This colonial era hotel from the early 1900′s was once on par with such properties as The Raffles in Singapore, The Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, The Manila Hotel, The Eastern & Oriental in Penang, Malaysia and The Strand, in Yangon (Rangoon), Burma and decades later, The Peninsula, Hong Kong. Mrs. MM and I have been fortunate enough over the past twenty years to have stayed at The Raffles, The Mandarin Oriental, The Peninsula, The Manila Hotel and I’ve visited the Hotel Majapahit in Surabaya, Indonesia… so our choosing the Metropole Hotel was partially driven by a desire to have stayed or at least visited all of these storied colonial properties in Asia. The last one on the list would have to be The Strand in Myanmar or Burma for a future trip, perhaps.
The Metropole Hanoi has been restored and updated by the Sofitel group, and the hotel itself is quite stunning. Interior public spaces are sufficiently gussied up, there are large and small flower arrangements all over the place, and in the original lobby, pots filled with dozens of blooming phalaenopsis orchids. It is smaller in scale than other grand hotels, but you can almost feel the bygone era of guests arriving on horse-drawn carriages and their leather trunks unloaded and whisked up to their suites by some back stairwell, to be unpacked by well-trained butlers or valets. :) There is a small courtyard with restaurant and a pool and bar. A new wing houses modern takes (and more spacious rooms) on the original suites. We stayed on the club floor of the new wing.
The floral arrangements were very generous and reflect the abundant blooms from nearby farms or mountainside plantations. Staff were frequently refreshing the arrangements, and while overall they were impressive, I found several of them to be incredibly out of proportion for either their vases or their location. It’s a strange thing to notice, but it stood out like a sore thumb.
The entrance to our rather spacious room, with extra bed set up for the Teen.
Large bed, great linens and a very quiet, airy, comforting suite. This was pricey but nowhere near as extravagant as other hotels of this calibre… we got a deal where you stay 2 nights and get the third free, and overall it was quiet reasonable.
Our room had fresh fruit, and a nightly treat of freshly baked macarons, a very nice touch.
A very spacious bathroom, albeit glass fronted and quiet open. I am not a fan of these type of bathrooms, but it was beautifully appointed, with a very nice strong rain shower behind one of the frosted glass doors.
Nice amenities, including lots of Hermes shampoo, bath gels, soaps, etc.
The “lounge” on our floor, almost always completely deserted. A very pleasant place to have a quiet breakfast or hang out for a cup of tea in the late afternoon.
A photo of the street side cafe that has been around on and off (depending on government regulations over the decades) for over a hundred years. The perfect place to have a coffee or tea and watch Hanoi walk, bike or motorbike by…
Overall, we had a very nice stay, and thought it a 4/5 on the trip advisor scale (I sent in a review). While the property itself was beautiful and immaculately restored, there were several things about it that just didn’t seem full on. The use of lots of stickers cum wall paper of black and white images of old Hanoi on elevator doors, in lobbies, etc. just felt a bit odd. The service was okay but not terrific. We were supposed to have a personal butler and not once did we see him or her. Car arrangements were forgotten, or the porters not advised, tea didn’t show up when ordered and our airconditioner leaked a glass full of water near our luggage. I would still recommend the hotel if it’s your type of thing, but just be prepared for less than stellar service, and then perhaps you won’t notice the minor glitches here and there. They aren’t the number one hotel ratings wise in Hanoi, and I can see why that’s the case… But we did have drinks at the “number one” rated hotel and I can tell you at least its public spaces were very modest and small and it was located in the heart of the old quarter (kinda like being in the midst of quiapo)… it was half the price of the Metropole, but I was still pleased to be at the Metropole. :)
P.S., if you go, you must do the bomb shelter tour of the hotel’s recently rediscovered bomb shelter in the basement. It’s part history lesson and part bleak reality of war times and it’s quite fascinating.