The Hotel Metropole in Hanoi is renowned for its regional Vietnamese cuisine. Sign up for a “Culinary Journey” and accompany the chef to a local market. After lunch at Spices Garden restaurant, retreat to the kitchen to prepare some of the dishes you just ate, including pho.
From $150. This appeared in the May 2013 issue.
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The magic of the Metropole
With its style, atmosphere, and history, Hanoi's Metropole is simply one of the region's most unforgettable experiences (the ceiling fans alone are to die for)--even if you just pop in for some tea at the cafe.
Ask for a room in their historic wing, rather than their modern annex. Excellent hotel to use as your base: the lake is just a couple blocks away, and makes for the best walking/running track in town. Concierge desk was very helpful, esp., making restaurant reservations, and providing directions. I never touched the door coming in or out - service is stellar here.