Aug 17 2011
When visiting Hanoi, most tourists stay in Old Quarter, and for good reason: it’s here that the majority of the hotels, Westernised restaurants and souvenir shops are located and of course it has heaps of character, local life and the attraction of Hoan Kiem Lake. But if you’re the sort of traveller who likes to buck the trend other accommodation options are scattered all over the city.
Travelfish.org lists a few places that are outside Old Quarter, although they’re just round the edges: the Hilton Hanoi Opera, Metropole and Zephyr are upmarket options just south of the lake and The Drift is your best budget/dorm option.
Further afield the Intercontinental, Sheraton and Sofitel Plaza service those seeking luxury. The Intercontinental, with its upmarket stilt houses jutting out into West Lake, is a particularly deluxe option and located within walking distance of the the expat-friendly street Xuan Dieu, with its Western shops and restaurants. That said, there’s plenty of local life to be found in the nearby alleys and a walk along the lakeside is a pleasant way to spend a few hours.
Near the Intercontinental and Sheraton you’ll find ‘Daluva Home’ and ‘Daluva Guest House’ which look like stunning options, particularly if you’re looking for a longer-term stay. They’re so booked up that I’m yet to get in to see one of their rooms, but I’ll write more when I do. Needless to say, book in advance.
Another area worth a look is between the northernmost edge of Old Quarter and Truc Bach lake. Still within easy travel distance of Old Quarter and the other tourist spots, the streets are a little wider and the street kitchens more prevalent. There are heaps of hotels within a 300m stretch along Nguyen Truong To — I had a look at Hotel Sen Thanh Long (450,000 VND and 600,000VND) and Van Hoa Hotel (US$25) and rooms at both were clean and well-equipped, although nothing fancy.
If you want to be nearer the hub of Truc Bach, then the A25 hotel (part of the chain that also has one on Hang Thiec) on Chao Long, next to Bookworm and Hanoi Cooking Centre, is a decent bet. The room I saw was small and windowless but had a decent TV, a shower cubicle and equipped with all the little things you might need — including branded toothbrushes and snacks. Prices start at about 500,000VND.
If you want to get completely away from all things foreign then it’s a case of doing some legwork and finding a nha nghi. They’re scattered all over the city for one main reason: it’s where young — or old — lovers go when they want some privacy. And yes, you can rent rooms by the hour. Despite their reputation, they usually provide a cheap bed for the night — although you will probably get some strange looks when you walk in and likely be overcharged (or offered extra services).
Sheraton Hotel Hanoi
K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Hanoi
T: (04) 3719 9000
1A Nghi Tam, Hanoi
1 Thanh Nien Road, Hanoi
Daluva Guest House
10 Ho Ham Long Alley, Lane No. 1 Au Co Street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
33 To Ngoc Van Street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Sen Thang Long Hotel
63 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
T: (04) 3716 3233
Van Hoa Hotel
97C Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
T: (090) 344 2180 / (04) 3829 2025
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