Hanoi Hotels – Tips and Advice
- There’s a reason most want to stay in the Old Quarter: it’s historic, compact, and pulsating with activity. It’s also very crowded – overwhelmingly so for westerners unused to bursting Asian cities. Vehicle access can be difficult, and narrow footpaths are often blocked by businesses and parked motorbikes. In this area, only budget-priced home-stays and mid-range boutique hotels are available. The center of the Old Quarter is picturesque Hoan Kiem lake.
- Most international-brand high-rise hotels are further out in the West Lake (Ho Tay) area, about 10 minutes by taxi from Hoan Kiem lake. These hotels offer lake views and more space than the Old Quarter, but there are very few facilities nearby.
- The French Quarter around the Hilton Hotel is surprisingly classy, with elegant cafés and welcome patches of greenery, and still very close to Hoan Kiem Lake.
- Any hotel not located in the Old Quarter, French Quarter, or at West Lake may be inconvenient to sights, and likely to be along streets with little or no facilities for tourists. (That is, don’t expect English menus or English-speaking staff.)
- The airport is 30km+ from the Old Quarter. Taxis – legal and illegal – are readily available at the airport, and your best option for hotel transport; buses from the airport are slow and won’t necessarily drop passengers anywhere near their hotel. The Vietnam Airlines office in Hanoi offers a very cheap bus service every hour to (but not from) the airport. Otherwise, book a car from your hotel or a travel agency, or hail a taxi to the airport.
- Agencies and hotels around the Old Quarter sell tickets for comfortable private buses to all major destinations, and fares should include a pickup from the hotel. The train station is convenient, and offers services as far as Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
- The Old Quarter is easy enough to walk around. Taxis are everywhere, more so along the main streets outside the Old Quarter – they are cheap and all use meters. Also popular for getting around the crowded Old Quarter are xe om motorbike taxis (with a passenger on the back).
- A quaint (but touristy) way to get around the Old Quarter is by cyclo bicycle rickshaw. Bargain hard; fares are much higher than taxis.
- There are a plethora of well-stocked minimarts in central Hanoi, while malls are located further out in the suburbs.
The 15 Best Hotels in Hanoi
Hotel phone: +84 24 3828 9595
Super-stylish, very convenient and virtually lakeside. With a two-star name but five-star opulence, this is the most sophisticated hotel in the Old Quarter, and one of very few that actually face picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake (albeit with a road in between). Standard rooms have marble-floor entrances and adorable bathrooms, but poor views. Canvas rooms are similar, with mostly rooftop views, and spacious Studio rooms feature corner kitchenettes – a few of these have prized lake-facing balconies. Other attractions include an elegant library, original art throughout the rooms and corridors, and proximity to the water puppet theatre. The sparkling rooftop pool is heated and overlooks the lake.
Notes on Apricot Hotel
- An unimpressive name and unimpressive exterior hides arguably the most elegant and sophisticated place in the Old City.
- Elegant lobby: chandeliers, piano bar, mezzanine of wrought iron railings; Viet art in ornamental frames.
- Most views on one side will be obstructed fully by slated Four Seasons next door; and construction will be noisy and very inconvenient for 12-18 months.
- Perfect location; one of very few with genuine lake frontage, opposite water puppet theatre and cafes.
- Elegant library with lake-view terrace; plenty of original local art – including in the rooms; gym with views.
- One of very few hotels in Old Town Hanoi with a pool; rooftop (10th floor), with poolside cafe, views of city and lake from three sides, heated.
- Sketch (standard) Rooms – Marble floor entrance leads to lovely bathroom with floral carpet; no views or balcony, looks into an inner courtyard with limited natural light; gold-plated TV cabinet, chairs, desk, luggage rack, mirror frames. Antique phone.
- Canvas Rooms – One small step in size, but pretty much the same furnishings – biggest difference is the city views (tops of neighboring buildings – no lake or old town vistas); no balcony; floor to ceiling window (with blind) between bedroom and bathroom.
- Studio Rooms – Large entrance lobby with marble floor leads to corner kitchenette with full facilities, sofa/desk/lounge area; all windows have city views of other buildings, a few have furnished balconies with lovely lake views, but most don’t. Gallery Rooms are similar but with no kitchenette; Masterpiece is the presidential suite.
