team member by the name of Van has come aboard in the abcense of Rezma who has left Hanoi for her homeland of Great Britain. Thank you to Willful and Wildhearted for the profile picture of the founders.
We were able to speak with one of the founders, Stu, who first came to Hanoi four years ago to teach English. He left after a five month stint only to be called back to Hanoi four years later as he yearned for a home he once knew. He’s been here for the past twenty months ensuring that the operations smoothly. You can see him almost everyday at the reception, mapping out a plan-of-attack for those interested in the allures of Halong Bay.
AN INTERVIEW WITH STU, COFOUNDER OF “SEE YOU AT LILY’S”
Q: How did you come up with the name ‘See You At Lily’s?
A: In our pursuit to trying to be different, we didn’t want just a run-of-the-mill name, (i.e. Lily’s Hostel, Stu’s Hostel). Because Lily’s Travel is well-known in Hanoi already, we piggybacked off of its success. Online, it’s nice to be able to write ‘See You at Lily’s’ on everything. We actually have quite a lot of guests who choose it purely because their name is Lily, which is really sweet. We had a Canadian couple who came with a young daughter named Lily and all she wanted to do was meet Lily. (awwwwww!)
Q: Your favorite thing about Lily’s?
A: The thing that sets us apart most is our staff. I just love the people I work with.
Q: Is there a tour that you recommend?
A: Every traveler should to Sapa or Halong Bay. It all depends on the person’s interest, for example, would you like to be on a boat and have things already mapped for you to do or would you like to be out trekking? All of our tours are customized to each guest, reflecting a working partnership between the staff and the guest. It’s about sitting down and really taking time to find out the person’s needs.
Q: Favorite mural?
A: An Indonesian girl named Cherry created a mural of a hummingbird with a gold background and incorporated our name into the painting.
Q: Favorite quote on the graffiti wall?
“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
Half of them I don’t know because they’re in different languages but it’s great when people come in and translate it for us.
Q: Things you’re looking forward to in the upcoming year?
A: We can’t wait for more artists to come fill in the blank walls. I’m also looking to do an online photo competition. We’ll be asking individuals to submit a collection of three photos (doesn’t have to be Vietnam necessarily) and the top three of the collections will be hung up in the rooms. The winners will each receive a free night stay that they can use when rolling through Hanoi or donate to a friend. We just want different perspectives of the world. Hopefully, the competition produces some great photography. We’re also looking to organize a fundraiser for a local charity sometime this spring.
Q: Things to do in Hanoi?
Visit Bia Hoi Corner and and eat Pho Ga, chicken pho. It’s really good. For a complete guide to Hanoi, click here.
Check-In: 2 PM/Check-out: 12 PM (you may email them for an early check-in). Two days notice in advance for free cancellation. Credit card/cash payment accepted upon arrival.
Private rooms starting from $21 per night. Dormitories starting at $5 per night. BOOK HERE.
Visit the See You at Lily’s Facebook page as well See You At Lily’s on TripAdvisor for more firsthand reviews.
DISCLAIMER: I was a guest of See You at Lily’s, but all opinions and photos, as always, are my own.
Give me a shout-out on Pinterest pretty please?
This hostel is adorable! I hate how hostels get a bad rap, I am glad to see more people showing how awesome and nice hostels can be! Next time we are in Hanoi I know where we will be staying. Also, I am in love with all the graphics you did for this post!
Ricci - wheninmyjourneys
The place looked very cozy. I think the the art decors were a good idea not just to accentuate the walls but to give exposure and to showcase the artist’s works.
Izzy, you are a queen of good wording and storytelling! I really loved the quote in Spanish – I even shared it with some Spanish-speaking friends.
As regards the hostel – not only it does look stupendous but also I really love how they have created the name. That’s great branding!
Looks like an awesome hostel. I love staying in hostels and three of my European trips I chose hostels to hotels! The murals are awesome. One of the hostel I stayed in had a wall where we could write our wishes. That post is coming up soon in my blog. 🙂
the hostel looks so amazing….liked the concept of graffiti wall and that mural painting is such a great piece of art. Moreover the food served looks delicious too which is very important from my point
Kate Carter Hickey
That’s such a beautiful hostel! Always nice to see them brand new. The private rooms totally look like a hotel, too! I love it when hostels give you a proper head’s up as to what they provide and what to bring. That free breakfast looks bomb!
