Nov 08 2012
Maybe Hanoi’s Church Boutique Hotel heard me complaining about it looking tired and dated when I last passed through here for Travelfish.org, as not only have they opened another hotel on nearby Hang Gai Street, the original Nha Tho location has been completely refurbished — and my jaw hit the floor when I saw the transformation.
Hotels in Hanoi change regularly. Sometimes it’s a name change, other times a bit of tidying up and a paint job, and very occasionally they rip it all out and start again. The Church falls into the latter category. I was assured that the management is still the same, but they have really upped their game.
The building is still the same building, the room layout is the same and the door is still opened by a uniformed doorman, or if you’re as lucky as I was, two of them. (I didn’t take offense that they thought I needed two doors’ width to get in.)
But gone are the tatty carpets and the dark wood fittings, to be replaced with mirrored walls, lots of white, large black and white photos and an overall touch of glamour… even bling. The designers haven’t got it all right; in my non-interior designer opinion for example, the carpets are too heavy and elaborate and there are a few too many patterns going on, but if you want a change from more traditional Vietnamese style and can’t stand laminated wood wardrobes then this could be the place for you. It’s not quite Maison d’Hanoi but that’s where it’s trying to be.
The heavy use of white and mirrors is definitely an advantage when it comes to the smallest of the rooms; despite their size and having only a small window the rooms don’t feel at all claustrophobic, although they do lack storage. If you want more space, upgrade to a slightly larger room at the front or a suite. Bathrooms are now modern black and white affairs. Some are compact, but still squeeze in a large sink, a big-enough shower cubicle and plenty of fluffy white towels.
The dramatic change continues into the restaurant area. A small room I once likened to a 1970s-era bar is now is a huge bar and restaurant area, complete with a water feature — and a non-offensive one at that — and plenty of space. The buffet breakfast — included in room rates — is served in this area and it seems they are also trying to tempt in outside diners. While a very enticing environment, the menu is however uninspiring and poorly presented, and with all the other options nearby this could be a challenge.
Overall Church Boutique Hotel is now well worth a look. It’s a bit on the pricey side compared to what you can get for your money in terms of space on nearby Hang Trong, for example at Golden Lotus or Golden Rice Hotels, but if contemporary styling is to your taste you’ll be as wowed as I was. Standard doubles go for US$70, superiors are $80 and suites $120
Other similarly designed branches are on Hang Giay and Hang Ca.
9 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem
T: (04) 3928 8118
F: (04) 04 3828 5793
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.