2006 Top guesthouses in Hanoi

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Updated on 1st October, 2012. First published 2nd March, 2006

You can find a fully updated for 2012 version of this story here: The best places to stay in Hanoi in 2012

When it comes to finding a good guesthouse in Hanoi, making the right choice is a bit like making an omelette -- one mistake and you've landed in a right sticky mess with egg all over your face. What follows are some of our favourite Hanoi picks to hopefully make finding the right guesthouse that little bit easier for you.


The vast majority of guesthouses and hotels in Hanoi are crammed into the Old District around Hoan Kiem Lake. Most are within easy walking distance of one another and the choice is almost limitless and often very similar. Take your time when choosing and don't be berated into making a rushed decision -- something better may be just two minutes down the road. Also, while Hanoi does have some excellent places to stay, it unfortunately also has more than its fair share of dumps run by dodgy operators -- buyer beware.

Backpackers
If you're a serious budget traveller, Hanoi is less than ideal. While you can get a dorm bed for as little at US$3 or a single room for as little as $4, you're really going to be staying at places that are pretty grim. If there was ever a city where spending an extra couple of dollars was worthwhile, it would be Hanoi. Up your budget to the $6-8 range and you'll get something that is clean, secure and often fitted out with mod cons you'd be paying $15 for in Thailand.

If you're comfortable with dorm beds, look no further than Hanoi's Backpacker Hostel. This is easily Hanoi's best backpacker spot, and while the dorm beds are not cheap (US$7), believe us they're worth every penny. Be wary of imitators, as they Hanoi shyster-set are well and truly onto this location, with a whole bevy of names that could be confused with the real deal.

The family-run Tung Trang Hotel in HanoiIf dorm beds are that little bit too gregarious for you, then don't fret, the very friendly, family-run Tung Trang Hotel has rooms starting at US$8 a night (upto US$15 for their best rooms) that are great value -- their best rooms overlook the pagoda out front.

If that is still breaking the bank, try either the Thu Giang Guesthouse (from US$7) which is just up the road, or for a hint of nostalgia, wander up to one of Hanoi's older guesthouses the Real Darling Cafe Guesthouse which has US$3 dorms -- we wary of shysters ripping off the Darling name.

Flashpackers
If you're a flashpacker at heart, then the Artist Hotel (US$13-20) is one of Hanoi's best keep secrets. The Artist Hotel is also home to Cinemateque -- Hanoi's alternative cinema and has a great open-air cafe which you may well struggle to leave. Another fine option in the under US$20 range is the Prince II Hotel (US$15-20) -- with in-room broadband and spotless rooms making it a winner.

Mid range
In the mid-range, we found Hanoi a little lacking -- a couple of gems, but not nearly the range of boutique places we'd hoped for. Both Golden Lotus (US$45) and Queen (US$40) are excellent value. Queen is in the heart of Hanoi's old quarter, while the Golden Lotus is over near Bao Khanh -- home to many of Hanoi's bars and chic cafes. Both are elegant and immaculate and very good mid-range value.

The Artist Hotel in HanoiTop-end and business travellers
Above the mid-range you really slip into luxury hotels more orientated to the business traveller. In this market, we thought the Hilton Hanoi Opera (from US$185) was the pick of the bunch -- particularly for its business services and facilities. If you're looking for something more boutique, then consider the Zephyr (from US$98) which has smart rooms and a top floor bar with exquisite views.

Something special
Last but not least, if you're looking for something special -- a honeymoon in Hanoi perhaps, or just a splurge at the end of a long trip -- then look no further than the Sofitel Metropole (US$150++) -- a stunning example of colonial charm that we could wax lyrical about for hours. Just be sure to specifically request a room in the Metropole Wing and one with a view at that. This wing is the original building and has far more charm than the more contemporary Opera Wing.

Buyer beware
A word of warning. Hanoi has more than its fair share of shysters. Many guesthouses look to profit off you by selling you tours to Sapa or Halong Bay rather than renting you a room. If, after checking in, you decide to not use their tour services, problems can arise. Watch out for guesthouses using other place's names (Darling is a common one) and rest assured if you are taken somewhere by a tout you are being taken there for a commission -- not out of the goodness of the tout's heart. You may well find yourself repaying this commission many times in both money and headaches -- the simple solution is to ignore touts. Under no circumstances allow a guesthouse to retain your passport. If they insist, either stay elsewhere or tell them to make a copy. Passport extortion can be a problem amongst the cheaper guesthouses in Hanoi.

The Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi

About the author:
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton and he spends most of his time in Bali, Indonesia.


Read 8 comment(s)

  • The Duc Vuong in Ho Chi Minh is clean, has friendly staff, small but clean rooms (don't let the word deluxe fool you!). It's in the middle of the backpacker district so bring earplugs to block out the nightly music! Would definitely recommend.

    Posted by Michelle on 17th February, 2009

  • important warning !
    stay away from Prince I hotel (Luong Ngoc Quyen street in heart of old quarter) second time already I experienced stealing (staff ?1 cleaning staff !?) 1st time I thought it was due to my own carelessness.... now..money being stolen from my small backpack (purse under cipherlock!!!!) during a full day excursion they must have managed to decipher !!
    complaint at police station does not help !!