- A good option for families, with connecting doors in some standard rooms, room for an extra bed in the suites, and lovely pool.
- Bottom Line: 2-star name but 5-star location, decor, facilities; elegant and graceful in a perfect spot for old city and lake views.
Hotel phone: +84 24 3719 2939
Fashionable and personable, in a first-rate location. With limited views and undersized rooms, this is still better than most of the boutique hotels in the Old Quarter. Standard Rooms are reasonably nice, with shiny bathrooms and polished floorboards. Views (through oversized windows) are far better from Deluxe Rooms, which also feature spacious bathrooms and trendy decor. Best of all, the open-plan suites contain spa bathrooms and extended balconies. Only one block from Hoan Kiem Lake, it’s set along a pleasant street with a cathedral, park, and a million motorbikes. (Note that the double-glazing isn’t always totally effective.)
Notes on Chi Boutique
- Rises 8 floors above a stylish Vietnamese restaurant, with the lobby on 2nd floor; 42 rooms.
- Located on an elegant, tree-lined street, near a park, cathedral, and lovely cafes. One block away from the lakeside road.
- Currently in the process of creating a Sky Lounge on 8th floor.
- All rooms are similar in style, featuring black wood slatted cupboards, polished floorboards, and bin-shaped bedside tables.
- Standard/Superior Rooms – Reasonably nice; shiny bathroom with tub is separated from the bedroom by a window (with blind); generally poor views and no balcony.
- Deluxe Rooms – Huge bed; interesting city views from surprisingly large windows, no balcony; spacious bathroom.
- Suites – Best of the lot, open-plan design with bed, desk, sofa, chair, and bright green coffee table; long furnished balcony with street views; stylish cupboards with open slats; gigantic marble bathroom with spa bath.
- Optional connecting door rooms and a good location on a quiet(ish) street make this a decent option for families.
- Bottom Line: An elegant option in a less frantic part of the old city, to the west of the lake.
Hotel phone: +84 24 3828 4466
Fashionable boutique hotel in an unhurried Old Quarter location. A marble entrance, elegant basement café, and nine floors (for better views) make the Delano a better boutique option than most. City View Suites are modern, with Asian art, a sofa, marble bathroom with a tub, and a decent-sized balcony offering street views. Superior Rooms feature modern art, though some may not feature an outside window. Facing a busyish corner along a comparatively quieter street (all rooms are suitably sound-proofed), its a 15-minute stroll through a maze of lanes to Hoan Kiem Lake and its myriad of souvenir shops and lakeside cafés.
Notes on Hanoi Delano
- Located on a busy-ish corner, like most streets in the Old City; 9 floors, so views are good.
- It’s the most stylish building on the street, with elegant marble-framed entrance.
- A 15-minute stroll, along streets lined with shops that seem to sell nothing but spice and coffee, to the lake and western-style bars and souvenir shops.
- This is in the REAL Old City, so streets around here are a maze – be-map-ready.
- Stylish lobby and elegant basement cafe.
- City View Suites – Modern Asian-style art, sofa, polished floorboards; soundproofed so very quiet; compact bedroom and slightly separate lounge/TV area; sliding door to marble bathroom with tub; great balcony, with decent city views down two streets.
- Superior Rooms – Compact; some may have no windows in bedroom or bathroom, so choose wisely.
- Rooms are too small to make this a good option for families.
- Bottom Line: A good option, located in a noisy area (but quiet inside), a little bit too far from the lake for easy strolls.
Hotel phone: +84 24 3266 9240
Bad name, good facilities in the Old Quarter. With eight floors and a surprisingly elegant black-marble lobby, this hotel is located along a quieter-than-normal street in a busy part of town. Deluxe Rooms have tiny windows and terrible views, but the desk is elegant and the shower has a glass wall facing a private courtyard garden. Spacious enough for three or four people, suites have full-length (and double-glazed) windows, offering decent views of the market buildings opposite and the chaotic roundabout in front. Adjacent to a theater, and a 15-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake.
