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Hanoi's Old Quarter is a great place to see Vietnam at her most genuine - particularly near or around Hoan Kiem Lake. Festivals, temple celebrations, and markets unfold in the Hoan Kiem district, moving to a thousands-year-old rhythm that shows no signs of stopping.
If you're going to see Hoan Kiem Lake and the surrounding Old Quarter of even older Hanoi, you might as well check into one of the many hotels in the area. The hotels we feature here are arranged according to price, and represent a wide range of budgets and accommodations.
Au Coeur d'Hanoi Boutique Hotel
The confluence of French colonial and Vietnamese traditional décor makes a good impression on the Au Coueur d'Hanoi guest, though the small size of the hotel and rooms are immediately apparent. But that's only to be expected from accommodations in the heart of the Old Quarter.
The rooms, thankfully, have double-glazed windows that soundproof the inside effectively from the endless drone of motorcycles outside. Some (not all) rooms come with a view of the city; ask first before booking.
Hanoi Impressive Hotel
This budget hotel is set just outside the Old Quarter, but its close-quarters location to the St. Joseph's Cathedral puts it right at the neighborhood's doorstep.
You'll find it in an alley just beyond the cathedral's north side, two adjoining Hanoi townhouses fused into a single eight-story establishment overlooking the city's narrow streets. Guests can choose between 30 rooms with four different room types – ask for a room in the front with a balcony, as rooms in the rear have no view to speak of!
While the breakfast buffet is nothing to write home about, the streets immediately outside the Hanoi Impressive Hotel compensate with cheap eateries selling local food, bia hoi (the local beers) and cozy Western-style restaurants.
Authentic Hanoi Hotel
The Authentic's 71 rooms make it an exceptionally capacious accommodation in the Old Quarter and the four-star creature comforts will make you wish you stayed longer.
Towering eleven floors over Ly Thai To Street, the hotel stands at a comfortable remove from the action of the Old Quarter – close enough to visit on foot, but far enough away to avoid the noise and human crush. The higher up you are, the less likely you are to pick up ambient noise from outside – and the more likely you are to get a view of Hoan Kiem Lake!
Other hotel perks include a restaurant, free Wi-Fi for guests and guest PCs at the lobby.
Cinnamon Cathedral Hanoi
As boutique hotels go, the Cinnamon Cathedral Hotel is small but exceedingly comfortable, with only 12 guestrooms crammed in one of the Old Quarter's signature “tube houses”, tall and long but with little room from side to side.
Don't let the location or the age of the tube house fool you: the rooms are surprisingly spacious (the largest at 30 sq meters), with high ceilings and large windows allowing plenty of natural light.
Cozy touches for guests include a sweet ginger tea served at check-in; a shoe locker at the first floor (guests are asked to take off their shoes before climbing to their rooms); a fact sheet with basic Vietnamese phrases; complimentary foot massage and earplugs against the regular tolling of St. Joseph Cathedral's bells nearby. The hotel has a restaurant on-site with free breakfast.
Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel
Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel doesn't stint on the hostel experience, with a choice of dorm rooms (12- and 18-bed mixed bed dorms and one six-bed female-only dorm), central location right in the middle of the Old Quarter and English-speaking staff who will very happily book local tours and provide helpful tips.
Private rooms are also available, with two single beds in a rather small space. On the up-up-upside, the hostel serves up free beer from 6:00 p,m, to 6:30 p.m. – a thirty-minute window in which to get to know your fellow guests better! If you can't access the hostel-wide free Wi-Fi, use the computer with internet in the lobby to get your fix.
AN Family Homestay
How do you feel about literally staying in someone's home in Hanoi? The AN Family Homestay continues a cozy Vietnam trend, where enterprising locals convert their homes into guesthouses for travelers on a budget.
It doesn't make a good first impression: you'll enter an alleyway and buzz a number to enter the house. But once you're in, all is well: spacious home-style rooms await, with creature comforts like a mini-fridge, LED TV and friendly hosts who can suggest ways of making your Hanoi visit more fun. Kevin will be happy to give you tips or rent you a bike to help you more easily get around.
The AN Homestay serves a basic breakfast; the eateries, restaurants and bistros outside easily (and cheaply) give you better chow.