Each time I’ve been to Hanoi, I’ve looked to the Hoan Kiem District, the Old Quarter, for a place to stay. Each time I’ve landed where the charm of Vietnam is part of the allure. The Hanoi City Palace Hotel, in the heart of the district, blends the sensibility of Vietnamese style decor and building design with a nod to Western tastes and comfort.
This boutique hotel’s facade and lobby with its ornate marble and granite embellishments has a notice me vibe that is toned down a bit in the guest rooms to tasteful subdued. Our room on the third floor, overlooking the bustle of Hang Bong St., did not let in the street noise thanks to double doors, but served as a clean, comfortable, and a deliciously cool refuge. Given that the temperature each day was smack dab in the middle of sweltering, the room’s conditioning served as a wondrous respite every time we settled in for the night or took a break from sight-seeing.
Because I opted for the family suite with a king and a double bed for my teen son and me, we had plenty of space to spread out during our three night stay. A wardrobe, long dresser and a large desk provided storage and surfaces to tuck away our belongings. If there were four of us instead of two, we still would not have felt crowded. This room has enough space for a roll-a-way bed as well.
The complimentary instant coffee, tea and bottled water amenities were replenished each day. Toothbrushes, toothpaste and shampoo are also provided, as well as a pair of simple slippers that guests are free to take. Our bathroom was huge and, like the room, offered space to spread out belongings. The hotel’s palace motif showed up in the bathroom. The toilet sort of looked like a throne and the sink matched the ornate style. We did take advantage of the cable TV and the free Wi-Fi.
Along with the hotel’s thumbs up air-conditioning that worked like a charm, the staff was helpful and friendly. James, who I talked with the most, pointed me towards the restaurants as popular to locals as to tourists and to the best rate money exchange. In a pinch, change money at the hotel, but the best rates are elsewhere. Likewise, you can book tours at the hotel, but I found rates better at any of the tour companies that seem to be on every block. If you don’t see one, your eyes are closed.
Each tour company has a books filled with tour options and from what I gather each company has roughly the same books with the same prices. I was so hot on most days, I stopped being so diligent in getting the most bang for the buck. Traveling in Vietnam is so inexpensive nothing seems pricey–except for cyclo rides. Be prepared to bargain before you ever climb into a seat.
Another reason I chose the Hanoi Palace Hotel, along with the price, the family size room and the location, was the free breakfast served in the small dining room style restaurant. The hot breakfast is the order off the menu version. Everything was good, but the pancakes are the most notable. My son was particularly pleased with the pancake drizzled with chocolate syrup. Not a huge breakfast person, I opted for the flaky croissant and bacon. Each order comes with fresh fruit. Dragonfruit, papaya, grapes, fresh pineapple and bananas were served over the course of three days. Coffee, juice and tea are included. Because the hotel has only 18 guest rooms, we were able to find a seat no matter what time we came for breakfast during the time it’s served.
The cost for our room using Hotels.com was $36.36 per night. Our total bill for three nights was $126 which included taxes and fees. The price was at a 65% special offer discount. We were here in June. You can also book directly at the hotel website.