“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
This quote is something that has resonated with me since I saw it written on the wall of Hanoi’s lovely See You at Lily’s hostel. While this quote is certainly a fitting mantra for the past two years of my life, it’s also something the hostel’s owner 22-year-old Rezma Rahman can relate to. Rezma chose to follow a path that was once considered just a dream – certainly one aspect that makes her hostel so special.
A chance to follow her dreams
You see, Rezma decided to quit her job at BBC in London and open a hostel in the Old Quarter neighborhood of Hanoi. She conceptualized the idea one Friday evening in Thailand as she stood outside of a hostel and thought, “I want to open my own bohemian space.” She asked two friends, Lily and Stu, for their opinions regarding the idea and both decided to hop on board.
Once she arrived back home, Rezma spent 8 months working grueling long hours saving as much money as possible to make her dreams come true. She worked 7 days a week as a floor runner for several BBC productions by day and on the weekends she worked at a deli and a pub in the evenings. While this may seem overwhelming for some, Rezma realized that unless she did this she wouldn’t be able to fulfil her goal.
As the idea for the hostel came into fruition, Lily, the owner of Hanoi’s popular Lily’s Travel Agency, offered up her expertise in travel management to assist Rezma with booking and inquiries. From there, the unique hostel name came into development.
Why taking a chance worked
Trying something for the first time worked out in Rezma’s favor, actually. Lily’s local perception of the region and experience in the industry paired with Stu and Rezma’s practical knowledge of customer service and traveling the globe prove that the trio make a perfect team.
See You at Lily’s has served as a relaxing haven for solo backpackers, couples and families traveling through the Vietnamese capital city over the past 8 months. The bohemian space offers a chilled out atmosphere with clean, comfy spaces with an eclectic vibe – just what Rezma envisioned. If you’re into cozy bean bag chairs, funky tapestries, shisha sessions and trippy artwork, See You at Lily’s is the place for you. Most of the walls are uniquely painted by artists traveling through town; some a stream of consciousness and others perfectly planned out visuals of Vietnamese culture and scenery.
The staff at See You at Lily’s is incredibly hospitable and go above and beyond to meet their customers’ needs. When I first arrived I mentioned I was vegetarian and Stu wrote me a helpful list of phrases that enabled me to convey my dietary restrictions to restaurant owners and street vendors. It’s a small act of kindness, but it meant a lot and was really valuable.
Why you should stay at See You at Lily’s
While the warm and welcoming environment is certainly the selling point for me, I was extremely impressed with the free breakfast available. Guests have the option of:
- a full English breakfast
- eggs with toast
- banana pancakes
- French toast
- an omelette with toast
- fresh cut fruit and yogurt.
Each meal is served with either delicious Vietnamese coffee or green tea. I tried pretty much everything, but the omelette was my favorite. As I mentioned before, guests can also smoke shisha in the common area or get to know each other over a few beers. It’s a short walk from the bustling night market and a number of bars, cafes and restaurants.
The dorms are spacious and comfortable and the private rooms are luxurious and impressive. Each room comes with a large private bathroom complete with a rain shower head. We never ran out of toilet paper and the water pressure was great. My only complaint is the fact that some of the dorm beds don’t have their own lighting or electric outlets – but I trust that these will come all in good time.
As I mentioned before, the staff at See You at Lily’s works directly with Lily’s Travel Agency to ensure guests get unique and exclusive tour options!
Shout out to this girl boss for OWNING IT
Rezma has some big plans for the future. While she’s unsure of what the next year will bring (and let’s be honest – aren’t we all?!), the young entrepreneur wants to return to London at some point to complete her film degree. It doesn’t seem like Rez is stopping anywhere just yet; she’s hopeful that See You at Lily’s is just the prelude to several business ventures. What’s driving this passion? Travel, of course!
“It’s travel that pushes me toward this,” she said. “I’ll go to any lengths to be able to see more of the world. I think if you love something enough you’ll do anything for it, and for me, that’s travel.“
Although I was a complimentary guest at See You at Lily’s, as always, all opinions are my own. For more information regarding this lovely hostel, be sure to check out the See You at Lily’s Facebook page as well as its impressive TripAdvisor reviews.