Notes on Hanoi Marvellous
- 8 floors; surprisingly elegant grey/black marble lobby.
- Situated among fairly ordinary Viet-style shops, cafes and homes in the REAL Old Town, 10 minutes stroll through a labyrinth streets to the lake. There are some western bars/cafes nearby, but most will be found around the lake. Adjacent to a theater and opposite the underground market area, but along a quiet-ish side street from the busy roundabout.
- Deluxe Rooms – The tiny window is because the views are not worthwhile (just across the street to another wall); decorated in shades of grey, with old black-and-white prints. Cushioned wall behind bed and in sofa; separate desk; elegant decor. A movable screen separates the bedroom and a compact bathroom; bathroom with a shower with glass wall that sort of look into a private, plant-filled courtyard.
- Suite City View – Huge enough for both a king-sized and a single bed, long desk, and 2 comfy chairs. Floor-to-ceiling windows (with decent city views of the market buildings and busy roundabout) are nicely sound-proofed.
- Families will appreciate the connecting room options, also a Family Suite.
- Bottom Line: The name may be tacky, but the inside is anything but. A bit isolated, but in a fascinating area.
Hotel phone: +84 24 3938 0666
Central, quieter, and a cut above the rest. Instantly appealing, the Pearl provides a variety of rooms across nine floors along a comparatively tranquil street. Superior Rooms are motel-like, compact and practical, but have no outside windows. Deluxe Rooms provide views of the streets or of the internal courtyard (which is less interesting but certainly more peaceful) – any balconies are for decoration only, and not accessible from inside. Suites offer accessible furnished balconies with street views, albeit limited. The Pearl has a gym, as well as a rooftop bar. Located just around the corner from Hoan Kiem Lake, the nearby streets are jammed with shops, bars, and cafés.
Notes on Hanoi Pearl
- Instantly likable, appealing, and welcoming.
- 5 room types, across 9 floors.
- Located along a quiet tree-lined lane, just around the corner from the frantic lakeside traffic.
Plenty of shops, cafes and bars are within an easy stroll, and it’s 1 minute to the lake.
- No swimming pool, but there is (surprisingly) a gym. And the obligatory rooftop bar.
- Superior Rooms – Beware that these have no windows. Compact, motel-style, good value; pale yellow design is appealing, nice prints across the walls.
- Deluxe City View Rooms – Room enough for an extra single bed. Alluring pale blue decor; old-style fashionable chairs; polished floorboards. City views – while better than none at all – are views of another wall, nothing distant or interesting. There’s the usual window (with blind) between bathroom and bedroom. Balcony is for show only, no access from inside.
- Deluxe Window Rooms – These overlook the internal courtyard only, there are no outside views at all. Same decor and furnishings as Deluxe City View.
- Suites – The pick of the bunch, some with a balcony. Compact bedroom and separate TV/lounge area with lots of prints on the walls and space on the floor; sizable balcony with wicker chairs – but, again, short-sighted views facing another wall. There’s a second TV, desk, and toilet.
- Executive Rooms – The rather grandiose name denotes only that they have the best views, they have the same decor and furnishings as the others, and are perhaps even smaller. But windows are almost floor-to-ceiling, and provide genuine city views (but no balcony).
- Families might appreciate the extra bed in the Deluxe rooms, but it might be squeezy. Families larger than 3 would do better in a suite.
- Bottom Line: Quiet and centrally-located, a minute to the park, surrounded by cafes and bars; choose carefully as some rooms have no windows and some have fabulous views.
Hotel phone: +84 24 3933 0500
Luxury and style, in a winning location. With two street entrances and enormous grounds, this grand hotel was designed with the neighboring Opera House in mind. Suites are delightful, featuring a three-piece sofa set in a separate lounge area, massive bedroom, and luxurious marble bathroom. (However, with views of the Opera House only 50 meters away, there are disappointingly few windows.) The larger Deluxe Rooms lack furniture and, again, sufficient windows. The outdoor pool is quiet and sunny. Located in the elegant French Quarter, with plenty of classy bistros lining the nearby streets, and the famous Hoan Kiem Lake a 10-minute stroll away.
Notes on Hilton
- Grand building with two main entrances on different streets, arched/curved design; designed with the opera house in mind.
