The family recently went on a short break in Vietnam. From Ha Long Bay we stayed overnight in Hanoi before flying back to Manila. Prior to going to Ha Long Bay, we stayed in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. On our return to Hanoi, we decided to try the Sofitel Legend Metropole, a hotel with rich history dating back to even before the Vietnam War. Located in the border between the old town and the French quarter, the Metropole is an easy walk to many places. There are a number of good restaurants not only within the hotel, but around the hotel as well. It is also a short walk to the Hoàn Kiếm Lake, or the Sword Lake. I did a run here and it is approximately 2 kilometres around the lake.
The hotel opened in 1901 and since then famous people like Charlie Chaplin, Somerset Maugham (The Gentleman in the Parlour), Graham Greene (The Quiet American), Jane Fonda and more recently George W. Bush had stayed here. But is is Joan Baez’s recording of “Where are You Now, My Son” that seems to stand out in the hotel’s history for me. In this 21-minute recording, the sound of the bombing by American planes in the Christmas of 1972, can be heard in the background. The hotel has a bomb shelter of its own. And Joan was supposed to have hid in the basement during the US bombings. Unfortunately, we did not have the time to visit the shelter.
Checking in was quick as it was done in the top floor – the club floor. They had a number of amenities for its club floor guests like a chocolate buffet in the afternoon and the usual cocktail hour from 5:30 PM. Although there was a pianist during the cocktail hour, it’s what I call technically great playing, yet the pianist needed more soul. I also had the chance to sit out the late night jazz music which turned out to be a disappointment because the musicians talked among themselves longer than they played! And the performance? So-so. Anyway, more on this in another post.
The room we had on the 6th floor was spacious and the detached bathtub was a great touch. Internet was okay but I would have been more impressed if they had the sound system to allow an iPhone or iPod to connect. I think hotels of this level should already cater to interests of travellers who love to bring their music with them (streamed on external hard drives). The hotel’s gym has a good number of equipment; the only disadvantage is you need to go through the patio to reach it. This means if it rains, you’ll need an umbrella.
As expected, the service was excellent. We got prompt responses, and almost everyone spoke good English.
We didn’t stay long enough to have more to say. But the short stay has convinced to come back to this great hotel.