Built in 1901, the Metropole is one of the world’s treasures. This is where invading, liberating or civil armies have found billet and raised their flags, where the first film was shown in Indochina, where Charlie Chaplin spent his honeymoon, where Jane Fonda and Joan Baez took cover in a bomb shelter, and where heads of state and embassy officials resided for many years. In fact, the history of the Metropole is the history of the last hundred years in Hanoi, and the folks here have even published a short volume telling the tale. The hotel had a major renovation in 1992 and added a second building in 1994; rooms in the new wing are more spacious, but push for the old wing and walk into a bit of history (keep an eye out for ghosts) in these medium-size rooms with wood floors, cane furniture, classic fixtures, and high ceilings. The very modern bathrooms are large and have little touches like wood-frame mirrors, fresh flowers, and toiletries in hand-painted ceramics jars. The staff couldn’t be nicer or more efficient. The pool is small, but the adjoining Bamboo lounge is an oasis of calm in the city center. The health club with sauna and massage is superb and has a good street view. Le Beaulieu is popular in Hanoi for classic French fare, and the Spices Garden is a great place to sample local delights (the lunch buffet is a safe and tasty place to try Hanoi street fare like Pho and Bun Cha). The Metropole also offers cooking classes. Among the three bars, the Met Pub is a casual spot to have a beer and listen to live music. The downtown location can’t be beat, and there’s a nice mix of tourists and businesspeople here.
HOTEL NAME: Sofitel Metropole Hanoi Hotel
Address: 15 Ngo Quyen st, Hanoi, Vietnam
HOTEL PRICE: 0
CITY: Ha Noi