- Given the grandiosity of the exterior, the lobby appears somewhat warehouse-like and charmless.
- Located on a huge block in the middle of the most elegant part of the city, alongside the Opera House, it’s still a less than 10-minute lovely stroll (past cafes, theaters and patisseries) to the lake and old town.
- Swimming pool is outdoor, quiet, and sunny, with plenty of colorful lounge chairs and potted palms. Still, it is surprisingly undersized, especially given the amount of unused space alongside.
- Suites – Spacious, with modern furnishings, and separate TV/desk/sofa area. Bedroom is huge, with floral feature wall above the bed. 2 TVs, 2 toilets. Marble bathroom is luxurious, if somewhat outdated in style. Oddly, only ¼ of walls that could have windows (with opera house views) do.
- Deluxe Rooms – Much larger than standard rooms, could use more furniture. Neutral color design; glass-top desk; shutters to fairly unexciting bathroom. Again, too few windows, given the views overlook the pool and opera house; no balcony.
- All rooms have double-glazing.
- A good option for families due to room size, available connecting rooms, location, and setting. There’s no kids club or kids pool, but this is probably the best bet for a family stay in the city proper, without venturing out to the northern West Lake area.
- Bottom Line: Top location, limited luxury expected of a Hilton; good (albeit small) swimming pool. There are limited views of opera house, despite the hotel’s name.
Hotel phone: +84 24 6282 5555
Arty and unique, but perhaps too much so. This colonial-style hotel is along a classy street of patisseries and theaters just 200 meters from the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake and grand Opera House. The hotel employs an operatic/artistic theme throughout – to its detriment, or our delight. Colorful furniture and decor is often funky (but not functional), and bathrooms are lit to resemble backstage makeup rooms; add in raised beds so high that the elderly, young, and infirm would have trouble reaching them, and you get a setting that’s unsuitable for some. Others may revel in its uniqueness. Many rooms face an internal courtyard, providing limited light and privacy, while the Opera Residences feature a kitchenette and floor-to-ceiling windows with street views. The third-floor gym is huge, and the glass-enclosed pool is small, but sparkles.
Notes on Hotel de L’Opera
- Colonial-style design, 8 floors, 107 rooms of 4 types.
- Located among classy department stores and theater buildings on an elegant street, only a 3-minute walk (past bookshops and patisseries) to the lake.
- 3rd floor pool is small, and sparkling blue. Undercover and enclosed by glass; poolside lounge chairs, cafe up a few steps with open-air views of the street and the opera house.
- Pool is adjacent to a large gym.
- All rooms have a very artistic-style decor that will certainly not be to everyone’s taste; the operatic theme is throughout, with funky and not functional furniture, bathrooms that resembles dressing room make-up areas; swirly and out of focus art; beds are too high for children and elderly.
- Some rooms overlook the large interior courtyard.
- Opera Deluxe (standard) Rooms – High bed; colorful and funky decor. Tiny bathroom has bright mosaic tiles, and a lightbulb-framed mirror. Windows have double-glazing to keep out street noise.
- Opera Suite room – Located on top floor, done in dark colors with a separate TV/desk/lounge/luggage area and a very high bed. The bathroom is separated only by plastic curtains, and features a clawfoot tub that juts half-way into the bedroom. There are decent street views, but surprisingly small windows.
- Opera Residence – Bright, with floor-to-ceiling windows, kitchenette, and dining table.
- Many rooms have connecting doors, super high beds and uncomfortable furniture make this an iffy option for families.
- Bottom Line: A bit weird, with decor that may not appeal to traditional tastes, but great location. mismatched furnishings and odd layout may frustrate some, delight others.
Hotel phone: +84 24 6299 3666
Welcoming old-city vibe in the real Old Quarter – not the sanitized version for tourists – a 20-minute walk to Hoan Kiem Lake. White and neutral décor dominates throughout the comfortable guest rooms. Deluxe Rooms are generally unremarkable but do have a balcony, while Superior Rooms are smaller and views are blocked by slats across the outside windows. Unquestionably the best option is the spacious suites, which feature lovely Vietnamese art, a desk alcove, two windows for maximum views and light, and a bathroom Jacuzzi. All windows are double-glazed, blocking out most of the relentless traffic and construction noise. No hotel of this size and location will have a pool, but it does manage to squeeze in a gym and sauna.
