There are probably 300 perfectly adequate places to lay your head down in Hanoi, Vietnam, but Hotel de L’Opera, part of French chain Accor’s Mgallery collection, is an artsy 107-room hotel with far more pizazz than most.
This is a design hotel that gets it right. While everything is beautiful and stylish, form doesn’t trump function. The furniture is comfortable—not just pretty. It’s easy for a non-techie to dim the lights or turn up the air conditioning in the room. The three quick elevators are sufficient to serve the eight floors of rooms. And best of all, the staffers are smiling and helpful, with no hipster attitude.
This makes sense for a hotel catering to such a wide range of guests. With a 50/50 mix of leisure and business travelers, executives from the World Bank and international export companies mix with tourists visiting Hanoi as couples or families. Part of that mix is due to the terrific location: a block from the Hanoi Opera House, two blocks from Hoan Kiem Lake, and walking distance to both the French Quarter and Old Quarter of the city. Almost every place you want to see or eat at when you come to Hanoi is close by. (That includes the city’s most famous ice cream shop with the locals, where a coconut ice cream cone will set you back 60 cents.)
The first impression here is a strong one, with the rectangular lobby past check-in containing dramatic lights and curvy couches, with ample seating for a crowd. Past that is the equally striking La Fée Verte lounge, which offers a surprisingly long list of complicated cocktails, one page of them made using absinthe, something you certainly don’t see every day. (The name means “The Green Fairy”—a nickname for Absinthe.) All the ones we sampled were expertly prepared.
Hotel de L’Opera Hanoi Rooms
Rooms come in four categories, varying in size and layout. Step up one level to Grand Deluxe from the lowest-priced standards (Deluxe) and you get an entrance foyer/dressing area off the bath. The Suites and corner Grand Suites are a great value, with separate living rooms in the former and even more space plus a kitchenette, half bath and Opera House view in the latter. Suites also get a separate tub and shower in the larger baths, plus the Grand Suites have a flat-screen TV at the end of the bed that goes down into its pedestal at the flip of a switch.
All contain extremely comfortable pillow-top mattress beds, handy reading lights on a twisty white stem, and flat-screen TVs with a silver frame around them—nice touch. Minibars, robes, electronic safes, and a wide range of French toiletries are standard. Doors open with a touch of the key card and there are switches to turn on “Do not disturb” or “Make up my room” from the inside.
In a welcome change from many top-end hotel chains, there’s no charge for internet access here, either wired with the supplied ethernet cable or by Wi-Fi in the room or public areas.
Hotel de L’Opera Diversions
The swimming pool on the third floor is an indoor-outdoor affair, with the pool itself being covered and enclosed when the rains come, but with cushioned lounge chairs outside for sunning. The adjacent fitness center has a variety of cardio equipment, one weight machine, and some dumbbells.
We tried the buffet breakfast (often included in the rates) and lunch at the main Cafe Lautrec restaurant. Both the food and service were excellent and the French influence really comes out in the bread and pastries here. This is one of those rare places in Hanoi where the familiar and the local are both done well.
There’s a tour desk on site to arrange local sightseeing trips or ones further afield to say, Ha Long Bay. Metered taxis are always waiting next to the small entrance way so you can pay a reasonable rate without having to go haggle on the street.
While the top luxury choice in Hanoi is and may always be the sister Metropole a block away, year-old Hotel de L’Opera should be the top choice if you’re looking for style and comfort at a surprisingly reasonable price. Published rates are $150 to $300 and you can often find internet specials starting at around $120 double.
Book HOTEL DE L OPERA HANOIdirect at the hotel website.
Review and photos by Hotel Scoop editor and Travel Writing 2.0 author Tim Leffel, who was hosted at Hotel de L’Opera while researching a magazine story on Hanoi.