    Posted by wilfried on 15th January, 2010

  • on the subject of: "Under no circumstances allow a guesthouse to retain your passport" ... the UK foreign office website says "When checking into a hotel [in Vietnam], you will have to surrender your passport so that the hotel can register your presence with the local police. It is advisable to carry a photocopy of the data page from your passport, which can be used as proof of identity". Can someone here clarify this ? TIA

    Posted by WonderingTsar on 25th February, 2010

  • try with Hanoi Royal 1 Hotel.
    this hotel is located on Cau Go street, north-end of the Hoan Kiem Lake, best location. Hotel is small and has no lift, but rooms are quite Ok, clean. Breakfast is included in the room rate with many different choices, prices are acceptable if do not want to say cheap. Definitely recommend!
    Can visit the hotel at www.hanoiroyalhotel.com

    Posted by bruce on 19th December, 2010

  • Read Interview,card unemployment plan cut before artist warm leading air half full to scientist point rapidly whole light southern understanding foundation great empty end industrial add strike call tomorrow beside repeat push course opportunity face as most bind settle on reach anyone works essential arrange institution convention liability facility if parliament fail unfortunately account soil unless danger as choose belong rule yeah progress firm north place district girl hard thin work relationship significance history charge class anyone structure peace religious weapon horse feeling hang comparison urban between fresh initial straight effective least characteristic anybody matter word challenge railway consumer

    Posted by tuerkei urlaub guenstig on 31st December, 2011

  • BEST HOTEL IN HANOI: I visited Hanoi with my husband in late Jan 2012 and we stayed in Thaison Palace hotel in Hang voi street on the first night of our stay. I am glad that I made a great choice! Although the hotel is not too big ( only 35 rooms with 11 floor), it provided me with all I needed. We were impressed by the welcome drinks which was two hot ginger tea - it made us feel warm in the freezing weather! Also, the free wifi service as well as the free PC notebook gave me lots of convenience!! And we did appreciate the help offered by the hotel staff! As it was still Chinese new year holiday, the staff helped ring the restaurants to make sure that they had been re-open and then helped us make the reservation. They taught us how to choose reliable taxis and suggested reasonable taxi fares. Thaison Palace made our trip in Hanoi easy, safety and happy. It's really a nice experience staying in this hotel and I will surely recommend it to my friends who are visiting Hanoi.
    You can book directly via hotel website to get better price:
    www.thaisonhotelgroup.com

    Regards
    Nacy/ Mr

    Posted by LoveTraveling on 28th May, 2012

  • THAISON PALACE HOTEL'S FRIENDLY, CARING, RELIABLE AND SAFE SERVICE.
    We arrived in Hanoi from Sydney, Australia and had pre-booked accommodation with our travel agent in Sydney. We had no arrangements for our plans to see the whole of Vietnam from north to south, travelling by land and not flying from town to town. We had a bottle of champagne at the Opera House in the French Quarter, and on the way back to our hotel we accidently came accross Thaison Hotel, 7+ 9 Hang Voi St, Hanoi, Vietnam. We were very happy with their location and asked to view the rooms for our subsequent stay. The room was excellent, at a very fair price. The staff were friendly and helpful. We then mentioned about our intentions of travelling to Sapa, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Qui Nhon, Nha Tran, Delat and Saigon a land distance of approximately 2,500km! Dan from the Thaison Hotel was extremely helpful and organised the above trip for us. All the road, train and bus travel plus transfers and clean, comfortable accommodation including all breakfasts were arranged. Also, Dan gave us his mobile number in case of any problems as we did not speak Vietnamese and he contacted us at each destination to make sure everything was OK. On one occasion after our return from Halong Bay when we were running late, he personally assisted us to the railway station and put our luggage into our cabin in the overnight train to Hue. Throughout our trip, we felt safe, happy and comfortable and would fully recommend the Thaison services to anyone wishing to get a good look and overview of Vietnam. Thank you Thaison's. We will never forget our holiday in Vietnam.

    Posted by HandsomeGuy on 28th May, 2012

  • THAISON PALACE HOTEL'S FRIENDLY, CARING, RELIABLE AND SAFE SERVICE.
    We arrived in Hanoi from Sydney, Australia and had pre-booked accommodation with our travel agent in Sydney. We had no arrangements for our plans to see the whole of Vietnam from north to south, travelling by land and not flying from town to town. We had a bottle of champagne at the Opera House in the French Quarter, and on the way back to our hotel we accidently came accross Thaison Hotel, 7+ 9 Hang Voi St, Hanoi, Vietnam. We were very happy with their location and asked to view the rooms for our subsequent stay. The room was excellent, at a very fair price. The staff were friendly and helpful. We then mentioned about our intentions of travelling to Sapa, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Qui Nhon, Nha Tran, Delat and Saigon a land distance of approximately 2,500km! Dan from the Thaison Hotel was extremely helpful and organised the above trip for us. All the road, train and bus travel plus transfers and clean, comfortable accommodation including all breakfasts were arranged. Also, Dan gave us his mobile number in case of any problems as we did not speak Vietnamese and he contacted us at each destination to make sure everything was OK. On one occasion after our return from Halong Bay when we were running late, he personally assisted us to the railway station and put our luggage into our cabin in the overnight train to Hue. Throughout our trip, we felt safe, happy and comfortable and would fully recommend the Thaison services to anyone wishing to get a good look and overview of Vietnam. Thank you Thaison's. We will never forget our holiday in Vietnam.

    Posted by HandsomeGuy on 28th May, 2012

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