Notes on L’Heritage
- 55 rooms.
- One of a handful in a chain dotted around the Old City.
- 15-20 minute walk to the lake and western-catering cafes/souvenir shops; this is part of the REAL, non-touristy Old City.
- Located on a street of Viet-style cafes, shops, and personal homes; there are few places catering to western tourists within a short stroll.
- Sits on the edge of inner Old City; you wouldn’t want to stay any further out.
- No hotel in the Old City will have a swimming pool, though this manages to incorporate both a gym and a sauna.
- Standard white decor inside all rooms; white wooden desk, bedside tables, and luggage rack, etc. Rooms with balconies have double windows which cuts off almost all of the incessant traffic noise.
- Deluxe Rooms – Only have one bedside table, although there’s clearly room for another; clean and functional bathroom; has a small balcony overlooking the street.
- Superior Rooms – A smaller version of the deluxe, with the main door leading straight into the bathroom. Same decor and furnishings, and oddly no views as the windows are blocked by slots on the outside; no balcony.
- Suite – So much larger, with same white wooden furnishings and only one bedside table; very spacious; Viet-style arts on walls and headboard; separate desk alcove; no balcony, but two sets of street-view windows; fully sound-proofed. Large bathroom with steps up to a Jacuzzi (with windows to the ceiling that would have to permanently covered with blinds, as they face across the street to another hotel).
- An OK option for families – a suite would have ample room for an extra 1 or even 2 single beds.
- Bottom Line: Not an easy stroll to the lake, but part of the REAL Old City, and within walking distance to the train station. Suite are a good size and suitable for families. Located on a busyish road, but soundproofing is good.
Hotel phone: +84 24 3938 0963
Small but sparkling Old Quarter boutique. The newest in a chain of classy boutique hotels across Hanoi and Hoi An, the elegant nouveau-riche design is immediately evident in the lobby, with its elegant tilework, overhead fans, and grand piano. Room décor is consistent across type, and features wrought-iron Juliet balconies; the main differences are size and views – some have great ones of the lake and city. Unlike other hotels, the suites don’t have a separate lounge area, but the bathroom is extra fashionable with tiled walls and ceiling. The breezy rooftop breakfast café provides sweeping river views. Located on a busy but fascinating street in the Old Quarter, only 100 meters from the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake.
Notes on Las Siesta Central
- One of a handful of similar boutique hotels in Hanoi and Hoi An, this is the newest of the cluster and only has 27 rooms.
- Elegant nouveau riche French-style lobby of grey-black tiles and marble, with overhead fan and grand piano. This style is consistent throughout the hotel and rooms.
- Top location on an elegant, narrow block, perhaps 50m from the road that encircles Hoan Kiem lake. This is considered the centre of the Old Town of Hanoi, an excellent area for cafes, bars, and all types of shops.
- There’s a bright and breezy rooftop breakfast area with sweeping views, including the lake, and plans for a rooftop bar.
- Different types of rooms are consistent in decor and feel; all have Juliet balconies, wrought iron and narrow, for standing on only. Some rooms have two balconies offering city and lake views.
- So-called suites consist of only one room; with no separate lounge area.
- La Siesta Suite – Smallish bedroom, with B&W prints of old Hanoi and European cities, wooden headboard, and grey-veined marble table tops; highly polished floorboards, stylish desk with oval mirror. Same classy decor extends to the bathroom, tiled on the floor and ceiling. Views of other buildings only.
- Central Suite – Slightly larger; state of art coffee machine; venetian blinds on window between bathroom and bedroom. Again, unexciting views.
- Executive Room – virtually same as the suite
- Not really for families: no connecting rooms, small room design. (But great location.)
- Bottom Line: Stylish, elegant, and brand new; in a great location just one block from the lake. Smallish rooms, balconies more about style than utility.
