Sep 04 2013

Hanoi on a splurge

Published by at 1:32 pm under Hanoi


We’ve covered Hanoi on a tight budget, but what if you’ve got a few extra dong to rub together during your visit to the Vietnamese capital? If you want to mix some luxury in with your Hanoi exploring, here are some suggestions.

For lazy days.

For lazy days.

Firstly, you’ll want to check in somewhere beautiful. We have two favourite five-star hotels in Hanoi: the Sofitel Metropole Legend, which wins hands down for luxury, and the Intercontinental West Lake, a fabulous hotel as well —  in a winning location, with its pagodas projecting elegantly out into the lake and the charming Sunset Bar just ripe for a sundowner or three, it makes a great choice for a splurge.

For easy shopping, try Tan My Design on Hang Gai, where high-end versions of the souvenirs you’ll find elsewhere – along with a range of other items — are available in an air-conditioned, peaceful environment.

A bit of bling.

A bit of bling.

If you want to splurge on original art, then try the shops on Hang Gai near Tan My Designs, or along Trang Tien. And the designer shops in the Sofitel Metropole, near the Opera House and in the new Trang Tien Plaza are a luxury shopaholic’s dream.

A motorbike taxi or cyclo tour of Hanoi may not float your flash boat, so why not hire a classic car? The Sofitel Metropole hires out a classic Citroen car with driver for 2.2 million VND — per hour. Take a bottle of champers along with you for a really romantic (and yes, pricey) experience.

A treat for the tastebuds.

A treat for the tastebuds.

For the perfect combination of adventure and a treat, we’d highly recommend going on a half-day street food tour with Hanoi Street Food Tours. True, sitting on plastic stools is not very luxurious, but the food’s sensational and it’s all an absolute feast for the senses.

Still on the food theme — almost every five-star hotel in Hanoi does a buffet brunch at the weekend. The priciest option is the Sofitel Metropole’s Sunday brunch at 1.5 million VND ++, which gets you all the steak, salmon, oysters and caviar  you can eat, followed up by cheeses and a dessert platter. Throw in free-flow wine or champagne for an extra million or so. Or check out less pricey options at the Hanoi Hilton Opera or Movenpick Hotels.

Cheese heaven.

Cheese heaven.

Enjoying a cocktail with a lake view should be on your itinerary as well. We’d recommend either the rooftop of the Sofitel Plaza – surely the best view in Hanoi – or the Sunset Bar at the Intercontinental, where you can lounge on a bed while sipping a mojito and watching the sun set over West Lake. Not great in the rain, so fingers crossed for good weather.

If you like to indulge in a massage or three, Hanoi has a fair few spas. As usual, the Sofitel Metropole is the most indulgent, but others, including Zen Spa and Santal Spa on Xuan Dieu Street and Vincharm at Vincom Towers offer quality treatments as well.

No, it's not a massage chair.

No, it’s not a massage chair.

Finally — and back to food —  check out one of the two top steak restaurants in Hanoi: Jacksons and El Gaucho Argentinian Steakhouse. At the latter, world-class steaks run from a reasonable 450,000 VND up to 3 million VND — if you can eat a kilo of fillet. Let us know if you do. If steak’s not your thing, both offer other options, or try one of the other top end restaurants: Halia, Pots n Pans, La Verticale and La Badiane, to name but a few.

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