Significant landmark hotels have big expectations behind them, and the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is certainly no exception. What’s remarkable here, and what distinguishes the Metropole in Southeast Asia, is the incredible preservation of its historic North Vietnam sense of place as the hotel of choice for writers, celebrities and diplomats since it opened in 1901.
Although the Sofitel Metropole Hanoi has been thoroughly renovated, the feeling of stepping into another age is palpable in both the French colonial exterior and the original elegant lobby. The latter blends a dark wood backdrop with classic fine furnishings and artifacts from its storied history displayed on walls and in cases. The feeling of being enveloped in history is the crux of why we love this hotel for families — staying at the Metropole is an experiential part of exploring Hanoi, not just a bed for the night or another luxury hotel with great service. Talk about hotels with history — there’s even a bomb shelter from the Vietnam War, found under the bar during the recent renovation, that you can tour with a guide.
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To be clear, the Metropole Hanoi is educational and glorious. In addition to its history, there’s much to love about the luxurious amenities at this property with or without children in tow.
The 354 rooms and suites offer plenty of accommodation shapes and sizes, with different bed configurations and connecting rooms. The Metropole Wing is the original section of the hotel, with colonial finishes like plantation shutters and fans, while the newer Opera Wing is neoclassical in style and feels more contemporary. Regardless, all rooms have beautiful bathrooms and the latest electronics. There’s also an executive floor with 24-hour butler service and a lounge.
We could not get enough of the Bamboo Bar. This exotic open-air bar and lounge, which overlooks the pool and the hotel’s old-world interior facade, is magnificent. We loved sitting here for a light lunch in the afternoon and drinks in the evening. Like everything at the Metropole, the Bamboo Bar inspires guests simply to sit and adequately soak it all in.
There’s also an incredible salon in Le Club, where the staff serves tea and hosts a chocolate buffet in the afternoon that is a child’s dream come true.
Breakfast in Le Beaulieu is an East-meets-West buffet and may be one of the best spreads we’ve had anywhere in the world. Dim sum, in-house baked goods worthy of the most discerning French bread lover, fruit, eggs and, of course, pho (the traditional Vietnamese noodle bar) are all extravagantly presented. The only crime is that we had to leave early each day and couldn’t really savor all the options.
We didn’t have a chance to eat at the Metropole’s other outlets, which include French and Italian restaurants.
There is a decent-size pool in a lovely courtyard that is key for families who need to escape the motorbike chaos of the streets of Hanoi. There’s also a well-equipped gym and spa offering massages, a hammam and a sauna.
TIP: The bomb shelter that was used by guests and staff during the war can only be toured with a guide at specific times of day. Be sure and book this well ahead of time. It’s small but fascinating to explore and imagine crowding in here during air raids.
The French Quarter location of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is excellent. Families can easily walk to the Opera House and Hanoi’s Old Quarter from here.
Editor’s Note: Amie received a media rate to review the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi for families. As always, our thoughts and opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy and Sofitel Legend Metropole.
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