See what’s it’s like to experience five-star luxury at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, the grandest hotel in Vietnam’s capital city.
Many visitors only see one side of Hanoi – the vibrant metropolis where motorbikes buzz at all hours of the day and people eat street food while sitting in little plastic chairs. There’s nothing wrong with this side of Hanoi, but it’s only half of the city’s story.
For our third visit to Hanoi in three years, we wanted to slow our pace in a refined, elegant environment that honors the city’s storied past while embracing its modern present. We also wanted to stay in a central location near the best transportation, attractions and restaurants.
With these goals in mind, we only had one choice as to where to stay in Hanoi.
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel Review
The Sofitel Legend Metropole is a calm oasis smack-dab in the center of hectic Hanoi just East of Hoan Kiem Lake. Though there are many features to attract visitors including elegant decor and top-line amenities (think heated pool and fresh flowers), this colonial-style hotel offers so much more to visitors who travel from all over the world to stay at this Hanoi landmark.
The original Sofitel Hanoi hotel, located in what was originally Vietnam’s Little Paris, opened as a single building in 1901. The original structure, now called the Metropole wing, oozes with history. Rooms in this building are tastefully decorated with French-Colonial furniture and design elements. Foreigners often request to stay in this wing to experience opulent, pre-war Vietnam.
Open since the 1990’s, the newer Opera wing is equally grand, with historically respectful Neo-Colonialist architecture. Many Asian guests prefer this wing for its bigger rooms and sense of modernity. Regardless of the selected wing, all guests receive the same excellent level of service during their stays.
With its Legend hotel status, it should be no surprise to frequent travelers that service is a top priority at this Sofitel hotel. Starting with welcome drinks and ending with congenial farewells, all staff members provided the highest level of service during our stay at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.
Excellent service is fitting in a legendary hotel of this caliber with its rich history and five-star pricing. Though we felt special during our stay, the staff provides the highest level of service to guests in all 364 rooms and suites.
We stayed in a Grand Premium Room in the hotel’s Opera wing during our stay. Comfortable and well-appointed, the contemporary room included features that made our stay extra-special.
Since beds in Asia tend to be firm (i.e. hard as a rock), we especially enjoyed the plush king-sized bed that came with a menu with eight different pillows including a Skin of Green Bean pillow option. We also appreciated choice amenities including the rom’s big flatscreen television and espresso machine.
The bathroom was decidedly chic with its French-style bathtub, separate shower and Hermes bath products. Similar to the bed, the tub came with a bath menu with two complementary experiences including a relaxing drawn bubble bath.
We loved lounging in the swanky room and indulging in nightly macarons (much better than standard chocolates!) before we drifted to sleep. But to us, the room’s best feature was access to the Club Lounge.
Located on the seventh floor of the Opera wing, just one floor above our room, the Club Lounge provides a welcome respite from Hanoi’s busy pace. Open on a 24/7 basis, the Club Lounge serves food, most notably a French breakfast buffet and late afternoon snacks.
This is where we escaped to relax with glasses of champagne, afternoon tea and cocktails depending on the time of day. We adored having access to the Club Lounge and highly recommend splurging on a premium room for this reason alone.
Path of History Tour
As the oldest continuously operating hotel in Vietnam, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has a storied past starting with its original French owners and continuing until present day. The hotel stayed open during decades of war and has housed a Who’s Who list of celebrities including Charlie Chaplin, Joan Baez, Jane Fonda, Bill Clinton, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
To educate guests about the Hanoi hotel’s fascinating past, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi conducts twice daily Path of History tours on a complimentary basis (for guests only). This tour starts at the beginning when hotel rooms cost the equivalent of $7 US for a night and $135 for a month. Lasting an hour, the educational tour ends with refreshing drinks by the hotel’s heated pool.
Historians bring history to life with stories and photos. However, the tour also gives proper attention to the staff’s heroic operations during the war.
For most guests, including us, the highlight of the Path of History tour is a visit into the hotel’s underground shelter. This shelter was literally buried and allegedly forgotten until its discovery in 2011 during construction of the hotel’s Bamboo Bar.
This visit provides a stark reminder of the past, highlighted by the playing of Baez’s Where Are You Now, My Son? inside the shelter. Baez was inspired to write the song based on her experience in Hanoi during the war. She also painted a portrait in tribute that currently hangs in the hotel’s lobby.
Hungry guests don’t need to travel far for food. The Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel has no fewer than six on-site dining options ranging from casual French eateries to full-service restaurants.
Dining options include Angelina, Bamboo Bar, Le Beaulieu, Le Club, L’Epicerie du Metropole and Spices Garden. We enjoyed meals at the following two hotel restaurants during our stay:
Breakfast at Le Beaulieu
Open for over a century, Le Beaulieu is a stylish French bistro that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to hotel guests and locals on a daily basis. The massive space hosts a sprawling breakfast buffet every day, though the Sunday brunch buffet is particularly daunting.
Despite its French name and design, breakfast at Le Beaulieu features a range of Asian dishes in addition to crepes and other French delicacies. It also includes a smoked salmon bar. We enjoyed both types of cuisine during our morning meal, eating more than enough to energize us until dinner.
Dinner at Angelina
Newly renovated and reopened with an updated menu, Angelina is an upscale restaurant that serves western food favorites that go beyond the typical French and Italian classics more easily found in Hanoi. Beyond its impressive food and wine menus, Angelina is also a popular cocktail bar that heats up at night.
We enjoyed a leisurely Sunday night meal at Angelina that started with a colorful Ceasar salad and a trio of roasted king scallops served with orzo, black truffle dressing and 30-month aged Parmesan cheese. Both dishes combined local and imported ingredients to create harmonious flavors that whet our appetites for the second course.
We paired the starters with a glass of German Reisling (Daryl) and a Flower Dill-Ema cocktail (Mindi).
Angelina doesn’t mess around when it comes to protein, and we were happy to jump onto the meat wagon.
Daryl enjoyed Wagyu beef tenderloin imported from Australia and served with mashed potatoes, garden vegetables and red wine sauce. Mindi similarly enjoyed her lamb rack with green beans, cherry tomatoes, rosemary and garlic.
Glasses of French Côte de Rhone completed the middle course.
Since we weren’t in a rush, we lingered over dessert with glasses of port. We were in no hurry to leave the restaurant for our late flight back to Da Nang. Like the rest of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Angelina was a delightful sanctuary that soothed our spirits and readied us to explore Vietnam yet again.
With its central location, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is a short walk to many Vietnam attractions including the Opera House, West Lake and Old Quarter. More importantly, the hotel is within walking distance to some of our Hanoi food favorites including Maison Marou, Pizza 4P’s and Pasteur Street Brewing Company.
Experience the city’s local vibe by following this guide with the best things to do in Hanoi. That’s what we’ll be doing the next time we visit Hanoi.
We recommend the following ways to get to the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel from the Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport:
Book a Room at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: September 30, 2018