The Spanish chain’s sole property in Hanoi forms part of a green-glass, two-tower complex comprising an office block and the part-cylindrical hotel. Opened in 1999 in the Hoan Kiem district, its location puts it within a five-kilometer radius of the city’s government offices, embassies, and the business district, and a short walk around Hoan Kiem Lake to the Old Quarter. European-style interiors are tempered with some local influences, such as the depiction of pagodas and traditional gateways on the central column and on giant murals in the salmon-colored lobby. Flashes of art deco appear, from the pillars at El Patio restaurant to the wall sconces at Cava Lounge. Rooms are generally calming, in soothing shades of gray and cream, with the occasional brighter hue in a bedcover design. Marquee Club, on the third floor, is a nighttime haunt that attracts young Hanoians intent on drinking and dancing.
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The hotel sits in the French Quarter section of Hoan Kiem District, the city’s most walkable area, with wide roads, tree-lined streets, and belle epoque villas that the French built to replace old Vietnamese buildings during the era of Indochina. A few hundred feet from the Meliá is Hoa Lo prison, built by the French in the 1880s and also known as Maison Centrale. The prison was mostly demolished in the 1990s, though part of it was converted into a museum; exhibits include a guillotine room, areas that held political prisoners, and John McCain’s parachute and flight suit. Reached by foot from the hotel in about 10 minutes, the Confucian Temple of Literature was home to Vietnam’s first university, constructed in 1070. It will look familiar to anyone who regularly handles Vietnam’s currency—one of its pavilions is reproduced on the back of the 100,000-dong note.
Need to Know
Rooms: 238 rooms, 68 suites. From $300. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: On the ground floor, El Patiotreads the themed-buffet path, including Mediterranean (Tuesdays), Latino (Thursday), and seafood (Fridays and Saturdays). El Oriental specializes in Vietnamese and Thai cuisine, while Cava Lounge, next to the lobby, courts the cocktail crowd. Spa and gym details: The third-floor fitness center offers all the standard equipment and is open 6 a.m.–10 p.m. The spa has three treatment rooms; its compact, diverse menu includes oxygen facials and a body scrub with Dead Sea salts.
Who's it for: Corporate travelers, on account of the location; retirees preferring a large, central property with a range of facilities. Our favorite rooms: Level Premium Rooms have the most memorable city views. Worthwhile upgrade: Splurge the extra $75 (based on two people) for a Level category room. These come with complimentary afternoon tea, nibbles, and drinks throughout the day, a couple of items of free laundry daily, and late checkout.