10. Melia Hanoi
Hotel phone: +84 24 3934 3343
Massive, modern, and graceful high rise in central Hanoi. Soaring 22 floors above a frenetic avenue of banks and government offices, and adjacent to a Rolls-Royce showroom, the Melia is designed more for business than tourism. Most rooms fall into one of two categories: Deluxe Rooms are fashionable and luxurious, but unexpectedly narrow; Premium Rooms have similar decor and furnishing, but are considerably larger – there’s a double-door entrance to a separate lounge area, and a walk-through luggage space leading to the bedroom. Some boast corner windows for double the light and views. The third-level pool is sunny and breezy, but perhaps undersized considering there are 300+ rooms. There are no child-specific amenities, but this is a decent option for families, particularly because of its proximity (only 10 minutes on foot) to Hoan Kiem Lake and the intriguing Old Quarter.
Notes on Melia Hanoi
- The only high rise hotel in the inner city area, all others are further out, especially in the west Lakes area to the north.
- Mammoth and ultra-modern but still stylish; 306 rooms over 22 levels.
- Located along a busy and stylish tree-lined street, lined with banks and government offices. The hotel adjoins a Rolls Royce dealership, and is a less than 10-minute stroll to lake and Old Quarter.
- 3rd floor outdoor pool, with gym and sauna attached; maybe smallish considering the 300+ rooms in the hotel. Decent city views, sunny and breezy, nice furnishings.
- Undercover parking.
- Most rooms are in two categories, and all rooms are consistent in furnishing and design.
- Deluxe Rooms – Modern and stylish, if narrow; neutral color scheme, bedside pendant lamps, window (with blind) between bathroom and bedroom. Broad city views, although somewhat obstructed by a high rise bank next door.
- Premium Rooms – Same furnishing and decor as the Deluxe; double-door entrance leads to separate lounge with TV and desk; corner floor-to-ceiling windows for twin views of the city; walk through luggage area leads to bedroom.
- A few larger suites with dedicated lounges are also available, and designed with business people in mind.
- A solid option for families: No kids-specific facilities or amenities, but there are many adjoining rooms, and a good pool and location.
- Bottom Line: Mammoth, stylish, and in a good location for business, the Old Quarter, and the lake. Nice, if undersized, pool.
Hotel phone: +84 24 3826 6919
Colonial ambience, spacious gardens, and ideal for families. Traditionally-dressed staff greeting guests in French here, and an early 20th-century French-Indochine theme dominates throughout; most evident in the piano lounge, ornate old-fashioned elevators, and the plushly-furnished corridors that lead to the hotel’s two wings. Deluxe Rooms ooze old-world charm, with polished floorboards and marble-topped TV cabinets. Those in the New Wing are not quite as alluring, but feature full-length windows with appealing garden views. The remarkable courtyard gardens with a greenhouse café and pool are insulated from the outside traffic noise. This is one of very best options for families, only a five-minute stroll to Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter.
Notes on Hotel Metropole
- A gorgeous and stately exterior (white with green shutters) leads into something far larger than expected. Large enough to have two entrances from different streets.
- 1920s French Indo-Chine style and design; greetings and signs in French.
- Elegant lobby manned by traditionally-dressed staff; piano lounge; dark wooden interior shutters, marble floor, ornate old-style elevator.
- Corridors with gorgeous lampshades and hallway tables lead to 2 wings: Historical Wing and New Wing.
- Faces a busy street, but room windows are double-glazed and the huge pool/garden/cafe area is well-insulated from noise.
- 5 minutes lovely stroll to the lake and Old Quarter.
- A private courtyard area, flanked by the hotel’s two wings, includes adorable glasshouse cafes, a large outdoor pool, and charming gardens.
- Deluxe Rooms – Fairly compact but so elegant with polished floorboards and old-world rugs and furnishings. Stylish desk, overhead fan, marble-top TV cabinet, matching lime-green curtains, lampshade and sofa. The marble bathroom has a small tub. Only 2 small windows as the views are not notable; no balcony.
- Deluxe Rooms – Located in the new wing. Not quite as old-world and elegant, but still luxe, with floor to ceiling windows providing lovely courtyard views; no balcony.
- Great for families: Connecting rooms, with space for an extra single bed in many rooms; great location, gardens, pool.
