The French Quarter in Vietnam's capital Hanoi remains true to its name, a French cultural outpost in Indochina. French colonial buildings like the Opera House and the Metropole hotel (see below) recall the French conquering power's influence in their heyday.
Colonial buildings house some of the better hotels in the French Quarter, offering the finer creature comforts to Vietnam visitors with a little more cash to burn.
Close to the legendary Hanoi Opera House, the Hotel de l'Opera makes for a fine staging point for opera enthusiasts, whether they plan to have a pre-opera dinner at the hotel's sophisticated Satine French restaurant, or if they choose stay at one of the Hotel de l'Opera's 107 guestrooms and suites - each providing luxurious wood floors, pricey linens, and massive bathrooms en suite.
The interior décor is enriched with French colonial accents and an overall sense of the theatrical, appropriate for a hotel inspired by an opera house. The hotel’s l’Opera Grand Suites all overlook the Opera House, providing the best view in the house.
The Sofitel Legend Metropole's building is over a hundred years old, having stood there since 1901. (It was once the official residence to the French Governor of northern Vietnam.) Its extensive renovation has preserved the building's old charm, while ushering the Metropole into the 21st century with facilities worthy of the hotel's five stars.
364 rooms are available, with elegant finishes like silk tapestries and wrought-iron fittings that evoke the French colonial experience. Amenities include the Spa du Metropole, as well as a swimming pool, gym and a fine French restaurant on the premises (Le Beaulieu) with a great breakfast buffet.
The 22-story Melia Hotel is set quite close to Hoa Lo Prison and is an easy walk to Hoan Kiem Lake and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. All 306 guestrooms come with private bathrooms, hairdryers, bathrobes, slippers, bathroom telephones, data ports, satellite TV and safes. Wi-Fi is available, but is NOT free. Room service is available 24 hours a day.
When not chilling in their rooms, guests can enjoy the Melia's swimming pool, Jacuzzi, exercise room, lobby bar and poolside bar, among other amenities. Dining options on the premises include El Patio's buffet-style dining and the Lotus's Thai and Chinese selections.
The Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel is a five-star hotel in the Vietnam capital with a reputation for excellence – from 2004 to 2008, the World Travel Awards recognized it as Vietnam's leading hotel establishment. Its location in the French Quarter puts it within walking distance of the famous Hanoi Opera House and some of the best shopping in the Old Quarter.
The hotel has 269 guestrooms, each evoking Vietnamese traditional design, with modern accouterments like high-speed Internet, cable television and separate work areas. Executive Room guests get complimentary breakfast and refreshments in the Executive Lounge.
"La gare" means "station" in French – the Mercure Hanoi La Gare is so named because of its proximity to the Hanoi central train station, from which travelers can head on to Hue, Saigon and other points along the extensive Vietnamese rail network. (The Livitrans luxury train to Hue and Da Nang departs from this train station.)
The Mercure offers guests a choice of 102 guestrooms and access to the in-house French Brasserie Le Pavillon (Vietnamese, French and other cuisines are on the menu), an internal courtyard and modern gym.
The Hanoi Mövenpick Hotel's 154 guestrooms are housed in a 12-storey French colonial building. All rooms come with LCD flat screen TVs, cable TV. IDD telephone, personal safe, broadband internet and minibar. Amenities in the posher rooms are well-suited for guests who like the finer things in life: the hotel's Junior Suites come with Jacuzzis and personal butlers-on-request.
The hotel's cars - a BMW 5 Series and vintage Citroën - can be made available to guests for transport around Hanoi. The hotel's location makes transportation superfluous, though - Hoa Lo Prison and Hoan Kiem Lake are just a few minutes' walk away.
The Somerset Grand Hanoi is one of the tallest structures in Hanoi, rising from a parcel of land that used to be part of the infamous Hoa Lo Prison. The present establishment is far more welcoming (but of course), offering executive-class comforts to both short-term and extended-stay guests.
The Somerset Grand's 185 serviced residences are fully furnished, all spacious units offering fully-equipped kitchens, IDD telephone, plus amenities like the in-house Jaspa restaurant, Papa Joes & Highland Coffee, large swimming pool, tennis court, gymnasium, sauna, children's playground/playroom and 24-hr reception.
One of the newer hotels on the block, the Grand Cititel Hanoi attempts to balance value with modern facilities – start with their 98 rooms with modern décor, LED TVs, and surprisingly cushy finishes. Tour services may also be arranged with the front desk, whose staff speaks relatively good English.
Right in the heart of a busy area within the French Quarter, Grand Cititel Hanoi is practically in the middle of everything – Hang Quat (Fan Street) in the Old Quarter is only a few minutes’ walk away.
On days you prefer to stay within the premises, work out at the in-house gym; dine at all hours at SHII Kitchen; or toss back a drink at the Joy Lounge.
Address29 Hai Bà Trưng, Hàng Bài, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone+84 24 3826 7307
This homestay in the French Quarter offers a little, authentically Vietnamese surprise: close proximity to a 150-year-old temple housing altars to the ancestors of the current Guesthouse’s owners.
Beyond this quaint surprise, Y Lan Guesthouse offers the best of the basics – clean room with access to a balcony, social areas where you can dine or talk to fellow guests; and great location right in a busy part of the French Quarter, placing its guests within easy access of Trang Tien Plaza, the Vietnam Revolution Museum and Hanoi Opera House.
Completed in 2017, the Chi Boutique Hotel is one of the French Quarter’s newer accommodations. Travelers with middling budgets will enjoy the contemporary decor – a skillful mixing of contemporary and old-world that manifests in dark wooden furniture, lotus-themed artwork, and surprisingly spacious interiors.
42 guestrooms offer spacious bathrooms en suite and views of the streets below; suites have balconies with wrought-iron rails, providing gorgoues views of St. Joseph’s Cathedral beyond. Onsite Vietnamese-Cantonese fusion restaurant and Sky Lounge on the roofdeck offer excellent opportunities to drink, dine and socialize.