A landmark in Hanoi’s French Quarter since opening in 1901, this colonial building with distinctive green shutters and gleaming vintage Citroën Traction cars out front has welcomed presidents, ambassadors, and literary and cinematic royalty to its marble lobby. Graham Greene wrote The Quiet American while staying here, and Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard celebrated their honeymoon at the property. Rooms are divided between two wings. The historic Metropole section has decor shaped by French architecture and accented with touches of Vietnam: wood floors, louver windows, languid ceiling fans, bird-cage lampshades, and porcelain light fixtures. The newer Opera wing, opened in 1996 just across the traffic circle from the Opera House, has a strong neoclassical edge, with rooms in red, black, and white. All accommodations have supremely comfortable down-and-feather mattresses to lull guests. The bar La Terrasse, with a green awning, filigree ironwork, and tables and chairs on an outdoor wood deck, places a Parisian café in the tropics.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
The Hoan Kiem district, and especially the French Quarter within it (home to the Sofitel), is one of the most pedestrian-friendly parts of the city, with wide sidewalks and plenty of sights. At Hoan Kiem Lake, one block from the hotel, Hanoians rise early to do tai chi, aerobics, or jogging, and on weekends newlyweds come to take wedding shots. It’s one of the city’s best people-watching hangouts and is also where the iconic red Huc Bridge is located. The columned Hanoi Opera House, visible from some hotel rooms, was built by the French administration in the early 1900s and modeled on the Palais Garnier in Paris. A few steps away, the Vietnam National Museum of History, housed in a former French school, presents exhibits that trace the country’s dynastic past.
Need to Know
Rooms: 342 room, 22 suites. From $250. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: Marble and parquet floors, large windows with views of Ngo Quyen street, and Vietnamese-inflected French fare are the norm at Le Beaulieu—think foie gras with smoked duck, coq au vin, and Nha Trang lobster thermidor. Bright with candy-colored light fixtures, Spices Gardensfocuses on Vietnamese cuisine from the country’s various regions, with staples like the meat-noodle soup pho, spring rolls, and the lemongrass-scented dishes of the imperial capital Hue. Amid interiors that are decidedly nightclubby, Angelinadoles out Ligurian minestrone and pancetta-wrapped lamb loin with sautéed fava and cannellini beans. The afternoon chocolate buffet at the Club Bar, with pralines, ganache, éclairs, and a chocolate fountain, pulls in the city’s cocoa junkies. Located next to the pool, and populated with wicker chairs, Bamboo Baris a relaxing spot for cocktails or a scoop of ice cream. Spa and gym details: Set near the pool, the gym is open 5 a.m.–10 p.m. and has Life Fitness bikes and cardio equipment, plus the usual roster of other gear. The 4,000-square-foot, two-story Le Spa has seven treatment rooms and uses Clarins and Ytsara products, oil blends, and essences from French perfumer Laurent Severac. The spa has a steam bath and sauna, and it offers treatments like "Dawn on Halong Bay," an organic facial with a blend of green-tea and bamboo-shoot extract that incorporates Vietnamese Dien Cham (face reflexology).
Who's it for: Visitors to Hanoi with an interest in the city’s colonial past; anybody on a grand Asia tour. Our favorite rooms: The Metropole Wing’s three suites—named for past guests Graham Greene, Somerset Maugham, and Charlie Chaplin—come with a private garden and truly amplify the hotel’s heritage appeal. Their interiors and history should provide ample material for a short story. Underground history: Book the hotel’s free daily history and bomb shelter tour in advance since participation is limited to 10 guests per day. The bomb shelter served to protect guests from air raids during what the Vietnamese know as the American War (1964–1973). It was closed and sealed after combat ended, but was rediscovered during the 2011 renovation of the Bamboo Bar.
Fine linens, work desk in rooms, minibar, coffee and tea, mineral water
Flat screen TV with VCR, WiFi in room, direct dial telephone
Angelina Restaurant and Lounge - International cuisine; Le Beaulieu Restaurant - French cuisine; Spices Garden Restaurant - Regional Vietnamese fare
Bamboo Bar - Poolside bar with cocktails, light snacks and desserts, juice and teas; La Terrasse Du Metropole - Inspired by Parisian cafes, live music on weekend evenings; Le Club located in the courtyard garden, features a chocolate buffet and daily jazz performances.
Fitness Center and pool on-site
Le Spa du Metropole - combines eastern and western treatment styles; hair salon
Room service available, butler service with Club Metropole access
Opera Wing, Premium Room
Located in the modern Opera Wing, these rooms feature elegant wood floors, bright interior design, and a contemporary bathroom. Rooms can feature a queen-sized bed or two single beds, and some include a patio. Rooms are 344 square-feet and offer flat-screen TVs and Internet access.
Opera Wing, Grand Premium Room
Located in the modern Opera Wing, Grand Premium Rooms include a contemporary interior and an open-plan design. Rooms are 517 square-feet and include Club Metropole benefits like butler service, Internet access, afternoon tea, cocktails and late checkout based on availability. Rooms come equipped with a queen bed or two single beds.
Historical Wing, Luxury Room
Located in the hotel’s Historical Wing, Luxury Rooms feature distinctive 1920’s French decor, natural wooden floors and spacious bathrooms with separate standing shower. Rooms feature a queen sized bed or two single beds. Rooms are 344 square-feet and offer flat-screen TVs and Internet access.
Historical Wing, Grand Luxury Room
Located in the hotel’s Historical Wing, Grand Luxury Rooms feature French classical architecture, natural wooden floors, and spacious bathrooms with separate standing showers. Rooms include a queen-sized bed or two single beds. Rooms are 398 square-feet and offer flat-screen TVs and Internet access.
Opera Wing, Prestige Suite
Located in the modern Opera Wing, the Prestige Suite includes a king bed wooden floor, bathroom with standing shower and Club Metropole benefits like butler service, Internet access, afternoon tea, cocktails and late checkout based on availability. Suite is 698 square feet.
Opera Wing, Grand Prestige Suite
Located in the modern Opera Wing, the Grand Prestige Suite offers residential style accommodations with a private spa therapy room. The suite has hosted high profile, celebrity guests and can become a two bedroom space on request. Suite includes Club Metropole benefits like butler service, Internet access, afternoon tea, cocktails and late checkout based on availability.
Historical Wing, Legendary Suite
Named for previous guests Somerset Maugham, Charlie Chaplin and Graham Green, these suits are located in the historical wing and feature Club Metropole benefits like butler service, Internet access, afternoon tea, cocktails and late checkout based on availability.