- Bottom Line: Superior elegance with no expense spared; wonderful setting and historical ambience; great location for exploring the lake and the Old City.
Hotel phone: +84 24 3266 8896
Functional and affordable, in a fascinating central location. Tucked behind a trendy bistro, this hotel has a lobby that’s as welcoming as a carpark, but thankfully the rooms are more appealing. Deluxe Rooms are compact, with stylish wicker chairs and a matching bed-head. Modest suites face the main street, and contain a long desk, an extra single bed, a deep bathtub, and even a sauna. Some rooms feature a private balcony, but most open to a shared terrace. All are sound-proofed effectively with double-glazing. The best views (city, not lake) can be found at the the rooftop bar. Set next to a temple, on a street packed with shops and cafés that cater to Vietnamese, not western, tourists. Hoan Kiem Lake, with a better selection of facilities, is only a seven-minute stroll through the labyrinthine Old Quarter.
Notes on MK Premier Boutique Hotel
- The lobby, set behind a trendy bistro, is airless, concrete, and as welcoming as a car park.
- Modern, brick multi-level building among Viet-style shops, cafes. and homes. Hotel is alongside temple, so views on one side always guaranteed.
- Located in a non-touristy-part of Old City, but the lake – with all cafes and shops that cater to westerners – is barely a 7-minute walk away.
- Rooftop bar offers uninterrupted views of the city, but not the lake.
- Deluxe Rooms – Compact, with stylish wicker chairs and matching bed-heads. Shared balcony with interesting city views.
- All rooms sound-proofed with double glazed windows.
- Better rooms facing the main street offer a large, deep bath tub and even a sauna; long desk, with alcove for a single bed, and even a 2nd single bed is possible and allowed.
- For families? A good location, and some rooms comfortably fit an extra single bed, but tightly.
- Bottom Line: The best of both worlds – close to the lake and tourist shops and cafes, but in the REAL Old City; decent enough 4-star, but more like 3-star facilities.
Hotel phone: +84 24 3823 8888
Great West Lake views and stylish, but smallish, rooms. One of the first in the flourishing West Lake area, it’s on a busy suburban corner about 200 meters from the lakeshore. Most rooms are angled, providing spectacular views of the water and islets from two sides, but with no balconies. Deluxe Lake View rooms are stylish, with lotus paintings and and glass-top desk facing the window. Suites are surprisingly undersized, with a narrow lounge area not big enough for the desk, which is squeezed into the rather compact bedroom. The fourth-floor pool is particularly impressive – large, with a retractable roof and plenty of lounge chairs – but no shade or surrounding foliage. With few shops and cafés of interest to westerners nearby, it’s about 10 minutes by taxi to the more famous Hoan Kiem Lake and the enchanting Old Quarter.
Notes on Pan Pacific
- Built 20 years ago, the first of an increasing number in the West Lake region, facing Hanoi’s largest lake.
- It’s located about 200m from the lake, so there’s no direct frontage, but most rooms have amazing views. Many rooms have angled windows to give views to two sides.
- Set on a busy suburban corner, 2 minute walk down to the lakefront. There are a few, but not many, shops and cafes within walking distance; not nearly as many as around Hoan Kiem lake.
- Rooftop bar.
- Wonderful pool on 4th floor; large, with retractable roof and enough lounge chairs, but no foliage or garden.
- Deluxe Lake View Rooms – Most are angled with corner windows to cleverly maximize views. No balcony. King sized bed set against golden-toned wall; pale yellow sofa chair; lotus paintings; inspiring glass-topped desk facing the window; gorgeous views of the lake and islets; small marble entrance area.
- Suites – Lounge area is surprisingly narrow – just large enough for sofa, tiny round table, and TV. Desk which is squeezed into the rather compact bedroom. Same clever window design for great views. Some have (but most don’t) a balcony.
- There are some connecting rooms to accommodate families, but not enough room – even in suites –for extra single beds.
- Bottom Line: A decent option, amazing views, and a better value than other nearby hotels. The closest of the Westlake hotels to the Old quarter.