Looks like a cool hostel. I have been planning to go to Hanoi, will keep this in mind. Strong wi-fi and cleanliness is something I look forward to.
Sandy N Vyjay
The opening quote was very true and what followed later amazed me. The private rooms and dorms exceeded my expectations. Even the hostels seemed luxurious and not the mainstream stinky and messy sort. See you at Lily’s!
This looks like an awesome joint to stay at! I’ll definitely stay here whenever I finally make it to Hanoi, and I’ll let them know you sent me 😉
I second what Sandy said above — the private room definitely exceeds my expectations for a hostel! I’ll still do dorm rooms from time to time, but I definitely prefer private rooms now. I still like the hostel vibe, but I need my own space to withdraw to. Comes with age, I guess 😛 I also am attracted to creative havens such as See You At Lily’s and places where I can relax. This appears to check all of the boxes.
Thanks for the solid recommendation!
Seems like a great place to stay. What always impresses me is places that have family rooms and this place does.
What a cool place to stay! It looks so clean and welcoming, and the breakfast looks delicious too. Will definitely keep it in mind for our next trip to Hanoi!
Hostels are my preferred way to stay when traveling. A luxurious hotel is nice, but not when you’re trying to stretch your days on the road. This place looks great! And the price seems really reasonable. What a great find!
This place looks amazing! I love a hostel that has vibe and personality, but I’m always wary of it being too loud and party orientated. This is really great that it promotes the peaceful and relaxing side of travel, but still budget friendly! And French toast is the way to my heart…. <3
Sounds like a perfect hostel to my taste. Tranquility is always welcome for me on the vacations. And I second what some others said here – the private rooms look nothing less than perfect hotel rooms.
Hey, this sounds like a nice clean place for families…I definitely would want my kid to try this one out under my supervision. Will make them realise how to travel backpacker style. Thanks for the review
Ana Rose | Roads and Pages
Hi Izzy! Your surname sounds familiar. Anyway, I haven’t been to Vietnam. We planned several times to go there but we couldn’t catch a cheap flight. I guess maybe next year, if we are fortunate enough to see a promo flight, we are going to check the hostel. 🙂
So many things to love here: the name! It’s attention-catching and it’s welcoming. It has warmth; a den of creativity – love the art works and the fact that other walls are still left to serve as the right artist’s canvas; price – even the family room is affordable.
Lily’s seems like an awesome hostel that I would totally stay in, when I visit Hanoi! I remember when I first went to Europe and experienced hostels, I was in love. When I returned to Chicago, I toyed with the idea of eventually opening up my own hostel there. I don’t know that I’m so keen on the idea anymore, but I envisioned it to be super infused with art.
This looks like a great hostel to stay! It has a nice ambiance and I do love that they offer free breakfast. That is a big plus to me as I hate how much breakfast costs! The laundry is also a great perk as many travellers bring only a certain amount of clothing.
This place looks so cute- it’s exactly the kind of hostel that I always look for! I think that hostels these days are actually just as nice and comfortable as fancy hotels. But, they’re a bit more personal and the service is generally much better and friendlier. I love all those murals, they’re so cute! I will definitely remember this place if I’m ever in Hanoi!
the quote stayed in my mind :’when last the last time that you did something for the first time ?”. I think this will be soon when i will stay in a hostel, until now i didn’t get the chance to try any but i would love to do it. This one looks amazing , so creatively made and peaceful. I would surely give it a go. `
I cannot stress how important free breakfast is! I’ve had my fair share of good and bad hostels, so I’ve learned from my mistakes and know what to look for. And I love the art work and murals displayed around the hostel.
What an AWESOME place! If there’s anything I miss about pre-motherhood, it’s that I get to stay at these kinds of places (artsy and convenient that doesn’t break the bank) without a second thought. But alas, moms tend to seek out the little conveniences of hotels that can help make their stay easier!
So I really like how you emphasized on their family friendliness. It makes me feel a little less wishful about a past knowing that there are places that have considered those with kids as well. I might try this for our next trip (fingers crossed my hubby agrees with me as well!) to visit my bff. Thank you for this post!