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Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, buzzes with life, from the ancient chaos of the Old Quarter's markets to the modern chaos of the traffic system. The Old Quarter is a wonderfully uninterrupted warren of colonial and pre-colonial architecture, and there are few buildings that are over five storeys high. And this is also where you'll find some of the best places to stay in Hanoi.
There's a wonderful east meets west look to Hanoi, the gardens and riverside markets are quintessentially Asian, but the boulevards are positively Parisian. Which makes sense considering the French made Hanoi the capital of all of French Indochina from the 1880s to the 1950s.
Hanoi offers a wealth of sightseeing pleasures, but some of the 'must-sees' are:
- Hoan Kiem Lake, a peaceful green space in the centre of town where people flock to do t'ai chi;
- The magical 11th Century Temple of Literature dedicated to Confucius;
- the Hoa Lo Prison, ironically nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton by American P.O.W.s and a relic of both the war of independence from France and the one against the US;
- the Bach Ma Temple, the oldest temple in the city;
- Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum,
- and of course, as many street markets as you can realistically fit in.
Hanoi also has a number of excellent museums, including one to Ho Chi Minh, an Army Museum and an Air Force Museum, several museums charting Vietnam's history - one specialising in the revolution, and a Fine Arts Museum. And some impressive temples.
It's also a wonderful place to go to the theatre, why not try the unique water puppet theatre, which tells traditional stories using wooden puppets dancing on water. It's also a great place to polish your culinary skills. And then of course there are the markets...
- The Hotel Metropole gives a luxurious French colonial welcome in a not particularly luxurious city. Close to the centre of town, this is a 360+ room hotel, so there's a number of dining options and an extensive spa menu with both Eastern and Western style therapies.
Best Hotels in Hanoi
Hotel Garden Queen 9 rooms from $43Hanoi (Hoan Kiem)
A charming little hotel full of character and antiques. Oriental throws adorn the beds, whilst exposed brickwork give rooms a vintage feel. Unbeatable location slap bang in the busy old quarter is a bonus whilst the tranquil roof terrace allows you to get away from it all. Delicious local cuisine.Local markets - Hang Ngang-Hang Dao Market is a bustling bounty of clothes, pottery and Banh mi.Sights nearby - The peaceful pagodas of Ngoc Son Temple are a must visit.Great walks - Perambulate the scenic Hoan Kiem Lake.Full of character
Maison d'Orient 12 rooms from $44Hanoi (Hoan Kiem)
A small, and perfectly formed, boutique hotel in the heart of the Old Quarter. Chic rooms feature hardwood floors, clean design and large double windows leading onto private balconies. A real gem of a hotel, at an excellent price, to explore the city from.Value chic - A beautifully renovated property in the heart of the old town.Local exploring - Well positioned to access many of Hanoi's sights by foot.Sights nearby - Walking distance from St Joseph Cathedral and Hoan Kiem Lake.
Maison d'Hanoi Boutique Hotel 38 rooms from $47Hanoi (Hoan Kiem District)
A contemporary boutique hotel in the heart of the Old Quarter. Well appointed rooms are minimal in design with large windows and crisp white linen. Vietnamese or international cuisine is served at the restaurant. Well located and with a very reasonable price tag. An ideal spot for city exploring.City Style - Slick, contemporary and in a great location to access Hanoi's best restaurants, nightlife and attractions.Sights nearby - Visit the impressive St Joseph's Cathedral.Great walks - Take a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake.
Church Boutique Hotel 44 rooms from $47Hanoi (Hoan Kiem District)
A calm, quiet escape in the charmingly chaotic old quarter of Hanoi. Unique Vietnamese architecture combined with expressive decor and artistry. Crisp clean comfy beds and spectacular service make this a memorable experience. The Piano Bar is a lovely spot to unwind with a cocktail.Value chic - It's unbeatable value in the heart of the city, with doubles from as little as £40 per night including breakfast.Local markets - Explore the the shops in the Old Quarter, each street specialises in a different product from coffee to silk scarves.Great walks - Take a break from the hectic streets and wander around around Hoan Kiem lake.Sights nearby - Just ten miniutes from the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum.Recommended by - I Escape
Golden Silk Boutique Hotel 55 rooms from $65Hanoi (Hoan Kiem District)
An elegant hotel situated in Hanoi's Old Quarter. Chic rooms feature rosewood floors, enormous beds and large works of Vietnamese art. Uber modern bathrooms complete with bathtub. A vietnamese fusion restaurant, rooftop bar and piano bar. Well priced and located. An excellent city joint.City Style - Contemporary Vietnamese design with gorgeous bathrooms and well located particularly for hitting the shops.Sights nearby - Visit the nearby Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum or One Pillar Pagoda.Great walks - Take an evening stroll around Hoan Kiem lake.Local markets - Shop for silk products on Hang Gai.
Essenced Hanoi 24 rooms from $69Hanoi (Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Dist.)