14. Sheraton Hanoi
Hotel phone: +84 24 3719 9000
Classy and lakeside, but far from attractions. The Sheraton is the only high-rise set immediately next to West Lake. Standard Deluxe Rooms feature three-meter ceilings, modern Asian art and lampshades, and marvelous lake views (though windows are small). Ambassador Suites on the top two floors are superb, with extensive views from the bathtub and balcony (which is, astonishingly, closed to guests). The resort-style pool with pagoda-shaped swim-up bar sits nicely riverside, adjacent to ornamental gardens, but the tennis court is way overdue for maintenance. All the space and views come at a cost to convenience, however. With no facilities anywhere nearby, it’s 10 minutes by taxi (or free hotel shuttle) to the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake.
Notes on Sheraton
- Fairly standard and unexciting exterior, typical of a high rise.
- 299 Rooms, 7 types, 18 floors.
- Grand lobby/breakfast area is set under a vast dome, atop a shiny marble floor.
- Located in the southern end of Westlake, which is opening out for new resorts.
- Views over West Lake, Hanoi’s largest lake, and the Red River
- The hotel is partially lakefront, but most rooms and hotel grounds are 100m or so from the lake. The pool has direct access to a lakeside walking path.
- About 10 minutes by taxi from the Old Quarter. A free shuttle is also provided.
- It’s about a 3-minute stroll to main road, but there are very few western-style shops or cafes within walking distance.
- Tennis court badly needs maintenance.
- Lovely, resort-style ground floor pool; lagoon-shaped; swim-up pagoda-shaped bar; plenty of palms, pines, foliage.
- Japanese-style garden faces the lake.
- Deluxe (standard) Rooms – Gorgeous lake views; 3m high ceilings, sofa, modern Vietnamese art, elegant desk, marble-topped TV cabinet. Large bathroom with topaz-colored marble vanity. Surprisingly small windows, considering the views; no balcony.
- Decor and furnishings are consistent across all room types.
- Ambassador Suite – All suites are located on 17th and 18th floors. Grand as the name implies; entrance area the size of a small bedroom; spacious separate lounge area with TV, desk, lengthy furnished balcony (but amazingly closed to guests for safety reasons). Truly massive bedroom; more modern art, gold marble floors and walls, bathtub has awesome views.
- There’s no kids club or playground, but kids activities area planned when necessary. Connecting rooms, ample space for extra single beds, lots of space, and a good pool make this a great option for families.
- Bottom Line: Feels a little isolated, but one of few mega-hotels close to the city. Good pool, magical lake views.
Hotel phone: +84 24 3938 5555
Understated refinement, all about the views and location. One of very few hotels actually facing scenic Hoan Kiem Lake (albeit with a busy road in between), Silk Path Boutique suffers from limited space, so few rooms have much natural light or great views. The hotel is comprised of two distinct sections: Block A is mostly front-facing, and offers divine river views (trees permitting). The newer and quieter Block B offers views of the city – and some of the lake, but some rooms have no views at all. Senior Executive Rooms are not as posh as the name suggests, but do face the lake, and some even have a balcony. These rooms are small, yet feel surprisingly spacious, Vietnamese prints add some charm. Facing the hectic lakeside road, all rooms at the front suffer a bit from traffic noise despite the double-glazing.
Notes on Silk Path Boutique
- One of only a handful of hotels that can claim actual lake frontage, meaning it faces the busy main road which circles Hoan Kiem Lake.
- A typically narrow entrance leads to a bright and elegant marble-filled lobby and two separate wings: Block A where most rooms have lake views, and Block B where most have views of the city, and a few have lake views too.
- Rooms near the front will be noisy, but some at the back still have great views and are shielded from the loudest traffic. Windows are double-glazed, as standard.
- Senior Executive Rooms – A rather grand name rooms with precious lake views; some with balconies. Looks compact but feels surprisingly spacious; lovely Viet-style prints.
- Not all rooms in Block A facing the lake are guaranteed lake views, as trees along both sides of the street can obstruct views.
- Some balconies in Block B look straight into the back of Block A, with little sunshine or privacy, and zero views.
- Small rooms and no special amenities make this not a great option for families.
- Bottom Line: Compact and elegant, with a great lakeside location, but only worthwhile if you get a room with views.
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