It was a case of sixth time lucky – on my latest visit to Hanoi, I found the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in within Vietnam’s glorious capital city
I’ve been to Hanoi about six times now, and stayed everywhere from humble backpacker rooms to the posh likes of the Hilton. But I’d have to say the best place I’ve stayed in Hanoi is the most recent one – Hanoi Elegance 4. (For info on why I like Hanoi so much, see Don’t Miss: Hanoi plus My Favourite Hanoi Restaurants. You can also browse Tripadvisor’s useful Hanoi overview and traveller reviews).
Priced at around $55 US, the Hanoi Elegance is not rock bottom cheap, but for what you get it’s a bargain. First off, it’s located in the centre of the Old Quarter, but it’s – miracle of miracles – blissfully quiet, because the rooms don’t overlook a main road. Therefore you’re not woken up at 5 am by the endless parade of motorbikes.
Everything at the hotel is brand new at the moment, and while the rooms are small, everything is just so. There’s a flat screen TV over the comfy double bed with real cotton sheets, good closet space, a safety deposit box in the room, along with a kettle, fridge and free internet access on your own in room computer. The shower is powerful and hot and the bathroom super clean – it is basically the ideal set up if you want comfort without paying a fortune.
Our friends that we met in Hanoi were staying in the Junior Suite on the 8th floor, which was a bit bigger, with a DVD player and a balcony – it wasn’t lavish but it was worth the few extra dollars and was more a room to hang out in rather than simply sleep and shower.
The staff at Hanoi Elegance are also both extremely courteous and very helpful, with a good level of English and a real understanding of what tourists want. There are 4 of these hotels in the city and they must have realised they’ve hit a winning formula. They obviously want to sell you daytrips etc but are fairly priced.
The hotel is located just off Hang Manh, in a tiny alleyway called Yen Thai. We missed it the first time we drove past in the taxi. This travel agent is on the corner of the road and provides a good visual clue of where to turn off. (See the last photo in the gallery above for a picture of the travel agent). The hotel is literally a couple of steps down Yen Thai, so you can get the taxi to drop you on Hang Manh – a car won’t fit down the lane. To make things really easy, you can request the hotel to send a taxi to pick you up from the airport – which is around $18. You can get a taxi at the airport for around $6 from the Public Taxi booth outside Arrivals.
Other places I’ve stayed in Hanoi
Rising Dragon – well, failed to stay here as they completely screwed up our booking and tried to fob us off with a hideous attic room – not what I expected from the rave reviews it gets on Tripadvisor, so clearly I was unlucky
Lucky Star – this is where I first stayed in Hanoi in 2003 – back then it was $15 a night. Now it’s $40 a night for the same thing!
Hanoi Opera Hilton – an amazing neoclassical crescent-shaped building on the outside, a mediocre dump with crappy service on the inside. Overpriced, without atmosphere and certainly worth avoiding. if you want to splash your cash on neo-colonial splendour, the Hanoi Sofitel Metropole is the only way to go.
Hoa Binh Palace – awesome location on favourite eating street in the Old Quarter, Hang Be. The rooms are a little small for $80 but if you go mad and order the suite for $120 you get a huge room with its own work station and sofa and television set up, plus a jacuzzi (disappointly low pressure though).
Indochina by the Cathedral. Thought it would be quiet. Thought wrong. Lots of bike noise from early morning.