A well designed hotel in Hanoi's Old Quarter. White rooms with dark furniture and luxurious bathrooms. Delicious Vietnamese cuisine is served in the restaurant alongside western fare. An indulgent spa mixes ancient philosophies and modern techniques. Well located and priced for city exploring.Local exploring - A stylish hotel in the heart of the Old Quarter ideally placed for accessing the best street life and shopping.Great walks - Take a meander around the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake.Local markets - Delve into the bustling Dong Xuan market.Spa
Anise Hotel 42 rooms from $75Hanoi (Ba Dinh)
A contemporary hotel at the bottom end of Hoan Kiem lake. Smartly designed rooms with crisp linen, local art and plush bathrooms. A restaurant located on the 11th floor boasts great city views. A gym, bar and business centre. A chic choice.City Style - A chic hotel in a lovely part of the city.Local markets - Get a taste of the real Hanoin life at the bustling Dong Xuan Market.Sights nearby - Walking distance from the Hochiminh mausoleum.Great walks - Take an evening stroll around Hoan Kiem lake.
Movenpick Hanoi 154 rooms from $94Hanoi (Hoan Kiem District)
Modern and convenient business hotel a short walk from Hanoi's major attractions including Hoan Kiem Lake and the bustling Old Quarter. A great choice for those travelling on business, but who are keen to experience some of the city too!Sights nearby - 5 mins to city centre and Old Quarter
Hilton Hanoi Opera 268 rooms from $101Hanoi
Brilliantly located in the heart of Hanoi’s French quarter, at the centre of the elegant Hoan Kiem district. Simple rooms with modern conveniences and an outdoor pool. The on site restaurants serve a mix of Vietnamese and European dishes. Within walking distance of the bustling old quarter.Local markets - Explore the streets of the famous Old Quarter, where you will find everything from great food to silk scarves.Sights nearby - Right next to the French-colonial Hanoi Opera House.Great walks - Take a stroll down to Hoan Kiem LakeLively - Hip and happening.
InterContinental Hanoi Westlake 318 rooms from $136Hanoi (Nghi Tam)
A star on Hanoi’s hotel scene, the Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake offers all the luxurious amenities you’d expect from the five-star hotel group. Boasting three restaurants serving modern Vietnamese fare and fine Italian, as well as an atmospheric roof top bar. Rooms are chic and classic.Cooking classes - Hanoi is all about the food and you can take home those flavours at the Hanoi Cooking Centre.Sights nearby - The 800 year old Kim Lien (Golden Lotus) Pagoda is just around the corner.Great walks - Embark on a walking food tour of Hanoi.Spa
Hotel Metropole 364 rooms from $147Hanoi (Hoan Kiem District)
This hotel puts a genuine smile on your face – a dollop of pure luxury and welcome in a not-very-luxurious city. The original Hanoi "Grand Dame" with French Colonial style throughout. Various dining options and pampering spa. An oasis in the centre of frenetic Hanoi.Sights nearby - In the centre of Hanoi just 160m from the famous Hanoi Opera House and close to Hoan Kiem Lake.Spa - Offering a range of Eastern and Western therapiesCooking classes - Learn Vietnamese cuisineSwimming Pool - Outdoor heated poolRecommended by - Tablet
InterContinental Hanoi Westlake Village 318 rooms from $147Hanoi (Tay Ho district)
Perched above the waters of the historic Westlake boasting suites with balconies looking over the lake or pool. Offering classic luxury in a truly tranquil setting for the purposes of business or leisure. There are three restaurants offering Vietnamese and Italian cuisine.Romantic Break - Lovely lakeside suites, romantic outdoor dining and boat trips along the lake make this a perfect romaantic break.Sights nearby - Right next to the 800-year-old Kim Lien (Golden Lotus) Pagoda.Local markets - Get lost in the rabbit warren type streets of the Old Quarter.Lively - Hip and happening.
Sofitel Legend Metropole 364 rooms from $147Hanoi (Hoàn Kiếm)
An iconic and historic hotel nestled in the French Quarter across from the Hanoi Opera House. The rooms ooze colonial charm with French windows, hardwood floors and effortless style. Some of the finest food in Hanoi, and plenty of glamour.Great walks - Stroll round Hoan Kiem Lake and check out the famous red bridge and the temple in the centre of itCooking classes - Check out the cookery class at the hotel, half-day and full-day courses are availableLocal markets - Get lost and find some great deals at Dong Xuan market, Hanoi’s largest.Sights nearby - Just around the corner find the famed and historic Hanoi Opera House.Recommended by - Kiwi Collection, Tablet, Fodors, I Escape
Hotel de L'Opera 107 rooms from $190Hanoi (Hoan Kiem district)
A luxury property in Hanoi's Old Quarter. Hip contemporary design runs throughout. Dramatic paintings reside above the bed that features an impossibly thick mattress. Dark pink furniture brings splashes of colour. An elegant bar and classic Vietnamese restaurant. One of Hanoi's finest.City Style - A truly elegant hotel merging French colonial style with modern Vietnamese vibrancy.Sights nearby - Visit the Cathedral of St Joseph and the Temple of Literature.Great walks - Take a walk around the serene Hoan Kiem Lake.Swimming Pool - Indoor Pool.Recommended by - Tablet