A chequered history has created a beautiful mess of contrasting neighbourhoods in Hanoi. There's the labyrinthine Old Quarter; tree-studded French Quarter; lake-filled Tay Ho District; and the glistening modernity of the rapidly developing westside precincts. Meaning there is something for everyone.
This fast-paced city (Vietnam's capital) has everything from a fantastic food scene - in our Hanoi city guide, our writer recommends a banh mi sandwich as a great place to start - to plenty of green space for when the honking scooters get too much.
But whether you're here to take an eco-cruise along the Mekong River or want to visit Hanoi's historic sites - such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the final resting place of the man referred to as "Uncle Ho" - you'll want the perfect hotel to rest your head.
Fortunately, accommodation options are spread throughout this southeast Asia city, so, you can pair your personality with the neighbourhood. From boutique charm squeezed into the Old City, to spacious modern creations from award-winning architects, there's an option for all tastes.
As the name suggests, Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi is a stone's throw from the Hanoi Opera House, a wedding cake structure built during the French colonial period and modelled on Paris's Palais Garnier. This lavish hotel, with colourful rooms and a courtyard cafe, rests on Trang Tien Street, which connects the opera house with Hoan Kiem Lake. The hotel is part of the MGallery Collection, managed by Accor.
An eye-catching Art Deco building across the street houses L'Espace, a French cultural centre, while the Vietnamese Women Museum is just around the corner.
The Chi Boutique Hotel couldn't be better placed for absorbing the cluttered atmosphere of Hanoi's fabled Old Quarter. But despite its sardine-tin location, most rooms are refreshingly spacious, with trendy (sometimes daring) design features and chic bathrooms with bathtubs. A hip rooftop bar offering fresh angles of Hanoi's iconic St Joseph's Cathedral is a highlight, but The Chi's location, just steps from some of Hanoi's trendiest shops and restaurants, including fashion boutique Chula Fashion and artisanal restaurant TUNG, is the cherry on the cake.
Walk out from this boutique treasure and find Hoan Kiem Lake resting right on your doorstep. Located within one of Hanoi's characteristic "tube houses" - narrow buildings designed to allow road access for as many families as possible - rooms are typically tight, but comfortable. The hotel comes into its own on Saturday and Sunday, when the temporarily pedestrianised lake road erupts into a frenzied playground of toddlers driving miniature Ferraris and teenage dance troupes filming their next big hit. Front-facing executive rooms offer views of the lake, while solid triple glazing keeps out any noise disturbance - a necessity during weekends.
From the outside, Apricot Hotel may look like any other luxury city property, but drift through the entrance, ignoring the gaudy chandelier, to gaze at magnificent pieces of art that adorn a dazzling lobby. The art-loving owners have adopted the hotel to display their sought-after collection of paintings and sculptures from well-known Vietnamese artists. Bright and airy rooms, also decorated with local art pieces, serve as a calm escape from the outside bustle, while the broad rooftop swimming pool and sky bar are additional perks.
If you like your sunsets dramatic and your cocktails colourful, the Pan Pacific Hanoi never fails to impress (unless it's cloudy). The Summit is the hotel's pride and joy; a west-facing sky bar offering spellbinding views over the twin lakes of West Lake and Truc Bach, elegantly partitioned by tree-lined Thanh Nien Street and Tran Quoc Pagoda. This is Hanoi's best view, so it's worth making the trip to The Summit even if you're not staying in the hotel. If you do decide to stay, you'll encounter near-equivalent views from the tasteful rooms. The hotel is also situated in Truc Bach, one of Hanoi's most charming lakeside neighbourhoods, and perfect for a morning stroll.
Swap a cacophony of motorbike horns for the soothing sounds of lapping water at InterContinental West Lake Hanoi. The "over-water" rooms are particularly appealing, as they fan out on small man-made islets from the central sunset bar. After watching the sun sink over the water and enjoying one too many cocktails, you can stagger back to your room in just a couple of lurches. The hotel is within easy reach of Hanoi's best international restaurants and cafes, such as Argentinian steakhouse El Gaucho and Australian-owned coffee specialists Maison de Tet Decor.
In Hanoi for more than a few days? Consider a serviced apartment right in the middle of the city's expat enclave, walking distance from international restaurants, cafes, bars and, more recently, a cinema. All rooms enjoy a living room space, small kitchen, dining area and balconies - most with views of West Lake. There's a range of room types depending on the size of your party, from single-room studios to three-bedroom suites, and you'll have access to a capacious pool and fitness room to boot.
Hoan Kiem Lake may be Hanoi's heart and soul, but the Lotte Centre Hanoi building, at the crossroads of two of Hanoi's main traffic arteries, is increasingly thought of as the city's central point. Occupying the upper tier of this 65-floor skyscraper, all the Lotte Hotel Hanoi rooms offer spellbinding views whatever the direction: West Lake to the north, the old city to the east and the new business district to the southwest. The variation in viewpoints reflects the ideal location, especially if you're mixing business with pleasure - everywhere you could possibly want to be is no more than 15 minutes by cab.
On the lookout for something completely different? Journey to the west to uncover Hanoi's newest precinct and the city's most dazzling contribution to contemporary architecture: the JW Marriot Hotel Hanoi. Extravagance is served up in buckets, with crisply designed rooms and various private lounges spread throughout the hotel. Plus, there are no fewer than six fabulous restaurants, including French Grill, serving (you guessed it) fine French food, and John Anthony Cantonese Grill & Dim Sum, which specialises in Cantonese cuisine. JZ
If you're after luxury with a healthy injection of heritage, look no further than The Sofitel Legend Metropole in Hanoi's French Quarter. It became the first five-star hotel in Asia when it was built in 1901 and has welcomed celebrities through its Belle Epoque doors ever since (it's where Charlie Chaplin spent his honeymoon). With several bars and restaurants, a tranquil swimming pool and spa, and staff that cater to your every whim with a smile, you'll be hard-pressed to leave the French colonial environs - though the central location means a street food tour is never too far away. Choose between the original Indochinese or modern wings - and be sure to tour the bunker built during the American War. HH
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